All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved. —Sun Tzu

The Guerillas in history are thought to have fought in the Napolean war (stay with me here; the historical exposition won’t last long). Spanish fighters whose name originated from the Spanish word guerra (war), guerillas literally waged “little wars.” The guerilla technique, however, of small bands fighting with local support against the large unwieldy machine, goes much farther back (I would discuss Sun Tzu in more detail here whose Art of War is perhaps the oldest documented discussion of guerilla warfare; however, I am remaining true to my promise to shorten the history behind the technique).

Leaping to 1984, the term guerilla was applied to marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. By then marketing agencies had grown substantially into unwieldy forces dominating the public eye with huge multimillion dollar campaigns the likes of which we are very familiar with. Now guerilla marketing and traditional marketing exist side-by-side both as respected techniques of marketing. But, you could say, the term guerilla marketing has been renamed or superseded by the zeitgeist (noun: general culture of a time, intellectual, ethical, spiritual) of viral marketing. You could say, correctly, that the aim of guerilla marketing is to achieve a viral effect. And the secret formula to that lies in the hands of the marketing strategist.

[Guerilla marketing]…is a body of unconventional ways of pursuing a conventional goals. It is a proven method of achieving profits with minimum money.

Every marketer dreams of crafting the ideal guerilla campaign, the viral video, the flashmob, if you will, that takes everyone by storm. What we must keep in mind as we craftily plot, however, is that we can take our guerilla marketing techniques global thanks to soaring technological advances (this is obvious of course but the breadth of people we can reach is really pretty amazing).

Consider the following:

  • More than 72% of cellphone users send and receive text messages (actually it’s difficult to think of anyone who doesn’t have a cell phone)†
  • Anyone can view literally hundreds of videos of flash mobs at any time‡
  • There are at least 100+ social media networks online⁁
  • Approximately 24,613,923 people receive emails from Groupon§
  • Public transportation levels are at their highest volume in 5 decades providing approximately 10.5 billion rides for individuals*

These facts illustrate the reach of text messaging, videography, social media, email marketing and locally posted signage respectively. To put it succinctly—the world is your billboard. So join up, keep your eyes open for ideas and techniques that might work for you and grow your business both locally and globally in the new guerilla marketing style.

† Phenomenal infographic of 2010 text messaging stats:
‡ Viral video chart, top 100 flash mobs
⁁ Approximate list of SM platforms (It’s true that I went to wikipedia to support this stat, but they cited pretty good sources.)
*American Public Transportation Association Fact Book 2011