Pay What You Can Afford….Guerilla Marketing at it’s best…

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I went out last night, in my hometown; the sleepy waterfront senior citizen mecca; Edmonds Washington. In the heart of downtown I met a client at The Loft, a pricey new gathering space in Edmonds. On my way into the intimate bar I noticed a banner across the street announcing "Pay What You Can Afford." It hung across the entire Shell Creek Restaurant storefront.

After being seated and perusing the menu my client and I were surprised there was only one drink special; a margarita and that either the appetizers were regular priced; or mini sized. I smiled. It didn’t seem the Loft had a clue as to the economics of the day. I watched as the cozy venue stayed busy and wondered at $7-$12 a glass of wine what the future held for this establishment. I mean my job is business development…right?

When my client and I finished I hugged him; no I don’t hug all my clients. I hugged this client to say, ‘Thankyou’ for letting me share in the journey with him, to encourage him to blaze on and to let him know I am fully in the boat!

Walking across the road, I once again stared at the banner which had caught my attention an hour or two earlier. ""Pay What You Can Afford." I opened the door to the upscale restaurant the buzz of a full dining room and bar greeted me. My friends/clients were celebrating; our celebratory dinner following the sale of their business; a business I had been helping to grow and then sell. Pouring the deep red Merlot into our glasses the gracious waitress explained, "everything on the menu is priceless; except for the alcohol. You decide what its worth and pay what you can afford."

Guerrilla Marketing! My brain squealed silently. Aggressive acts to create value, innovation and to market efficiently. Weeks earlier on an evening walk of mine, I had ruminated over this restaurant and it’s door nail dead energy, now it was buzzing as if Oprah had arrived.

My friends confided that during their conversation with the restaurant owner they had learned that "Pay What You Can Afford" was a huge success, that most clients were paying close to average meal prices and some clients so appreciative were they, that they were randomly handing the owner $50 bills.

As my friends and I raised our wine glasses I was reminded of the power of ingenuity and creativity. I was toasting a partnership that had envisioned a business, created it, grown it, sold it and was now exploring new opportunities and I was sitting in a business that refused to die.

I thought about my expereince across the road in a business that seemed oblivious to the current state of wallets and I thought about how it felt to have a business " on your side." Guerilla Marketing.

It’s time to saddle up next to the client, to deliver your message, your unique selling proposition in a cowboy, radical guerilla marketing way, that minimizes expenditure and maximizes results.

Clients wants to know you understand what’s going on in the world, that you know their wallets are tightening. Revise your message to reflect the times, the challenges and the solutions you provide. Clients are looking for solutions that deliver high value, innovatively to their problems.

Guerrila Market – banners, twitter, email blasts, cross promotions, strategic alliances, loyalty programs, referral programs..

Refuse to lose.

Hold the intent to grow.. be creative and get out there and Guerilla Market

Great job Shell Creek in Edmonds Washington your MY pick for entrepreneural superstar of the week!

Pam Hoelzle

Seattle Business Consultants

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