In this chapter, we will pull the material covered in the previous sections all together into two types of integrated campaigns: the short-term, focused guerrilla marketing campaign and the long-term, ongoing awareness and reminder guerrilla marketing campaign. While one of the objectives for most of our marketing and PR campaigns is to achieve some public attention and awareness, some of our efforts should be focused on specific events, activities, and functions that our affiliates are engaging in. We should also have ongoing campaigns that keep our name and what we represent in the forefront of our various target audiences.
The Short-Term, Focused Guerrilla Marketing Campaign
The short-term, focused guerrilla marketing campaign is used to publicize specific events, activities, and functions. For instance, here is a list of some such events you might want to publicize with this type of short-term campaign:
- Your affiliate's state convention
- Dining in the Dark event
- A Walk-A-Thon event
- An audio-described movie night
- An exhibit, e.g., accessible devices, technology, etc.
- A special presentation dealing with the latest eye-related research
- Fundraising events, e.g. music concerts, golf or fishing tournament,
- Trivia night, bingo night, garage or yard sale, chili cook-off, baked goods sale, hot dog & drink sale, silent auction, bowl-a-thon, etc.
- White Cane Safety event
- Louis Braille's Birthday event
The above list is certainly not meant to be all-inclusive, but it gives you some ideas for the types of events, activities, and functions that are prime happenings for this type of short-term, focused campaign.
To publicize these kinds of events, you should use a combination of methods that we covered in earlier sections of this handbook. This type of integrated approached could be applied to any of these kinds of activities. Let's take a Dining in the Dark event as an example.
The first step is planning the details of the event. We are not going to get into planning the details for executing a Dining in the Dark activity; instead, we are going to concentrate on the marketing of the event. We strongly recommend that:
- You write out your plan in detail so you have something you can refer to as a guide and something your entire team or committee is committed to, including specific people who are responsible for each key component of your plan.
- You begin by referring to this handbook as the first step in your campaign planning process. Chapter Two dealt with free bulletin boards and calendar listings; that is the starting point for your campaign.
- Go through this handbook, chapter by chapter, applying the techniques that fit your campaign.
Let's get started by listing all of the places that have bulletin boards and calendars where you can publicize your Dining in the Dark event. This will require some brainstorming by your members. We listed some ideas in the second chapter. You will probably need to develop three or four announcements of different lengths to be able to accommodate the requirements of the various bulletin boards and calendars you'll use. Most TV stations, cable networks, and radio stations, for instance, limit the number of words you can use in your announcement to as few as 30 and rarely more than 100 words. Bulletin boards online have similar limits. Bulletin boards in stores quite often limit the size of the announcement, e.g. to a 3"x5" card or a 4"x6" card, very rarely more than a small 8 ½"x5 ½" poster. Regardless of the size, you need to keep the copy to a minimum, giving only the key facts and a contact person, phone number, and web site if available. Larger sizes should be used more for using larger type fonts and graphics that will grab and focus attention on your announcement.
Next, you will want to create a flyer to promote your event. This should be designed for a standard, 8 ½" x 11" sheet of paper because this size is readily available, relatively inexpensive to copy, and it fits all printers, if you reproduce it yourself. Again, you want to keep the copy focused on the facts: who, what, when, where, why, and how much. Always use the largest type size possible, with as many colors as possible, and some eye-catching graphics. Remember: anything directed toward the public should use as much eye candy as possible. Research clearly shows that approximately 80 percent of what a sighted person gets into his/her brain comes from visual cues. Sighted people love color and graphics. Your Dining in the Dark flyer can be designed to fit on an 8 ½" x 11" folded in thirds. The headline copy is critical on all of your promotional materials. It must be short and very catchy, enticing the reader to want more, to keep reading, e.g. What Would You Do If You Were Blind? Or, How Would You Eat Your Dinner If You Couldn't See?
Now, we need to do some more brainstorming to come up with our list of places where we can distribute our flyers. It is important for each of these campaign components to have specific individuals responsible for getting the bulletin board and calendar listings and the flyers out to where they need to go. Just making the list certainly doesn't get it done.
Timing of these components is very important. The flyers can go out two to three weeks before the event. However, the bulletin board and calendar listings will often be controlled by the policies of the TV, cable network, or radio stations. Most of the time, you need to have it to the station at least two weeks before when you want it announced or included on the community calendar.
From the copy you have written for your flyer, you can create your media release. Of course, the format will be very different; follow the format shown in Chapter Four, but you can use the same catchy headline, and you can probably even use the key elements in your opening paragraph. You will need to develop a list of media sources to which you will deliver or send your media release. Do not get your media release to the media too far in advance of the event. Usually, it should get in the hands of the person who handles media releases no more than three or four days in advance of the event you are publicizing. If your Dining in the Dark event is taking place on Thursday night, you would want to get it to the media probably Monday or Tuesday. However, to be on the safe side, we highly recommend that you call the person who handles media releases for each media outlet and ask how they prefer to receive their media releases and how far in advance of the event they want it.
The week of your Dining in the Dark event, you want to try to schedule as many guest appearances as possible on local TV stations, cable network programs, and radio programs. To do this, you need to contact the media source at least three or four weeks in advance of the event. To be on the safe side, we strongly recommend that you contact each media source to find out what kinds of programs they have where a representative of your affiliate can appear as a guest to tell their viewing or listening audience about your event and to find out how far in advance you need to schedule it.
