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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Essentials of Guerrilla Marketing

Implement these building blocks to create a successful campaign.

By Jay Conrad Levinson | April 30, 2008

As marketing continues to change, the secrets of guerrilla marketing continue to change. There are 18 guerilla marketing secrets, and they guarantee you will exceed your most optimistic projections.

Memorize these words, then live by them. I'm giving you a memory crutch so that you'll never forget these major guerrilla marketing secrets. All these words end in "-ent." Run your business by the guerrilla concepts they represent and reap the rewards.

Commitment

You should know that a mediocre marketing program with commitment will always prove more profitable than a brilliant marketing program without commitment. Commitment makes it happen.

Investment

Marketing is not an expense, but an investment--the best investment available in business if you do it right. With the 18 secrets of guerrilla marketing to guide you, you'll be doing it right.

Consistent

It takes awhile for prospects to trust you. If you change your marketing, media and identity, you're hard to trust. Restraint and repetition are two great allies of the guerrilla.

Confident

In a nationwide test to determine why people buy, price came in fifth, selection fourth, service third, quality second, and, in first place, people said they patronize businesses in which they have confidence.

Patient

Unless the person running your marketing is patient, it will be difficult to practice commitment, view marketing as an investment, be consistent, and make prospects confident. Patience is a guerrilla virtue.

Assortment

Guerrillas know that individual marketing weapons rarely work on their own, but marketing combinations do work. A wide assortment of marketing tools is required to woo and win customers.

Convenient

People know that time is not money--it's far more valuable than money. Respect this by being easy to do business with and running your company for the convenience of your customers, not yourself.

Subsequent

The real profits come after you've made the sale, in the form of repeat and referral business. Non-guerrillas think marketing ends when they've made the sale. Guerrillas know that's when marketing begins.

Amazement

There are elements of your business that you take for granted, but prospects would be amazed if they knew the details. Be sure your marketing reflects that amazement.

Measurement

You can potentially double your profits by measuring the results of your marketing. Some weapons hit bull's-eyes. Others miss the target. Unless you measure, you won't know which is which.

Involvement

This describes the relationship between you and your customers--and it is a relationship. You prove your involvement by following up; they prove theirs by patronizing and recommending you.

Dependent

The guerrilla's job is not to compete but to cooperate with other businesses. Market them in return for them marketing you. Set up tie-ins with others. Become dependent to market more and invest less.

Armament

Armament is defined as "the equipment necessary to wage and win battles." The armament of guerrillas is technology: computers, current software, cell phones, pagers, fax machines. If you're technophobic, see a techno-shrink.

Consent

In an era of non-stop interruption marketing, the key to success is first to gain consent for your marketing materials and market only to those who have given you that consent.

Augment

To succeed online, augment your website with offline and online promotion along with constant maintenance of your site.

Content

Don’t believe that old adage, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." Sophisticated consumers these days know the sizzle from the steak and prefer the steak every time. Your substance, not your style, will carry the day for you.

Implement

It’s not enough for you to know these 18 secrets. The key is to take action on them, all of them.

Congruent

Be certain that all your marketing is saying the same thing and pulling in the same direction. Don’t undermine what you do with marketing that marches to the beat of a different strategist.

These concepts are the reason many startup guerrillas now run highly successful companies. They are the cornerstone of guerrilla marketing. They might look like just words, but each one is nuclear-powered and capable of propelling you into the land of your dreams.

Jay Conrad Levinson is the author of the Guerrilla Marketing series of books.

More minorities going it alone- Self-employment gains favor

BY JEFF MCKINNEY | JMCKINNEY@ENQUIRER.COM

A growing number of black, Indian, Hispanic and women baby boomers are walking away from corporate jobs and taking their skills, experience and pay to launch new businesses.

The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau show the total number of black-owned businesses, for example, totaled 6,941 in 2002 in the Cincinnati metropolitan statistical area, up nearly 47 percent from 1997.

During the same time, the number of women-owned firms rose about 28 percent, to 40,008, while Hispanic-owned firms jumped 65 percent, to 1,238. Butler County in Ohio, Bracken County in Kentucky, and Franklin County in Indiana were added to the 2002 data.

Moreover, the percentage of self-employed people between ages 55 and 65 climbed 33 percent last year from 2006, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are now at least 3 million entrepreneurs 55 and older, up one-third from 2000, according to the labor bureau.

"The number of baby boomers starting their own businesses is surging," says Kathy Keller, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group AARP Ohio.

As more companies are downsizing and outsourcing jobs, more veteran minority professionals are choosing self-employment as an option to generate income, says Rea Waldon, senior vice president of the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati's Economic Empowerment Center.

She said many baby boomers are taking severance packages and using them to start their own businesses, or are investing in other businesses as silent partners.

"Some of these baby boomers might also start their own businesses because of their age and changing personal values," Waldon said.

