Alan Derrick (fourth from right) believes in guerrilla marketing, but there’s nothing covert about his approach. Quite the opposite, it’s right out there in the open. But what he calls “circle of influence” marketing is based on the philosophy of guerrilla marketing, which takes its name because of its focus, accuracy, and—at least in this case—success.

Derrick takes the majority of his 13-year-old company’s marketing budget and focuses it on people who are already close to the company—past clients, people they refer. Then, he takes a smaller percentage and spends it on people who should be close to the company—those who fit the profile of a preferred customer. After that, the roughly 10 percent of the budget that’s left over goes to “shotgun” marketing, items such as a newsletter or other direct mail sent to targeted ZIP codes.

Of course to make this approach work, Derrick has to know at whom he’s aiming. He does: empty nesters who are at or near retirement, have extra assets, and are looking forward to at least another 10 to 15 years in their house. With the baby boomers moving into this niche by the millions, Derrick’s approach appears to be bulletproof.