"Fun, Easy and Popular" - Keys to Guerilla Marketing

"Fun, Easy and Popular" - Keys to Guerilla Marketing

Most of our friends know that at ROBYN, we are focused on honing our marketing skills... And we enjoy sharing what we have learned! To this end, we are thrilled to introduce a side project we've been working on: The 7 Minute Smarketer.

The premise behind the podcast is to sit down with innovative marketers who are experts in different disciplines and give them 7 minutes to make us smarter. The podcasts are hosted on the 7 Minute Smarketer website, which you can hear by clicking the button below...



chris-forbes     7 Minute Smarketer Podcast


Bobby Lehew:  This is Bobby Lehew with Robyn Promotions. My guest for today is Chris Forbes, chrisforbes.org, and author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits." Now Chris, you can tell I'm kind of new at this, so this is... I'm really green at this. But what we're doing is this is the Seven Minutes Marketer.

Chris Forbes:  Right.

Bobby: The basis for this is you have seven minutes to make us smarter marketers, or you owe us a beer or a root beer or soda, whatever you want.

So the bottom line, though, is what we're starting is a new series with the American Marketing Association. Our theme this year is "We try smarter." And we really are trying to provide good, rich content for marketing professionals.

Chris: Right.

Bobby: And what our listeners may or may not know is we just finished a great lunch with Chris talking about marketing, grassroots marketing. What I love, Chris's book ‑‑ did I mention this already? ‑‑ "Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits," what we just discovered was that Chris is a coauthor, along with Levinson. If you've been a marketer for probably a decade or so, you know that series because a lot of marketers cut their teeth on that series.

Chris: Yeah, that's true. Jay Conrad Levinson ‑‑ I co‑wrote the book with him and Frank Adkins. And working with Jay, that's the first book I read, too. What a privilege to work with Jay Conrad. He's basically saying, "Hey, here's my 25 years of brand equity. Why don't you use it on your book?" So I'm like, "OK!"


Bobby: So his brand equity, your sweat equity, and it made a good partnership.

Chris: Well, if you know the "Guerrilla Marketing" series, it's about small business and people who don't have a lot of money. And that's why it was such a great fit for nonprofits, because usually nonprofits have a lot of good intentions but they don't have any money for marketing. And if you don't have money, then you're down to time, energy and imagination. That's what's left, and also information.

So as a guerrilla, you're savvy in how you use what you have. If you want to be a smarter marketer, I would say first of all stop talking to yourself about what you don't have and use what you do have. Guerrillas don't sit around and say, "I could really do some really cool stuff if they give me a rolling budget, a good budget."

What guerrilla marketing is about is taking what you do have and leveraging it for connecting with the people that you want to reach. In a nonprofit world that means getting out there and connecting with people. I can't reach everybody in Paris but I can narrow my target and get everybody on the Eiffel Tower.

Bobby: Right, right. That relates to a lot of marketers because most marketers are dealing with suppressed budgets and trying to do more with less. And that goes for their own hours they're putting into projects as well as the budget. So it's not just for nonprofits.

Chris: And everybody's so focused on how many people I can reach with this, how much I can get a bigger bang for my buck by the number of people. But if you actually narrow your target, you can hit people more times. So you get more frequency if you narrow your market.

Like on Facebook ads, I can connect with people. If you want hunchback Hungarians of Hugo, Oklahoma, I can hook you up on Facebook. But I can't buy an ad that connects to them in a newspaper.

Bobby: So the secret's in the niches. Niche your business, niche your business, niche your business. Niche your market, niche your market.

Chris: Right. Understand your market, know them better, learn their needs and link your message to a solution. The MVP of your marketing is not your product. It's the people that you're trying to reach. So the better you understand them, the better you connect to their needs, the better marketer you're going to be.

There's a lot of issues related to that. For example, I had this adage that I picked up from social marketers that are like the behavior change marketers: fun, easy, popular. Look at your product, and fun ‑‑ how is it fun? Fun doesn't mean "Woo‑hoo!" fun, but there's a benefit. What is the benefit?

Bobby: Right.

Chris: OK.

Bobby: That's good, that's good. Because we get marketers that are in banking, that are in insurance, and they would say, "My product is not fun, Chris. How can that help me?"

Chris: Right. So you're really looking for product benefits. How do they benefit the people that are going to use the product? That's what you need to be talking about.

Bobby: OK.

Chris: Easy ‑‑ the efficacy is the big issue. For example, in anti‑smoking campaigns, there are more people who want to quit smoking than do because they think they can't. So if they build their confidence... That's one thing that social marketers do, try to build confidence.

But you can make it easier for people to do business with you. Have you ever been to a place and they say, "Yeah, we don't take Visa." "Really? [laughs] I have cash here and you don't take it?" So what can you do to make it easier for people to do business with you?

And then finally, popular ‑‑ who else is doing it? So many times we have products, we push them out there, we want to get everybody's attention about them. But really we don't show the line... I'll give you this example of a yogurt store. Say you see a yogurt store and one has a line around the block and one has no line. The yogurt store everybody wants to go to is the one with the line around the block because that's where the good yogurt is.

