THE very first insight is to realize that technology isn't
what it was while you were growing up and isn't what it was
when I was writing this sentence. The blurring speed of change
in technology is so pervasive and dramatic that only a dunce
would attempt to pin it down. Breakthroughs are reported every
day and happening at a pace even faster than that. Your job
is to be aware of the changes and to be grateful for technology.
Yesterday, I was watching my football team
getting thumped on television. Both teams had wireless technology
connecting coaches and assistant coaches, spotters and analysts,
and it was all working like a charm. But my team was seriously
losing. I made a note then to remind you now that it doesn't
really matter how good your technology is if you're not very
good. My team could have had even better technology, newer and
faster, and still would have had their derrières whipped.
The effectiveness of your technology will reach as far as your
own effectiveness and can't surpass it. If everything else is
equal, the business with the best technology will win out. But
if you have the best technology and not the best attitude and
strategy, you haven't got a chance.
To make technology your ally, the first thing
to do is learn to love technologynot for what it is, but
for what it can do for you. The biggest changes in technology
in the nineties were not the lower cost and increased
power, but the simplicity of using technology. User manuals
are more clear than ever and the technology itself is far user-cozy.
This gives small businesses an unfair advantage.
It allows them to appear as large, as expert and as important
as the big guys without the attendant necessary to spend big
bucks. It not only has levelled out the playing field, but has
actually tilted it in favor of the guerrilla.
That means doing everything you can to increase
your comfort level with technologytaking a course, enlisting
the aid of a consultant, reading a book, going to seminars and
practising. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practise, practise,
practise. How to you get to love what technology can do for
you? Practise, practise, practise. It's hard to break a computer,
so your mistakes won't hurt youunless you don't risk making
The main idea is to learn what kinds of technology
are out there to help you run a smooth operation, then to get
what you need rather than what you want. If you fail to embrace
technology, the world will pass you by.
Companies that have enlisted the aid of technology,
made it part of their everyday business, have several marketing
edges over their competitors who are lagging behind. By becoming
virtual, which is a fancy way of saying "connected", they are
able to use technology as a way to keep in touch with their
offices, their employees, their customers.
These guerrillas become virtual by means of
their computers, to be sure, availing themselves of the speed
of email. They are also granted virtual status by means of their
communication devicestelephones, pagers, answering devices,
call-forwarding. They can be anywhere they like and still be
available at a moment's notice when they're needed.
The insight here is that the more you're connected,
the more you're available, and the more you're available, the
better you can run your business and service your customers.
These days, technology is very visible and portable, thanks
to wireless technology, with people walking down the street
talking on their miniaturized telephones. This enables them
to engage in multiple taskssuch as conducting business
on the phone while driving. It increases their efficiency while
reducing their worktime. These people can put their business
in their pocket or purse, so to speak. Many entrepreneurs have
been able to save substantial sums on office rent by closing
down their office and carrying it with them.
The way to think is digital. That means connecting,
wherever you are, with real data, tracking all customer interactions,
and mining for even more information to better transport those
customers to a state of bliss.
Let me urge you now never to use your technology,
your virtualness, to bug your customers, to send junk email
to anyone on earth, to invade people's privacy, to be intrusive
in any way. Digital power and virtual convenience are extremely
easy to abuse. Never require customers to give personal information.
Ask for it, but never require it.
Technology does enable you to gain a lot of
it without asking. If you purchase books from Amazon.com,
their technology enables them to review your purchasing history,
then recommend books you'd like. But take heed: When you do
have information, use it judiciously. Don't bombard people with
As with all marketing, the prime beneficiaries
of your technology should be your customers. When they appreciate
your virtuality, your technology, their convenience, and let
you knowyou're using it right. Jay Conrad Levinson
Levinson is probably the most respected marketer in the
world. He is the inventor of 'Guerrilla Marketing' and is responsible
for some of the most outrageous marketing campaigns in historyincluding
the Marlboro Man, the most successful ad campaign in history.
Learn how Jay can make your business a huge success
in his latest book (and arguably his best ever) Guerrilla
Marketing for the New Millennium: www.guerrillamarketingforthenewmillennium.com.