Many startups enter the market with brilliant ideas, execute it beautifully, but later find out how tough and competitive the market is. Competing in highly competitive markets is extremely tough and can get you out of business. Well, not if you used a Guerrilla Marketing Strategy.
What is Guerilla Marketing?
According to Al Ries, the Marketing Legendary (and my favorite author), Guerrilla Marketing is “To find a segment big enough to be profitable for the guerrilla, but too small to be tempting to the [market] leader”.
What does that mean? If for example, you want to enter the coffee-shop market, it’s quite obvious that Starbucks is leading, followed by other cafes such as Caribou, Costa, Coffee bean, etc. One way to enter the market with a Guerrilla strategy is to target a niche segment. An excellent example of this could be ‘Words Bookstore Café’, a coffee shop focusing on bookworms who want to relax and read. Another example is a coffee shop targeting moms with kids, with a playground corner and a kids menu.
With the couple of examples I’ve mentioned, I don’t think any of the big competitors will bother to defend their market against your business, and you as an entrepreneur will be able to do business and profit in a tough market with a clearly defined segment.
Define your market
Before you decide if you’re small enough to use Guerrilla marketing or big enough to act as a market leader, you will need to define the market.
First, think of what business are you in. You might define your business as a fast-food chain, but the market sees it as a high-end burger joint. An example of this is Fat Burger; their menu is a fast-food joint menu, their taste is very similar to Burger Kings Whopper, but their prices give the impression that it’s a high-end burger joint. Therefore, they should either act as what the market perceives it, or work on changing the perspective.
Once you define your market, compare your business size to your competitors especially the market leader. An easy way to measure the size is by measuring the traffic; how crowded is your competitor business, that’s how big your competitor is. If you count for less than quarter the size of the market leader, then you’re too small to get into a fight with it.
How to find a niche market
There are several ways to find your niche market and compete in a Guerrilla strategy. Here are few ways; you just need to find what works for you.
Jasmis is a great example for a guerrilla fast-food chain using a geographic niche market. It’s hard to argue that Jasmis is not the fast-food market leader in Bahrain, even compared to McDonalds.
Guess what! This magazine is an example of a guerrilla marketing competing in a demographic niche market. There are lots of magazines in the business field, but what makes this a Guerrilla is that it focuses only on young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs who are planning to start a business or already in their early years of starting up.
Being a business that produces one part of a whole industry can sometimes be considered a Guerrilla. Think of a business that produces a special kind of ink that is used in printing cheques, for example, or a manufacturer of microchips used in digital cameras, or programming software for food processing factories.
While Nike and Adidas are competing in different kinds of sporting equipment and sport outwears, Prince chose to make tennis racquets. Not only they chose tennis, they are the ones that invented the oversized tennis racquets! Inventing a new product is a good way to become a Guerrilla.
Another example is Jeep, a company focusing on small and medium size SUV’s.
Speaking of cars, do you know that Rolls-Royce is a Guerrilla too? Rolls-Royce is competing in a niche market; the highest part of the automobile high-end market. The size of this market is not attractive (nor profitable) for Mercedes to compete in. Now Rolls-Royce owns a position no other brand owns.
Own a Position
Positioning is the most important part of a marketing plan if not the whole business plan. When running a business, especially a Guerrilla, make sure you own a relevant position in the minds of consumers. When you think of an SUV, you think of Jeep, even though the size of their market is relatively small.
Choose a position that fits you as a Guerrilla. Choose a position that is relevant, and own this position in the minds of customers. Wish you the best.