Guerrilla Marketing Founder Levinson Dies at 80
We got word this morning that Jay Conrad Levinson, 80, died yesterday. He was a seminal figure in marketing and the founder of Guerrilla Marketing, which helped make business more of an adventure than just merely selling stuff.
Guerrilla Marketing refers to using what's at your immediate disposal to capture more business. Commonly referred to as the father of Guerrilla Marketing, Jay was involved in some of the most recognizable campaigns in advertising history, such as the Marlboro Man, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Allstate's Good Hands, United's Friendly Skies, Morris the Cat, Tony the Tiger and the Jolly Green Giant.
In an interview with InsuranceNewsNet in May 2011, Levinson described guerrilla marketing as going after conventional goals using unconventional means.
"Guerrilla marketing is pretty much the opposite of what people think it is," he said in the interview. "It's not shocking or ambushing and it does not result in instant anything... it's oriented to the client. And it does not work instantly because guerrilla marketers realize, 'I've got to build up a sense of confidence, and I can't do that immediately.'"
Levinson said that an effective guerrilla marketing plan consists of only seven sentences, addressing seven points. "If you don't make it simple, people won't do it," he said. "The two keys to success in much of life are to have a plan-that's the easy part-and to commit to that plan-that's the hard part. Almost anybody can start with a plan but hardly anybody can commit to a plan. They think marketing brings about instant results.
"They get a Facebook account and become active on Twitter. They think the social media will work for them. It doesn't work in a hurry. But it's so uncomplicated if you go about it in the right way, which is not complicated or expensive. The key element is the same one you need in insurance-it is patience, because the best-crafted marketing doesn't work instantly.
"Those that are successful, had a vision, committed to that vision, and put it into writing because you've got to just start ‘cause not having a marketing plan is like entering battle under a commander who says, 'Ready. Fire. Aim.' It doesn't work if you do it in that order.
"You've gotta be ready, you've gotta aim, and then you've gotta fire. And then you've gotta fire again, and again, and again. You've got to realize that you're competitors aren't going to have as much patience as you are. They're not going to hang in there as long as you. That's what guerrillas are able to do. They're able to outlast their competitors in the area of patience."
Levinson urged patience in conducting an effective marketing campaign. "The graveyards of marketing are littered with terrific campaigns that were abandoned too soon," he said. "People think, 'This should work in a hurry,' but marketing doesn't. And if you think it does, you're going to be in for a life of grief, frustration and Tums because it doesn't work instantly; it does, however, work eventually if you commit to it."