Pete Krainik on Guerrilla Marketing

November 20, 2007 at 7:29 pm 2 comments

Our Experts in Five series checks in this week with Pete Krainik, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer at Quick Response Database provider QD Technology. I wanted to catch up with Pete after hearing a bit about a recent guerrilla marketing success of his.

CMO 2.0: I heard a bit about your recent guerrilla marketing success the other day. Can you talk more about what you did and why you did it?

Pete: QD Technology is a new database technology company with an interesting new approach to solving the problem of too much data, too little access. Our idea centered around our sponsorship of CMP’s InformationWeek 500 event. At the start of the conference no one had ever heard of QD Technology. Our goal was simple: given our excitement about our value prop, get the opportunity to have a 5-10 minute conversation with the IT decision makers during the two day event, and for all in attendance to at least remember QD as a new, next-generation database company.

We targeted the opening reception for our guerrilla marketing initiative. We hired four attractive but professional models (two females, two males) to attend the event as QD reps. We provided “Lose Wait with QD” shirts for the models and trained them on our key message and three key facts about QD’s value prop.

There were around 300 IT execs at the opening reception. During the reception we started the buzz that this new technology company, QD Technology, was hiring spokespeople for their company’s videos on their website and they were asking all at the reception to provide feedback on which spokesmodel should be selected. The direction was to speak with as many of the models as possible, ask them a question about QD, and then provide me feedback on their recommendation for our spokesmodel. The IT execs loved it, went out of their way to talk with the models, and oh by the way, were introduced to QD with 2-4 key facts about our value prop.

CMO 2.0: Many marketers think guerrilla marketing too gimmicky, or too edgy. What would you say to that?

Pete: Marketing is all about engaging your customers and prospects. Moving your creative juices out of TV advertising and to real “high touch” interaction is many times the best way to get above the clutter. There is too much “blah blah blah” messaging out there today. I say, be creative, think about the single message/impression you want your target audience to understand about your company, and deliver a memorable experience.

CMO 2.0: So, getting back to what you did, how much did it cost? Did you see a real return?

Pete: The cost was four models for two hours at $200 each plus a few T-shirts. We had 40+ face to face short discussions with prospects over the two day conference and four deals from the event. As a start up company, four deals was big for us. In addition, we had a mention from the stage in front of all 300 IT execs thanking QD for spicing up the opening reception.

CMO 2.0: Were you at all concerned about potentially turning off your prospects? Like if your campaign fell flat, or worse, got too out of hand? What would your CEO have said?

Pete: The key is leveraging guerrilla marketing as a call to action to earn the discussion with your customer and prospects. It is not the end game, but think of it as a “call to action on steroids.” Second, the more you get “above the clutter,” the higher likelihood you will turn off a few prospects. You have two alternatives, be with the pack with “blah blah blah” marketing efforts or break out with a point of view and a high impact approach. I will always take the second.

CMO 2.0: Sounds like what you did was a calculated risk, with relatively low investment. What advice would you give to other CMOs thinking about using guerrilla tactics? Anything you wouldn’t do?

Pete: Begin with the end in mind. When doing guerrilla marketing activities think through what you want the target audience to do after the exposure: have a new opinion, call you, sign up for something, tell someone, think differently about a competitor. Once that is nailed, you then think through the specific “guerrilla” tactic. I am a firm believer there is a guerrilla marketing opportunity in every setting, just a different execution given the size, location and target audience. Also people like to be entertained, educated or introduced to others. Frame your tactics to provide one or more of these.

Stay away from doing things that could offend a large percentage of your target audience. The more conservative your target group, the more conservative your “above the clutter” idea needs to be. Focus on entertainment, education or introductions in a creative way, not necessarily a “shocking” way.


Experts in Five interviews are CMO 2.0’s way of bringing you insight and advice from marketing experts. Five questions for an expert, a five minute read for you.


Entry filed under: Experts in Five, Guerrilla Marketing, Tradeshow. Tags: , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Guerilla Marketing  |  June 2, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    I’d like to see more interview type articles, they are very helpful, thanks for posting.

  • 2. cmo20  |  June 2, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Stay tuned. We’ve got more on the way.



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