The concept of Guerrilla marketing subsumes a set of different innovative and creative approach to marketing in today’s marketplace warfare. It aims principally at gaining large effect with a small budget through surprise and diffusion effects. Although the instruments are more and more often applied by today’s practitioners, there is barely scientific discussion about the concept. Therefore, this paper describes the evolution, philosophers’, principles of the concept and current understanding of guerrilla marketing among Hotel entrepreneurs in Imo State, as an attempt to gaining attention of a large number of consumers at relatively low cost by means of surprise effect and diffusion effect. The study highlights how different guerrilla instruments like internal, ambient, sensation, viral, buzz marketing try to evoke these effects. The study uses empirical evidence to discuss the application of the GM principles as found in the sample of 40 Hotels in Imo State. The results shows that the Hotel entrepreneurs’ use of guerrilla marketing weapons is consistent with literature, but are not known by some of these academic names. They all agreed that they cannot survive the larger competitors and rough economic life in Nigeria, without resorting to guerrilla marketing. The study recommends Guerrilla Marketing for the marketing of Hotel services in Nigeria. Guerrilla marketing surprises you and is therefore striking. It all comes together in one: “impact”. Guerrilla marketing means impact, and that is what today marketplace needs.
1.1 Background of the Study
Marketing is warfare without a gunshot. It is psychological and is fought in the minds of the customers and consumers. The barrage of advertising in TV and magazines, depicting products of various shapes and sizes, prices of all sorts, placed where the products can be found are all before the consumers to look and be attracted to and choose from. Hellish you may say, (Ives, 2004).
Now if marketing is warfare, with whom are we fighting with and with what? The battle strategies and instruments are all explained in the concept of Guerrilla marketing as characterized by surprise-effect, diffusion effect and low-cost effect, working through buzz marketing, viral marketing and word-of-mouth marketing. These mixes make it more attractive and aligned to small and medium size enterprises owners to imbibe and apply in order to survive the attack of bigger established enterprises, (Kotler, et al. 2002)
Tell me; what will a marketer do in today’s globalize market that everything, just everything is changing fast? For instance, before him are price-sensitive customers, new competitors, new distribution channels, new communications channels, the internet, wireless commerce, globalized products, deregulation, privatization and many related others. It is not the markets that are changing, but the technologies that support them: e-commerce, e-mail, mobile phones, fax machines, sales and marketing automation, cable TV, video conferencing. It is of essence that today’s marketer think through these changes and seek for ways and strategies to survive, (Kotler, Jain & Maesnicee, 2002). Thus to survive in Imo State ever changing marketing environment, marketers also have to change their approach, and the strategy that matches these unstable tides is guerrilla marketing.
Guerrilla marketing is a restless marketing philosophy in the sense that it is applied where an enterprise is outnumbered by others in terms of resources, market-share, and funding. This study is to review literatures to establish the nature and definitions of the concept and to investigate the recognition and extent of application among Hotels operators in lmo State Nigeria, and to make recommendations for best practices.
It is amazing that in all the states and cities in Nigerian, Guerrilla marketing can get you anywhere: on your way home from work, in the car, bus and train, on the streets, strolling or relaxing at a café terrace, in front of your house, or at major events. It is like love: you will find it at the moment you do not expect it at all. At the moment you set your eyes on a product no sooner than later you start to think about it and what to do with it. The Guerrilla marketer, thus have what he wants (your attention, interest, desire and action) which results in purchase. Guerrilla marketing distinguishes itself from other promotional tools by its surprise effect and it has become a very popular marketing strategy in current times.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Today in Imo State, the rate of Hotel construction and establishment is alarming that there is no major road or street in Owerri without three or four hotels, to mention the least. In fact the two major factories here are Hotels and Petrol Filling Stations. This becomes a concern that requires investigating to ascertain the survival and competitive strategies which has enhanced their performance that many more are attracted to invest in this developing tourism haven. There are too many Hotels in Imo State, yet more are being built.
Furthermore, Guerrilla marketing is needed because big businesses are downsizing, decentralizing, relaxation of government regulations on SMEs, affordable technology, and a resolution among many paid employees to be independent of paid employment; people around the world are gravitating to small businesses in record numbers. Opportunities are everywhere, but who has the hinder-sight and tactics to see and take them.
Levinson, (2006) is of the opinion that small businesses are failing in established record numbers due to failure to understand traditional marketing. Guerrilla marketing has been proven in action to work for small businesses around the world. It works because it’s simple to understand, easy to implement and outrageously inexpensive.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To evaluate the degree of awareness and application of GM principles among Hotel operators in Imo State.
- To learn more about the phenomena (GM) and the interface of its principles in improving the performance of marketing of Hotel services
iii. To make contributions from the study findings with a view to improving theories and practices in marketing profession.
1.4 Research Questions
The philosophy of Guerrilla marketing, principles and development lead to the following questions on the marketing of Hotel services to extract responses to solve the study problems:
- Do Hotel operators Imo State know of guerrilla marketing, its characteristics, and by this name or any other? Does it have any other name among practitioners?
- To what extent have they been applying the principles via the instruments?
- In what situations did they apply guerrilla marketing?
- What separates guerrilla marketing from traditional marketing strategies? Are they complementary or in opposition?
- Does guerrilla marketing have a future in marketing practices in Nigeria?
The above questions and responses will assist the investigator execute the objectives and purpose that prompted the study, which is stated in this question: Is guerrilla marketing needed in order for marketing of Hotel services to be successful? Studies in other places (USA, Iran, Turkey, Sweden etc.) answered in affirmative. This study intends to confirm or negate the observed findings in other countries empirically; so as to add to the existing knowledge.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significant of this study is of essence to marketers, entrepreneurs and scholars, that the acquisition of the strategies and tactics for achieving more with little is what Guerrilla (GM), is all about. The study emphases that GM focuses on low cost creative strategies in marketing. Strategies that leave a longer impression on the customers that they will always call back when in need. This requires time, energy, imagination, and not money. Profits, not sales volume are the primary measure of success.
Emphasis is on retaining existing customers than acquiring new ones. Guerrilla marketing involves unusual approaches such as intercept encounters in public places, street gibe-way of products, PR stunts, or any unconventional marketing methods intended to get maximum results from minimal resources. Essentially, GM is a proof that “small is beautiful” for in implementing the tactics small size is actually an advantage.
The researcher have further highlighted that marketers should constantly be creative in devising unconventional methods of promotion, and should use their contact, both professional and personal to examine their enterprises and products, looking for sources of publicity tht are inexpensive or even free.
The study covers Hotels in Imo State, according to (http:www.hotellisting.com.imostate.ng), there are 270 registered hotels in Imo State. This study took a sample of these registered members, those that were not registered and those that registered after this data was collected were not included. Its main concern is to ascertain the extent of usage of the phenomenon to improve the performance of hotel service marketing among the operators.
This investigation is limited to hotels in Imo State, of small and medium scales, micro and large scales are not included. In this study, the level of perfection is relative to the knowledge and research skills of the investigator. The analyzed questionnaire and interviews are those that were directly answered, and the conclusions reached are limited to the responses of the respondents relative to their knowledge of the phenomenon under investigation. Each respondent answered on the premises of his or her understanding, and in some cases, the investigator have to analyze and shift the appropriateness of their responses.
This study used a mixed research approach to ensure reliability and validity expectations, yet it is practically and appropriately relevant in today’s marketplace contest, since it deals with an emerging phenomenon that is difficult to measure. Nonetheless minor human errors might be imbedded unforeseen, where that exists the author accepts responsibility.