Thoughts on Likemind: Guerrilla Marketing was easier back when it was harder

Guerrilla marketing, a concept coined by Jay Conrad Levinson and made popular during a simpler pre-Internet age, was never as easy as it sounded. The Internet’s arrival as a marketing tool didn’t make guerrilla marketing less relevant. It did heap on potentially detrimental distractions.

I was reminded of this when Jon Mueller announced the topic of his presentation, set for this Friday morning at Milwaukee’s June Likemind meet-up. The title is DIY: The Fine Line Between Building and Killing an Idea. Jon acknowledges that modern technology grants us unprecedented power to launch an idea or market a business. In some ways it’s a Utopia to the Jay Conrad Levinson of that long series of guerrilla marketing books. Each explored a different facet using guerrilla warfare tactics to out-compete bigger and better financed competitors.

Jon’s talk will describe how technology has not made do-it-yourself (DIY) marketing necessarily more surefire. He’ll explore how digital marketing provides “distraction, an assumption of promise (if I use this, the result will be this), and a diminished true interaction between people.” In other words, the very technology that can be a DIY heaven can also be a marketer’s undoing.

Since Jon is general manager of the business book giant 800ceoread.com, I’m expecting him to be citing business books like the Guerrilla Marketing series — but also more recent books on the perils of the Internet age.

Most notably, I’m expecting him to touch upon the new book by Nicolas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, which just came out, and

It contends that the web is changing how we think and make decisions — and not for the better. I hope you join Jon at the event. Here are the details. It’s free of charge, at 7 AM on Friday. It also may be outdoors, weather permitting!

Finally, I’d like to brag about a one-degree-of-separation moment I had a few days ago. I met a co-author of two of the Guerrilla Marketing books. Al Lautenslager (a.k.a., @GMarketingGuy) is based in Appleton, Wisconsin. It was interesting to chat with someone who is keeping Levinson’s ideas current, as is evidenced by a smartly done and decidedly DIY marketing website. I hope we keep in touch, Al!

Published by Jeff Larche

With a background that includes direct marketing and customer relationship management (CRM), Jeff Larche brings an unusual approach to his work. What these other two disciplines have in common is database marketing, and they continue to strongly influence his work as marketing technology leader.