Many of you recall the old commercials and ads that turned Charlie the Tuna, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and the Marlboro Man into household names and brands. I remember watching the TV commercials, in the pre-remote days when people actually watched commercials.
The common thread behind each of these products was Jay Conrad Levinson, who worked on the creative teams that developed these brands.
In the early 1980s, Levinson coined the term “guerrilla marketing,” which sparked a revolution in business marketing, advertising, and PR. He would go on to author and co-author some 60 books, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide.
The “Father of Guerrilla Marketing” passed away on Thursday, Oct. 10, at the age of 80.
During the past three decades, Levinson was able to use his talents and genius to morph his guerrilla marketing brilliance to include technology and social media.
What exactly is guerrilla marketing? It started with three points, and over the years, has grown to 15.
This is how Levinson has described his concept:”I’m referring to the soul and essence of guerrilla marketing which remain as always — achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money.”
Entrepreneurs can relate to the energy over money method, just as Gary Vaynerchuk writes in”Crush It:” “The best marketing strategy ever is to CARE.”
It is Levinson who encourages small business owners to “get back to basics” in marketing. On his list of 200 guerrilla marketing weapons, he includes:
- A street banner
- A landing page
- A vanity phone number
- Business cards
- A meme
According to Levinson’s website, guerrilla marketing is needed because it gives small businesses a delightfully unfair advantage: certainty in an uncertain world, economy in a high-priced world, simplicity in a complicated world, marketing awareness in a clueless world.
Thank you, Jay Levinson, for sharing your clues and knowledge with generations of marketers and small business owners around the world.
Susan Young is author of the Kindle book “The Badass Book of Social Media and Business Communication.” She also blogs at Get In Front Communications, where a version of this story first appeared.