When guerrilla marketers think of economizing, they don’t necessarily think of trying to save money. What they do think of is getting the absolute most from any money they’ve invested in marketing. They realize there are two kinds of marketing — expensive and inexpensive — and they know that expensive marketing is the kind that doesn’t cover the investment they’ve made in it, while inexpensive marketing pays rich rewards for their investment. Guerrillas have the insight to know that economizing has nothing to do with cost; it has everything to do with results.
To be sure, guerrillas adopt a philosophy of frugality and thrift. They know well the difference between investing in something disposable such as paper and accounting services — and investing in something that’s truly an investment, such as a telephone system or customer-tracking software — items they’d use on a daily basis. There’s a big difference in these two expenses, so you won’t be surprised to learn that guerrillas rarely waste their time and effort on relatively low cost disposable purchases, but are willing to expend the time and energy to enjoy a large savings on a an expense that’s really an investment in disguise.
A key to economizing is to think not in terms of purchasing, but in terms of acquiring. That means you open your mind to bartering, sharing, renting, modifying an existing item or borrowing it. It means possibly learning a few skills so that you can do rather than hire. Desktop publishing software enables you to save a ton of money usually paid to pros.
Guerrillas are also keenly aware of when it makes sense to hire a pro, knowing that amateur-looking marketing is an invitation to disaster. They might hire a highly-paid professional designer to give their marketing items a powerful visual format, then use their own staff members or themselves to continue generating marketing materials that follow this same format. They learn from any consultant they hire.
By understanding that economizing does not mean saving money, but investing it wisely, guerrillas test their investments on a small scale before plunging headlong into any kind of marketing. They have no fear of failure, providing the failures are small ones and knowing that even one success in ten tries means discovering a path to wealth and profitability. They know in their hearts that money is not the key to happiness or success, but that enough of it enables them to have a key made. Real frugality is more about priorities and results than just saving money.
Of all the methods of wasting money and not economizing, the number one leader in marketing is failure to commit to a plan. Untold millions have been invested in marketing campaigns that had everything right about them except commitment on the part of the marketer. Guerrillas know that it takes time for an investment to pay off and instant results are rarely part of the deal.
Abandoning a marketing campaign before it has a chance to flourish squanders money in three ways. First, it means all prior investing in the campaign has been for naught. Second, it means new investing will be necessary to generate the share of mind that precedes a share of market. Third, it means creating new marketing materials all over again.
Small business owners have other ways to waste money as well. Many of them invest in research instead of doing it themselves. Others dare to commit to a campaign they haven’t tested. Still others create marketing materials that must be updated regularly, rather than creating timeless marketing materials. When you say in a brochure that you’ve been in business five years, you must update that brochure next year. When you say you’ve been in business since l995, that’s always going to be the truth.
High on the list of ways that small business marketers waste precious funds is their proclivity to invest in amusing marketing, funny marketing, even uproarious marketing. Marketing has an obligation to put money in your coffers, not smiles on the faces of your prospects.
The most common method of economizing is also one of the most overlooked — marketing to existing customers. It costs one-sixth as much to sell an item to an existing customer than to sell that same item to a non-customer. The price of discovering and convincing likely customers is astronomical when compared with the price of doing the same with current customers. Database marketing has lowered the cost of guerrilla marketing and yet some business owners fail to even try to make repeat sales.
Guerrillas avoid buying what they want and don’t really need, don’t fall prey to slick salespeople representing new and unproved marketing tools, avert bad decisions by not making quick decisions, and constantly ask themselves — “If I didn’t need this yesterday, why do I need it today?”
Economic errors often made by entrepreneurs are failure to negotiate, comparison shop or use the net for pre-purchase research. They don’t know exactly where every one of their dollars are going and don’t know that the leaner their spending today, the fatter their cushion tomorrow.