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What Is Guerrilla Marketing?


What is guerilla marketing? If you’re in business, marketing, or are a small business owner, you’ve probably already heard of the term. If you haven’t, you should learn it. Coined by Jay Conrad Levinson, a long-time marketing professional, “guerrilla marketing” refers to an overall marketing strategy based in patience, consistency, and smart investments.

Jay Conrad Levinson

Besides being the founder of guerrilla marketing and the author of the best-selling “Guerrilla Marketing” books, Levinson worked on the ad campaigns that gave the world The Marlboro Man, the Jolly Green Giant, Tony the Tiger, and The Pillsbury Doughboy. After coining the guerrilla marketing phrase, he taught his concepts for ten years at the University of California-Berkeley.

Levinson’s Concept

Levinson’s overarching marketing concept is based on the idea that marketing is a process consisting of many different parts; it is not simply running ads, owning a website domain, printing brochures, or getting one’s name into the phonebook. Rather, Levinson defines marketing as any instance in which your business makes contact with a potential customer. At its heart, he states, marketing is “the art of getting people to change their minds.”

What Is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing strategizes to get consumers to back the little guy- the lone entrepreneur proprietor or small business owner who doesn’t have the big bucks to invest in Super Bowl ad spots or otherwise compete against huge corporations. Like a guerilla warrior, the guerilla marketer relies upon ingenuity and smarts, and well-planned decision making rather than just money.

Guerrilla Strategies

Guerrillas rely upon low-cost but effective ways to get their business message across. Focusing more on an investment of energy and innovation rather than money, guerrillas begin by brainstorming and sketching out their battle plan. They put together a cohesive marketing plan, schedule marketing and special promotions for at least a year in advance, and then they stick to it, even if they don’t see immediate results. Think about the FARQ guerilla rebels in South America: while their methodologies and ideologies may be deplorable, their loyalty to their mission and never-say-die attitude is the attitude Levinson wants small business owners to learn.



“Jay Conrad Levinson.” Guerrilla Marketing Online – The Official Site of Guerrilla Marketing and Jay Conrad Levinson. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2010. <>.

Levinson, J Conrad. “What Marketing Is and Is Not.” N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2010. < >.

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