Guerrilla warfare is typically performed by a small force battling a larger, more highly equipped enemy. Guerrilla forces are typically comprised of small units that employ continuous raids, ambushes, and attacks on opponent’s weaknesses to put ongoing pressure on the larger force (most often psychological pressure to wear-down morale). In addition, the supports of local populations help sustain the smaller force and provide safety. Several examples of a guerrilla force succeeding against a much larger opponent are the Chinese Civil War, the Vietcong against the French and U.S., Castro’s Cuban revolution, the Sandista revolution, and jihadists fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. Business leaders should learn and adapt guerilla tactics to their sales and marketing efforts to keep competitor off-balanced and customers continually excited about new, surprise offerings.
As I spend a lot of time on planes, I have plenty of quiet time to read. I just knocked the dust off (again) a classic from Sergio Zyman, former Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Coca-Cola. Zyman is the guy who will be forever known as the New Coke architect (good or bad, usually bad). His book The End of Marketing As We Know It is an excellent read for any marketing or general business enthusiast.
Unconventional business strategies can ignite growth. Developing a culture that promotes and rewards creativity and innovation is critical in today’s turbulent global business environment. Moving faster than your competitors and developing creative strategies and products will force competitors to continuously react. As you continually surprise and disrupt the market, your organization will drive forward while competitors remain flat-footed. Stop relying on outdated and routine strategies. Reignite your organization with unconventional methodologies. Embrace discomfort and ambiguity. Connect disparate pieces of information. Rethink how you think.
When resources are scarce, the time to get creative and leverage non-traditional marketing strategies should excite marketing leaders and teams. The opportunity to do more with less and demonstrate to senior leaders the effectiveness of marketing, will lead to increased resources. Asymmetric marketing is an excellent method to “do more with less” and leverage speed and surprise to outmaneuver competitors, excite customers, and demonstrate the effectiveness of “guerilla marketing”.
Ants do it. Bees do it. Wolves do it. Even German U-boats in WWII did it. Swarming. Swarming is a great tactic to overwhelm competitors. The use of small units which simultaneously attack competitors from multiple directions is at the heart of swarming. There has been long history of swarming within various military campaigns. However, swarming can be a highly impactful sales and marketing strategy to dominate markets.
Maneuver warfare works on the premise of using deception and ambiguity to disorient your opponent with surprise and shock. This methodology works very well for small forces competing against larger forces. The modern-day theorist, Col. John Boyd spearheaded this theory which was eventually adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps as the modern method for operations. Maneuver Warfare techniques can also be applied within business, especially for product launch planning.