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7 Guerilla Marketing Lessons from Al Lautenslager

David Bowman
David Bowman
BY: David Bowman ON April 4, 2014

Al LautenslagerAl Lautenslager is the author of the best selling book Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days. He helps people understand and use Guerrilla Marketing to grow their businesses. Yesterday, Al gave a great presentation at Sinclair Community College to the members of AAF Dayton and PRSA Dayton. In his presentation he shared a wide range of strategies, stories, tips, and tactics for getting marketing results without spending big bucks. Here are 7 of my favorite things Al shared:

  1. Time + Imagination = Great Marketing:
    While a big budget can certainly help your marketing efforts, it is not necessarily a requirement.  Al shared numerous examples from fun vehicle wraps, to decorated escalators, to a floating target in the ocean – all of which were very creative, incredibly affordable, and extremely impactful.
  2. Your Best Prospects Are Your Current Customers:
    You have a relationship with your customers.  You have already worked to earn their trust and get their attention.  Make sure you explore every opportunity to help them.  Strive to avoid them from choosing another vendor for a project and then later telling you “I didn’t know you did that.”   Spending at least 50% of your time serving your existing customers is a great way to build sustainable marketing success.
  3. Think Outside the Billboard: 
    Al showed some really fun examples of outdoor advertising that used a billboard or sign as part of the message, but incorporated creative concepts to think beyond the rectangle. The idea was to not just settle for something that is status quo but to really think about how to create a remarkable piece of marketing that grabs people’s interest.
  4. Start the Day with Marketing:
    Such a simple idea with such powerful potential.  This might have been my favorite tip that Al shared.  Begin each day with some act of marketing.  It might be a thoughtful email message to a client or a handwritten thank you note.  Perhaps it is by writing a blog post or pitching a story idea.  Regardless, start each day by actually executing 3 to 5 small things that help market your business.  That adds up to thousands of actions a year which can easily translate to marketing success for your business.
  5. Make Yourself Part of the News:
    We are surrounded by news – all day every day.  News stories represent opportunities to be an expert resource to journalists covering a story.  They also represent opportunities to find creative ways to tie your business into the story.  Al shared some great examples of how he did this in his business and some of the great results it produced.  When news happens, make a conscious effort to incorporate it into your marketing efforts.
  6. Features Tell but Benefit Sell: 
    People spend way too much time talking about their 87 bells and 14 accompanying whistles and far too little time telling the story of how the customer will benefit from these things.  While features can be incorporated into the message, effective marketing needs to focus on what’s in it for the customer.  Resist the urge to blather on about your features and instead show people the benefits.
  7. Networking Matters: 
    Al pointed out that surveys show that the primary reason people join groups like Chambers and Professional Clubs is networking.  Building a network of reliable, trustworthy experts is not expensive and can pay big marketing dividends. Al suggested creating simple networking goals for events such as meeting 10 people, getting 8 business cards, following up with 5 of them, scheduling lunch or coffee with 3 of them, and ideally developing a business relationship with 1 or 2 of them.  Fortunately, AAF Dayton and PRSA Dayton events are great places to forge these valuable connections.

Al grew up in Mason and worked at Kings Island the year it opened.  Not only was here there when the Brady Bunch came to film their famous King’s Island episode, he was in it.  Al played the orangutan mascot in the episode.

Al closed by challenging those in attendance to take his common sense advice and make it common practice.  Thanks to Al for making the trip to Dayton and thanks to AAF Dayton and PRSA Dayton for putting together such a great lunch.

You can find Al on Twitter at @GMarketingGuy

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