Effective marketing techniques that don’t eat up a company’s profits were the focus of Ken Kelly’s presentation titled “Guerilla Marketing.” Kelly, the president of Kelly Roofing in Naples, Fla., noted that a typical seminar attendee retains only 20 percent of the information received. “My goal is to increase those numbers by making ideas easy to implement,” he said, and then he offered his first suggestion: “Listen to books.”
Books on tape are easy to listen to, especially if you spend a lot of time on the road, explained Kelly, who rattled off a list of recommended titles as he continued his presentation, leading off with Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson, from which he derived the title of his seminar. In order to help attendees focus their message, Kelly proposed an exercise to help companies determine how they are different from the competition. “What are the benefits of doing business with your company?” he asked. “Make a list. Now cross off anything your competition can say as well. What’s left is what makes you unique.”
The next step, said Kelly, is to define your specific market - the territory, services, roof types you work on, and systems and materials you install - and what methods are the most profitable for your company. “Specify, specialize, and increase efficiency,” urged Kelly. He noted that his own company does not do new construction work, for example. “I like to shake hands with the owner and let him know he has a great roof,” he said.
Another book Kelly recommended for business owners was The Marine Corps Way by Jason Santamaria, Vincent Martino and Eric Clemons. Kelly explained that the Marine Corps uses speed, surprise and concentrated force to exploit enemies’ weaknesses. The key is the use of relatively small units empowered to react as events unfold. “The point is to let the troops make their own decisions,” Kelly said. “We have this as a mantra in our organization. The squad tells the boss what they need to get the job done, and he delivers it. Support your team. They are on the ground, face to face with the customer. They know better than you.”
“Guerrilla marketing is all about building and maintaining relationships,” Kelly continued. He outlined a series of marketing offerings, including brochures, videos, samples, demonstrations and inspections, all of which could be provided for customers at no charge. “The key is to become the expert,” he said. “People don’t want to hear about you - they want tips they can use to help themselves.”
Keep getting better and don’t lose track of the big picture, Kelly urged attendees. He pointed to another book, The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker, to emphasize the importance of the long-term view and continual improvement.
“The Japanese word ‘kaizen’ has no direct translation into English, but it has been explained as ‘a conviction of the importance of lifelong education and improvement,’” he told attendees. “Obviously everyone in the room buys into this, or we wouldn’t be here.”