I could vividly remember some years back when an unknown won as “Marketing Man of the Year” from the prestigious Agora Awards given annually by the Philippine Marketing Association (PMA) for his unorthodox way of staging a marketing campaign against a then giant conglomerate. When asked what particular principle in marketing he adopted in winning the award, he quickly replied “I just took the road less travelled.” Quite meaningful and figurative but if you are an insider in the company where he was, you could very well sense that it was all because of the “guerilla marketing” strategy that made him successful.
Guerilla type of marketing is an unconventional approach to a campaign veering away from the usual big budget campaign that is usually done by marketing people. It is usually targeted in unexpected places, and done in a more innovative way. Guerrilla marketing involves unusual approaches such as intercept encounters in public places, street giveaways of products, PR stunts, or any unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources. Emphasis is on retaining existing customers then acquiring new ones. More innovative approaches to Guerrilla marketing now utilize mobile digital technologies to engage the consumer and create a memorable brand experience. The spate of “spam” texts from network providers prevalent in the Philippines is just one way of guerilla marketing that is already been abused at times. This is clearly veering away from the usual media marketing campaigns but rather using the technology that these companies offer as a tool to increasing their engagement with their customers. Jay Conrad Levinson, in his book “The Guerilla Marketing Handbook” said that: “In order to sell a product or a service, a company must establish a relationship with the customer. It must build trust and support. It must understand the customer’s needs, and it must provide a product that delivers the promised benefits.” This principle is clearly manifested in the Philippines in the war of wireless technology between three telecom giants Smart, Globe and Sun. Undoubtedly, Smart gained the upper hand in this war when it revolutionized the use of mobile phones from being a status symbol and luxury in the mid-90s to being a vital gadget that one cannot live without in his daily activities. This strategy is guerilla marketing at its best.
The concept of selling “tingi” in the Philippines is also a unique form of capturing the mass market dominated by a “not-so-powerful” consumer. By this, it simply means a consumer market who can only afford so much that they would rather buy the “piece meal” products rather going for the “whole meal” which, in the strictest sense of the word could have save them more. There is also what we call the “unlimited” fever in the Philippines which uses the “price discount strategy” where the new player in the telecoms industry offered a comparable product at a very low price. This has, in fact, become a fever not only in the telecoms industry but in the food industry as well. At a time when the Philippines had a “food shortage” problem, an upstart food chain offered “unlimited” rice in their menu that caught the interest of the consuming public. History would tell us, that it was a very effective guerilla marketing campaign done by “Mang Inasal” which catapulted them as the fastest growing food chain in the Philippines in recent years.
Guerilla marketing can come in many forms just like any product can come in any sizes. But the most important thing in this kind of campaign it to be innovative. Veering away from the usual marketing stuff and creating a buzz in the consumer’s mind should be foremost in the objective. Taking the marketing war in an unexpected and unconventional way will often win the battle for supremacy and capturing a more sizeable market.