Friday, May 6, 2011

Weapons again?

I find it curious that two of the five books we read this semester referred to marketing and/or persuasion as weapons. Is this how people feel about marketing in general I wonder. I know it can be irritating and only relevant when you are in the market for the specific product being advertised, but a weapon?  We do live in a capitalistic society in which anyone has the right to develop, market, and sell products. That is a reality we all must come to grips with. After all, the alternative is much less desirable.

Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits was, in my opinion, the least interesting of the books we read this semester. However, I did take a very important lesson from it - never stop learning about your target audience - in fact, never stop learning in general. It may seem obvious to some, but the point that a company's audience continues to evolve makes a lot of sense. Especially today when everything seems to be changing at lightning speed.

For example, a popular mode of communication can be here today and gone tomorrow. This makes it very important for the Guerrilla marketer to keep up with current trends. In fact, the book made it clear that the more the Guerrilla marketer knows, not only about h/her company, but about the target audience, the market, the economy, the political climate, h/her competitors, etc., the better. I couldn't agree more. It is difficult to deliver on-target messaging without the most current facts in hand.

Too often, however, the knowledge gathered by the marketing team ends up sitting in a 3" binder on a book shelf in the CMO's office. There's no sense in doing the research if it's only going to gather dust. Plus, the longer it sits there, the more antiquated it becomes. This information is incredibly important to the marketer, with out it s/he can only make guesstimates which may work, but only by chance.

One problem I have had over the semester as I developed the brand strategy for HELO was getting all the information I needed to make informed decisions. This proves a simple point. In all of my experience in the marketing industry, all of the different types of information the authors discuss in Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits have come in piece meal, if at all. So the situations the authors talk about is not fallacy, but a very common practice. I'm referring to a lack of research to create effective marketing strategies.

This brings up an additional question. Who's responsibility is it to conduct this type of research when the branding team is acting as an outside vendor? The better the research, the better the branding strategy. Should it be included in the contract? Or, should it come from the client? The best case scenario would be for the branding firm to gather as much secondary, and any primary research from the client, figure out what is lacking, and conduct the rest of the research on behalf of the client. This method would ensure that nothing has been overlooked, which in turn, will uncover the appropriate direction(s) to pursue for the best impact, which is after all, what Guerrilla marketing is all about.


  1. For any of this to succeed, your client has to have a very strong sense of who they are and what they are trying to do. This may or may not be present in your current situation.

    What did you think of the 200 tactics? Most seemed very traditional though I thought the PR strategies might be more what I think of when I think "guerrilla" marketing. Could you use any of these to help HELO?