Halloween is upon us and all these people running around concerned about using disguises to get treats from strangers makes me think about guerrilla marketing. Notice that no one talks about "guerrilla advertising". Advertising is simple. It can be scattershot and indiscriminate so long as it gets your name, or whatever your product is, mentioned. Marketing is more involved. Marketing has design and planning behind it. Marketing can be subtle or obvious, but it comes with a goal of motivating specific thought or action.
Advertising displays the product and gets it on people's minds for a moment. That's fine if they know what it is or it's something they were looking for anyway. Just saying "Budwiser" might make you think of the beer. but it doesn't draw you in with a promise of a lifestyle or a history of its manufacture that sets it apart from other beers. That's what marketing is for, turning your thoughts toward buying the beer when you weren't already planning on it. Advertising is a reminder. Marketing preaches to the unconverted. Guerrilla marketing puts the message out without them even realizing there's preaching happening. It's subtle, unexpected and done on the cheap whenever possible.
Out with a friend recently, he needed to do some shopping in...a large, multimedia chain store. It was nearly his wife's birthday and he still needed to settle on a gift. I waited for him in the computer department and explored the demo tablets they had on display. Rather than shop or educate myself about the virtues of each tablet, I decided it would be more productive to find all the ones with active internet access and make sure they had bookmarks to reviews of my book and this blogsite as their homepage. Oh, if only I could get access to the ones in the boxes. *sigh* Baby steps, but that's the subtlety.
Writing, creating the product, is only part of the battle. Generating interest in that product, creating an audience to eagerly receive that product, is a large part of the ongoing struggle. Spread those business cards. Leave bookmarks inside books at the store. Put copies of your book in places where people can find it: coffee shops, waiting rooms, bus seats. Catch your potential audience off-guard with your creative sneak attacks.
What are some of your favorite methods of unconventional marketing?