Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Marketing is Like Warfare According to These Authors - Book Review

Al Ries and Jack Trout Strike Go Nuclear with This Marketing Book.  

If you liked Positioning, your going to love
Marketing Warfare, written by Al Ries and Jack Trout. They are not the first to suggest that marketing strategies and terms in the modern world of business can be compared to battle strategies and terms from history. However, they have taken the details of the idea to a new level, and have related their hypothesis to various product wars from the past.

Ries and Trout start from the basis that in order to successfully win the marketing war, entrepreneurs need to shift their efforts from being “customer-oriented” to “competitor-oriented.”

In the aftermath of World War II, the leading companies became customer-oriented.  The marketing expert was in charge and the prime minister was marketing research.  But today every company is customer-oriented.  Knowing what the customer wants isn’t too helpful if a dozen other companies are already serving the same customer’s wants.  American Motors’s problem is not the customer.  American Motors’s problem is General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and the imports.  To become successful today, a company must become competitor-oriented.  It must look for weak points in the positions of its competitors and then launch marketing attacks against those weak points.

Ries and Trout go on to illustrate real marketing stories of success utilizing this tactic.  Although this book was published in 1986, it remains a favorite among business people specifically in the marketing business, but it’s principles can also be applied to marketing for any company.  

The chapters briefly described below demonstrate how this book is not written like a business textbook; rather, it approaches the issues the way you, the business person, would expect them to be addressed: in a practical and intriguing way.

  • Marketing is war: Introduction to the concepts of warfare strategies and how that can be applied to marketing.
  • 2500 years of war: Introducing marketing people to some of the world’s most historic battles.
  • The principle of force: The principle of big fish eating little fish, big companies eating small companies.
  • The superiority of the defense: No military commander would seek to battle an opponent with the odds stacked against him, and how this applies to business marketing today. 
  • The new era of competition: Learning the language and strategies from the military.
  • The nature of the battleground: Marketing battles aren’t fought on an actual battlefield, but in the minds of the prospect.
  • The strategic square: There are four ways to fight a war, and knowing which type of warfare to fight is the most important decision to be made.
  • Principles of defensive warfare: Defensive strategy is for a marketing leader, with 3 key principles to be followed.
  • Principles of offensive warfare: The primary principle in this approach is to find the weakness in the leader’s strength and then attack at that very point.
  • Principles of flanking warfare: The most successful marketing results have been a result of flanking moves.
  • Principles of guerilla warfare: How small companies can survive among the giant competitors.
  • The cola war: A closer look at the Pepsi vs. Coke strategies.
  • The beer war: The process of consolidation in the beer business, and how smaller breweries should be concentrating their forces together. 
  • The burger war: Examining the marketing warfare between McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King.
  • The computer war: How big name computer companies can fail when trying to fight a battleground they don’t own.
  • Strategy and tactics: Strategy should follow tactics and start from the bottom up, not from the top down.
  • The marketing general: The key attributes for marketing generals include flexibility, mental courage, and boldness.

What is your marketing strategy?
Is it working? 
Are you getting the results you want 
Are you in need of a better "battle" plan?  

You will also want to read How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success.

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