'Gorilla' Marketing Strategies - Tips for Wild Success!

Posted by Jim Otto


We all know that marketing and advertising has changed greatly over the past decade, and keeping up with these changes while growing a business (like a kids salon franchise) can be a challenging feat. Reaching your target audience is key when developing strategies on how and where to spend your advertising dollars. 

Recently, at Shear Madness headquarters, our brainstorming sessions have led to discussions of alternative, creative and more economical solutions for marketing our business's growth. We decided to open the discussion on LinkedIn to get your feedback, and WOW! We just had to write a blog about it.

Below are some of our very best 'Gorilla' Marketing Tips for WILD success!

  • Surprise is everything! Understand what is expected, then do the opposite. For example, you may want to consider hosting an event in an unusual and high traffic location. Remember: Unexpected Placement + Unexpected Timing + Unexpected Message = Unparalled Results! This kind of marketing strategy is so broad it can vary greatly for businesses depending on their goals. To make heads turn and take interest in what you are doing takes guts!
  • Host an event at a special location to help drive traffic and awareness (we have gone to baseball games and sponsored children's teams - then surprised them with gifts or face-painting. We also hosted the premier for the movie Tangled, and performed makeovers for the little girls present.)
  • A Flash Mob! The wilder the better. Think: What does my Brand do? Then take that to the streets!
  • Build strong relationships with organizations and businesses in the community (every year we head Halloween Parades at each location).

Here are some more thoughts you shared with us...

Jay Bandy, President of Goliath Consulting Group, shares that for a business focused around kids - schools and churches are the best places to get involved within the communities around each location. Even though you're selling haircuts, you can offer to have muffins and coffee for before or after a church service to get the word out. There are many opportunities with local schools to get involved depending on the school system.

Irene Ross says that, Wow, can you ever have fun with this!  Do you know someone who's good at writing poetry and songs?  I'd have them create an ORIGINAL song about how terrific Shear Madness is and have kids (who are Shear Madness clients) sing it and maybe dance (sort of a flash mob) in a park or the center of town--at a time of day when it's packed with business people out for lunch.  And the kids can wear t-shirts with Shear Madness written on them. 

Sally Davisson says to adopt a non-profit group that has good visibility with your best target customers.  And then go all out for them.  Have them pass out cards to use that donates "x dollar" to their charity for every person who uses one.  If they serve a financially challenged community, offer free hair cuts.  Have an in-house contest to raise the most money for them, and have your staff participate in all of their events/fund-raisers.  Have representatives volunteer for their committees and help them get the work done.  I think that works better than trying to do a little bit for numerous non-profits.  You can have the employees vote for their favorite, then maybe rotate every year or so.  And in general it might be great PR to offer a free hair style to anyone who is out of work and wanting to look good for interviews?      

Stephen Nichols states that he thinks a Shear Madness franchise would benefit from a facebook page that offers special deals and discounts.  It could be 10 percent off your next haircut or something like 30 percent off for new customers, along those lines.  Then use the page to post the discount offers to other pages dedicated to subjects your target audience is interested in. For example, there's a Kansas City facebook page and whenever I want to promote an event for the Rotary Club I use its facebook page to post invitations to the Kansas City page. It's simple, free, doesn't take much time, and if it doesn't work for your business you've lost nothing and learned something.  

Share Ross points out that they have always found videos to be incredibly effective. Especially if you can make them funny and entertaining! This gets people talking and they feel like they are in your tribe. It's all about establishing an emotional connection - especially when viewers can actually see you and feel like they know WHY you're doing what you're doing... then they are on your side!

Melanie Parkers says that one traditional guerrilla marketing technique that has worked well for myself and my clients is to hang out where your target market hangs out - and come bearing gifts.  For example, if you own a children's haircut franchise, go to popular parks or outdoor events and hand out branded t-shirts or stress balls along with coupons for your business attached.  Just be sure that you target parents!

Scott Britton loves the non-profit piggyback marketing. What a great way to give back at the same time as you grow your business! Whatever you do, stick with it! It takes most people a while to connect to your new brand. They need to see it for awhile before they will respond. Also you might try discounts for mall employees and their famlies, and other types of "base building activites". People love to feel that they are getting special treatment. Remember You're essentially relationship building.  You're  theme oriented and your place does so much to appeal to children as it is. Why not network with roller rinks and other places,  like Chuckie Cheese to cross promote? Get two pairs of new comfortable shoes and hit the pavement with cardstock coupons to set on counters. (they have to be colorful and eyecatching,  with fun photography that matches your theme - with of course a compelling offer to call your target (Mom's and Dad's) to action!

Here at Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids Franchising, we work hard to share our many great resources and business experiences so that our franchisees will have the tools to succeed! If you're interested in learning how to become a successful owner of your own franchise business, please click below!

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