“…Marketing warfare will provide a strategic model for company survival in the 21st century…”
The authors’ main aim in publishing this text was to bring to the forefront the aggressive behaviours displayed in the marketing process of a firm in order to keep their brand and company number one in a competitive industry. In addition, they wanted to show how the principles used in warfare are the same as that used in marketing. As a result, firms could look at different tactics used in war and apply it to their organization.
2500 Years of War
As a prelude to what laid ahead Al Reis and Jack Trout gave a synopsis of the many battles that took place over a 2500 year period. Such an account laid a foundation for the reader to understand the authors’ analogical illustration of strategy in warfare as is in marketing. Some of the great battles mentioned included the Marathon: 490 B.C, where fifteen thousand (15, 000) Persians faced eleven thousand (11, 000) Athenians.
In the battle of Marathon, the Athenians used military tactics of working together and keeping the forces concentrated. In the end they were able to defeat the Persians despite their comprisable small numbers.
Some other important battles fought included Metaurus: 207 B.C, Quebec: 1759, Austerlitz: 1805 and Waterloo: 1815 all of which had important lessons that are relevant to war and marketing. The tactics involved includes outwitting the opponent, quick manoeuvring and planning.
The Principle of Force
“No other principle of warfare is as fundamental as the principle of force”. In this chapter the lesson intended for tuition is that of the “Principle of Force”. The authors assert that the larger of two opponents is always at an advantage.
Competition amongst companies is normally favourable for the company with the larger sales force. Thus a larger market share, like that of a larger battalion of troops, is more likely to give the holder of such a greater chance at victory; but they also concluded that companies with smaller market share should think like field commanders. “The art of war with a numerically inferior army,” said Napoleon, “consists in always having larger forces than the enemy at the point at which is to be attacked or defended”. This simply informs the reader that smaller companies must recognize the principle of force and attempt to win the battle by means of a superior strategy.
Keeping in mind that a superior strategy holds open the doors to victory or a large market share, there are two fallacies attached. They are the “better people” fallacy and the “better product” fallacy.
Some companies believe that recruiting better people in comparison to their competitors will give them a competitive advantage. Ries and Trout believe that it is possible to assemble a small group of superior people, but the bigger the company the more average will be the abilities of its employees.
One again, marketing managers tend to believe that the better product will win the battle. Once more Ries and Trout disagreed, since they believe that once customers hold a particular product in their mind as number one it is extremely difficult for another product, even if superior to take that place in the mind of the customer.
The Superiority of the Defence
Clausewitz’s second principle of warfare is the superiority of defence. Defence has proven to be the stronger form of warfare throughout military history. A well establish defence position is extremely strong and very difficult to overcome.
According to Ries and Trout, one reason the defensive form warfare is strong is the difficulty of launching a surprise attack. In marketing warfare many companies with insufficient resources have tried to attack a leader but failed.
The New Era of Competition
Marketing language has been borrowed from military strategy. For example “launch a marketing campaign” and even “promote people to higher positions”....