Bobby: Right.

Chris: So your marketing needs to show people where the line is. Who else does what you do? Who else likes this product? So fun, easy and popular are really handy handles to use.

Bobby: That's great. That's good. So marketers, especially digital marketers are really nerds at heart, and I say that with the most affection I can because we love our tools. What are you excited about these days in regards to social and anything else that's kind of new that's come along?

Chris: I think we're in a stage of social media marketing where people are stopping focused on the list of how many people they can have, find more followers, get more followers. Everybody's been concerned about getting 20,000 or 30,000 followers. I know guys that have 100 fans on Facebook that get 9,000 impressions regularly because of the interactions they get.

I think where social media is going and where it should have been in the first place is on interactivity and how people relate to sharing your products, sharing your information so they're interacting with it.

Bobby: It's never been about how many. It's always been about what kind.

Chris: Yeah.

Bobby: But we lost sight of that when Facebook came along and we started thinking, "It's more than Likes, stars and thumbs and pluses”.

Chris: Yeah. You see the celebrity person who has thousands and thousands of followers. How can that guy really interact and know who he's talking to?

Bobby: Right.

Chris: So you're really just basically becoming a human spam bot at that point. You're just spamming out stuff, sending out marketing messages.

Bobby: Right.

Chris: Marketing messages are easy to ignore. Relationships are not usually ignored. So looking back to the old Seth Godin "Permission Marketing," if people raise their hands, say "Hey, I would like a little bit more of this," if they start to anticipate your communications, that's where I think social media needs to be heading.

I see in Google+ that's happening, where people are able to start segmenting who their people are so they can listen to only people that they want to listen to. You're going to have to want to be in that list of people that they want to listen to, or they'll just put you over in that list of people that they don't listen to.

Bobby: Right. This has always been about, and it's still about, rich content to your audience. So tell me a little bit about... Your website's really cool. I love what you've done with it. Is putting out content always at the top of your mind for your own personal brand?

Chris: Kind of weird, I'm starting to notice that the website is kind of pushing back to the second level or the third level of my outreach. I get most of my interaction and jobs and work, anything I do, through Facebook, through interaction with them.

So I don't spend as much time as I used to, and maybe that's kind of sacrilege for a guerrilla marketer to be saying. I work in public advocacy and elections, and I worked on some political campaigns, and I started seeing how people respond when they're asked to, when there's a relationship there. So that's what I cultivate.

Bobby: Cool. So election season is about to start heating up. Is there a big takeaway for marketers that are marketing insurance or banking or nonprofit that we should notice about politicians in the way that they're marketing and the way they're nurturing their audiences?

Chris: Politicians are learning to leverage social capital, the cumulative total of all of the relationships that they have online. And they're creating tools that allow people to share.

The 2008 election and this recent election here in Oklahoma, there were social media tools and applications that supplemented and got people interacting with, for example, their friends that are in their voting district, becoming an advocate and targeting those people. We create tools that allow them to sort through all their friends, find who their friends are who could vote in that district and mobilize them.

Bobby: Wow.

Chris: And then we use a lot of tools where they don't just come to the web page, they click something that publishes an advocacy message out onto their news feed that pushes it on the wall.

Bobby: Cool.

Chris: Another trick I learned was asking people. You post a video and you see it up there and people like it or whatever, but in politics and in some of my marketing, I say, "Hey, if you like this video, click Share below." Because people need to be told to share.

Bobby: Yeah, because we're good consumers. We're not necessarily very good at ...

Chris: Yeah. You start looking at it passively and watching it flow by. You say, "Hey, take this video, click Share so your Facebook friends can see it." That has made the difference in how videos get pushed out.

Bobby: This is very old school, but that's asking for the sale.

Chris: Right.

Bobby: That's basically saying, or just encouraging folks to take the next step. Because many of them may be excited internally about doing something. So Seven Minute marketer … as always with any real smart marketers, the conversation can go well beyond seven minutes. And I think you've definitely made us smarter, Chris. Is there one last point you want to make to the audience? Anything else you wanted to cover before we close?

Chris: Think of the audience that you're trying to reach (this way): there's a bridge. When you use media or social media or whatever, there's a one‑ton bridge and you're message is a five‑ton message. You can't take all that message across that one‑ton bridge. You have to stay with the message, and you can deliver five tons one ton at a time. So that means you need to coordinate, integrate and continue with people that you're trying to reach until you deliver all five tons.

Most people give up before the marketing has a chance to work. So keep pushing, keep delivering. Don't try to just drop napalm on everybody and then go out and expect it to work. It will only work in a very limited amount that way.

Bobby: That is fantastic advice, Chris. I'm stealing that. That's really good advice.

Chris: Go for it.


Bobby: Thanks again. Again, this is Bobby Lehew with Robyn Promotions. My cohorts in crime, Kevin with Evolve Research and Brian with Robyn. A privilege to bring you Seven Minutes Marketer, and we are here courtesy of Pie over there who is ringing up here at the bar at The Lobby Bar at the Will. They have been very generous to let us hang around. And Chris again, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.