It is a very good idea to create a database or file in which you make note of all the requirements for each of your media sources, newspapers, TV stations, cable networks, radio stations, the various bulletin boards and community calendars you use, including the names and contact information for the key contact people so you won't have to totally reinvent the wheel each time you launch another similar campaign.
Of course, you will want to include an article about your Dining in the Dark event in your newsletter, and you can also send a version of your article out to any other newsletters that might publish it, like church newsletters, Lions Club newsletters, PTA newsletters, etc. If there are any community magazines that cover local events, you should try to get your article published in that too.
Finally, make sure you have it listed and described on your web site. If you have any telephone hotlines, radio reading services or telephone reading services available to you, they are all good sources to publicize your Dining in the Dark event. If it doesn't cost anything, or if the cost is very small, there is little or no downside to using that method for getting out the word about your activity. If you have a blog, put the information about your event out on your blog; in fact, you can put out a series of informational blurbs on your blog. You can do the same for your Facebook page. And if your affiliate is on Twitter, these are all resources and methods that form your total integrated guerrilla marketing campaign for marketing and publicizing your Dining in the Dark event.
The Long-Term, Ongoing Awareness and Reminder Guerrilla Marketing Campaign
The long-term, ongoing awareness and reminder guerrilla marketing campaign is actually a little easier to develop than the short-term special event guerrilla marketing efforts. The key to the longer-term campaign is staying on top of it and keeping it going. The target markets, themes, and issues that are especially suited for the longer-term guerrilla marketing campaigns include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Are you a parent of a blind child?
- Are you a senior citizen who is losing your eyesight?
- Are you slowly going blind?
- Have you lost your eyesight and need assistance?
- Blindness does not have to be a handicap!
- Do you know someone who is blind and could use some assistance?
- We have a scholarship program for blind and low-vision students.
- We have a grant program created to help blind and low-vision people.
Again, this list is not meant to be all inclusive, but it will give you some ideas for the kinds of themes that make good longer-term guerrilla marketing campaigns. It is a good idea to develop several of these themes that apply to your particular affiliate or chapter and rotate them. Let's just select four of the above themes to illustrate our point. We'll use: are you a parent of a blind child, are you a senior citizen who is losing your eyesight, have you lost your eyesight and need assistance, and blindness does not have to be a handicap!
The campaign methods will be very similar for all of the themes, so we will concentrate on the first one. The difference will be a little adjustment in some of the outlets used. For instance, our campaign targeting parents of blind children will reach out to special education teachers who have contact with parents of blind children and include placing information in the PTA newsletter. In contrast, if we are targeting senior citizens, we would focus on outlets that reach the older segments of our population.
We need to develop at least one, possibly even three or four, public service announcements (PSAs) for each theme. Follow the guidelines in Chapter Five of this handbook and get a copy of "PSA Handbook for ACB Affiliates and Chapters" to help you create and distribute your PSAs. To get started, just create one complete long-term campaign for a particular theme, like targeting parents of blind children.
When you have all of the components planned out and created, like your announcement that you will put up on stores' and organizations' bulletin boards, the article you will publish in various organizations' newsletters, your public service announcement, posting information related to your theme to your web site, and designing and distributing the flyers that focus on your theme, you can turn to the next campaign theme and get it ready to launch. Each themed campaign should be allowed to run for no less than one month and no more than three months. Then, you should switch to a different themed campaign. Once we launch our campaign targeting parents of blind children, we will let it run for two months, which gives us time to plan and create the materials we need to launch our second campaign targeting senior citizens who are losing their eyesight. We will let this second campaign run for two months, during which time we will plan and create the materials we need for our third themed campaign, which is targeting people who have lost their eyesight and need assistance. When the two months are up for our second campaign, we will launch our third one. Again, while this third campaign is running for its two months, we will use the time to plan and create the materials for our fourth themed campaign targeting the general public to convey the point that blindness does not have to be a handicap. When the two months are up for the third campaign, we are ready to launch our fourth campaign.
Once the four campaigns have all run their cycle, we are ready to go back to the first one and kick it off again. We will simply rotate through each complete cycle over and over. It is a good idea to have some variations that you can use, like two or three alternative PSAs, even some alternative announcements for bulletin boards, and some variations in the articles you send out to go in newsletters, etc. It is very important to emphasize the name of your organization, what your affiliate or chapter can do for the targeted audience, and your contact information. In every element of your campaign, the headline is vitally important to grab the attention of the intended target audience, to tell them what you can do for them, how your organization can benefit them, who you are and how to reach you. Your materials have to give the targeted audience a strong reason to take action, and the action you want them to take is to contact you. Why should a parent of a blind child want to call you? What can you do for them? How can your organization assist them? How can you help them to solve a problem they face? What can you do for older people who are facing the frightening situation of losing their eyesight and can no longer read printed material or drive a car? These are the kinds of questions your campaign materials have to answer in a very, very short, succinct manner.
This concludes our guerrilla marketing handbook. If you have any questions or need assistance, you can contact the ACB PR Committee. The chair of the committee and all of its members are listed on the ACB web site, Public Relations Committee.