Marketing Warfare

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A summary of Al Ries & Jack Trout’s marketing bestseller
Marketing Warfare
Executive summary

Marketing warfare strategies are a type of strategies, used in business and marketing, that try to draw parallels between business and warfare, and then apply the principles of military strategy to business situations, with competing firms considered as analogous to sides in a military conflict, and market share considered as analogous to the territory which is being fought over citation needed. It is argued that, in mature, low-growth markets, and when real GDP growth is negative or low, business operates as a zero-sum game. One person’s gain is possible only at another person’s expense. Success depends on battling competitors for market share and firm's goal should be to identify and profitably satisfy customer needs.

Ries and Trout have identified interesting and useful commonalities between military strategy and marketing strategy. As in military warfare, the appropriate marketing warfare strategy depends on the firm's position relative to its opponents. In developing its strategy, the firm must objectively determine its position in the market. Once this is done, a defensive, offensive, flanking, or guerrilla strategy can be selected depending on the firm's position relative to the competition Al Ries and Jack Trout argue that marketing is war and that the marketing concept's customer-oriented philosophy is inadequate. Rather, firms would do better by becoming competitor-oriented. If the key to success were to introduce products closest to those wanted by customers, then the market leader simply would be the firm that performed the best market research. Clearly, much more is required. ➢ Al Ries & Jack Trout’s had discussed the following:-

2500 Years of War

There is much that marketers can learn from military strategy. Ries and Trout tell the story of several famous battles in history that illustrate lessons of warfare. The lessons from these famous battles illustrate the concepts of planning, management, and overpowering the opposing side. These principles are relevant not only to warfare, but also to marketing.

The Principle of Force

There's a saying that it is easier to get to the top than to stay there. Ries and Trout disagree, arguing that once at the top, a company can use the power of its leadership position to stay there. When several companies enter a new market, the one with the larger sales force is likely to become the leader. The larger company has the resources to outnumber smaller competitors. It can advertise more, perform more R&D, open more sales outlets, etc. This is not to say that smaller companies do not stand a chance. Rather, smaller companies must recognize the principle of force and attempt to win the battle by means of a superior strategy, not by creature force. Some managers may believe that they can overcome a larger competitor through superior employees. Ries and Trout maintain that while it may be possible to assemble a small group of star performers, on a larger scale the employee abilities will approach the mean. Another argument is that a better product will overcome other weaknesses. Again, Ries and Trout disagree. Once consumers already have in their minds that a product is number one, it is extremely difficult for another product, even if superior, to take over that number one place in the consumer's mind. The way to win the battle is not to recruit superior employees or to develop a superior product. Rather, Ries and Trout argue that to win the battle, a firm must successfully execute a superior strategy.

The Superiority of the Defense

The attackers require a much larger force to overcome the defensive positions.The same is true in marketing warfare. Many companies with insufficient resources have tried unsuccessfully to attack a leader. A study was made of 25 brands that held the number one position. Sixty years later, 20 of those 25 brands still held the number...
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