Majid Dosani, owner of ACE Products LLC, started his company in 2001 in his basement while working as an engineer for a local environmental engineering firm.

ACE Products is a Blue Ash-based office-supply company that sells more than 50,000 items, including office and printing supplies and business machines.

Dosani landed a contract in 2003 to provide office supplies to Cincinnati Public Schools as part of its supplier diversity program. He invested between $5,000 and $10,000 to open his Blue Ash location that year and left his corporate job in 2004 after 17 years.

Dosani, 50, says changing his lifestyle to run the business was among his biggest challenges.

Though he had to learn the office-supply business quickly, Dosani says the challenge of doing something different has made the gamble worth it. His store is expected to post sales of over $1.5 million this year, up from about $1 million last year, he said.

But like other baby boomers, Dosani has no plans to retire soon, though his income is higher now than when he had a corporate job.

He plans to stay in business until he can put his children - ages 17, 14 and 11 - through college.

"It will be at least another 10 years before I retire, but the good thing is I'm enjoying what I do," Dosani says.

Brenda J. England, owner of England's Elegant Attire, initially opened the business in 1996 and operated it part time while working as an associate engineer at Procter & Gamble Co.

She left P&G in 2000 after 25 years to expand her business.

England's business has grown from being a formal-wear consignment shop in North College Hill to a bridal and formal-wear business in Northgate Mall in Colerain Township.

Her current store is 3,900 square feet - about twice as big as her previous store - and it offers many more services, she said.

England, 58, says her time at P&G gave her the income, multi-tasking ability and people skills to run her own business.

She estimates she has invested about $20,000 of her own money into the business.

"The corporate experience gave me the assertiveness I needed to be an entrepreneur," England says.

While more minorities are becoming entrepreneurs, they still face barriers and challenges as new businesses owners, the Urban League's Waldon says.

She listed access to capital, being able to land projects, and failure to solicit managerial support and resources outside of the businesses among the biggest challenges.

"Those are real challenges for many minority entrepreneurs because they are cornerstones for growing your business," she says.

Outsourcing to Grow Your Home Business

Getting over the do-it-yourself syndrome by delegating to others reveals a higher level of potential for you and your company.

By Lesley Spencer Pyle | May 13, 2008

Most people go into business desiring success and better balance in their lives. Spending endless hours commuting and dealing with corporate politics isn't exactly the American Dream. But when starting a new business, juggling the demands of business and personal obligations can sometimes be just as exhausting.

The thought of hiring and managing people may make you weak in the knees, but building a staff isn't the only option. Consider outsourcing your needs to a specialized group or individual. That way you can hire as needed without having to worry about hiring, firing, payroll taxes, etc.

The hardest part of outsourcing is giving up the reins on your "baby." The easiest way to start comfortably delegating to others is to make a list of all of the tasks you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Of those items, determine what you don't like to do and what's taking up the majority of your time.

Among the options available to contract help on an hourly, project or set-fee basis are:

Writers

Professional writers can create content for your website, blogs, press releases, e-mails and marketing materials. They can also ghostwrite for you. For example, Lisa Otto from www.CreativeWritingStudios.com focuses on small businesses and offers affordable rates to give a small business a professional image.

Receptionists

Your customers' first contact with your company is vital. Hire an individual or firm that can take your company calls. This can set you apart because:
a. Your company appears larger than the one-person show you are operating.
b. Your calls are answered by a professional vs. an answering machine.

Salespeople

As a one-person show, you can only touch so many potential customers. By contracting with a sales representative, you can take advantage of their experience as well as their extensive list of contacts. And if you're paying on a commission basis, you'll be saving while bringing in additional money.

Graphic Designers

Whether you've already idealized your logo or not, a graphic designer can assist in leaving a memorable impression of your company by creating powerful logos, websites and other marketing materials.

Fulfillment Centers

If you're pole vaulting over piles of business materials and products in your own kitchen or frantically hiding things under your bed when you have company you may need the help of a fulfillment center, like Trending Solutions. These places make sure your customers won't call you looking for their order because it took you four days to ship it.

Marketers

A marketing guru can get your press releases and announcements in the right hands of the media. They can get your foot in the door so you can follow up and nail the sale. They'll also assist with creative approaches to get the word out about your company.

Virtual Assistant

A VA can be a lifesaver when it comes to handling communications with your customers, doing your accounting, invoicing your customers and any administrative tasks you may find yourself putting aside.

You don't need to be a hero by showing that you can do it all. You may just find, like so many of us, that outsourcing enables you to focus on what you do best and grow your business and income. By delegating day-to-day tasks, you can run your business and maintain your personal life.

Outsourcing provides you with more flexibility as your company grows. There are so many options available and many resources on the internet to help you find the perfect candidate.

Lesley Spencer Pyle is the founder and president of the HBWM.com Inc. Network.

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Cathy Harris is an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Self-Publishing and Business Coach.