By the Staff of the Fiery Foods & BBQ SuperSite
Nine Ways to Capture Market Share Through Guerrilla Marketing Strategies
Every time we look around, the fiery foods industry has taken new turns, introduced new products, developed new markets, and has found new ways to reach the expanding demand for chile. Some companies have developed mail order connections to reach the market, some are developing the high end of the market with gourmet products, and others are creating entirely new products both in food and non-food categories. Most of the firms doing the experimenting are small enough so that they can change quickly to accommodate the market. Below are some guerilla marketing techniques with examples of how small companies are implementing them. The outline of these techniques is borrowed courtesy of Matt Ross, vice president and management supervisor for Ogilvy and Mather’s Houston office.
1. Have the acceptance of the people and you can conquer the greatest powers on earth. We have all seen corporate giants purchase small companies in the fiery foods industry. Does this happen because the large corporation’s technical staff can’t figure out how to make an equivalent product? No, it happens because the small company has gained something both precious and immeasurable: popular acceptance. Small companies survive on their ability to gain the acceptance of the people.
2. Never directly attack powerful cities; control the countryside and you will gain the cities. This premise works both geographically and for market share. The successful fiery foods entrepreneurs are filling a niche in the market that a large corporation can’t afford to fill. Many entrepreneurs are focusing on local levels where the large corporations cannot afford to concentrate their resources.
3. The best battles are never fought; be prepared to retreat and get business but not too much attention. In a head-on fight with a major company, a small entrepreneur doesn’t stand much of a chance. A company that can retreat and then develop another aspect of the business has much better odds for survival. Better yet, play the market in such a way that the large company doesn’t feel threatened. Remember, you’re in the business of building your business, not in the business of showing the big guys who you are.
4. When you do fight, go for share, not ego. There are dozens of small fiery food producers who have developed segments of the market that can’t be touched by large industry. But in the open field, in the national food stores, they would be crushed if they competed head-on. So instead of attempting to gain fame, go for a big share of your own market.
5. Fight on your own turf and define the terms of battle. An ancient Chinese warrior once said, “If your enemy is 200 miles away, make sure it is he who travels the 200 miles to the battle.” This philosophy is similar to point 4, above. If you have developed a niche, fight on the terms of that niche–that’s where you’ve found acceptance, and that’s where you’ll find support.
6. Your enemy’s greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. This point is illustrated by distribution and development systems. The same distribution system which enables a large food manufacturer to be on the shelves of the major supermarket chains in all fifty states makes it impossible for that manufacturer to reach consumers by, say, mail order. Or, the same development by 75% of consumers makes it unappealing to 25%. If you are interested in that 25%, you are playing your strength against your competitors’ weakness.
7. Let the leader build the market. We have heard people say, “We have to educate our market.” A small company cannot afford to educate its market. All it can do is take advantage of the education being done by the corporate giants.
8. Don’t get confused; you’re not the leader. Keeping this principle in mind can save a lot of grief. A few of the small airline companies which were boosted by deregulation collapsed because they believed they could take over the number one position. Pepsi and Avis, on the other hand, have done very well by being number two.
9. Focus, focus, focus: on your objectives, product resources, and your company appeal. Overheard from one president of a small chile company: “One more great opportunity and we’re out of business.” This principle is crucial in a business like the fiery foods industry where new opportunities arise all the time. Avoid jumping on every new fad; instead, stick with a good idea, weather the turns of the industry, and you’ll do fine.