In Marketing Warfare Al Ries and Jack Trout argue that marketing is war and that the marketing concept is customer-oriented philosophy is insufficient. Rather, the organization would do enhanced by becoming competitor-oriented. If the key to achievement were to introduce products closest to those wanted by customers, then the market leader only would be the firm that performed the best market research. Clearly, much more is necessary. Marketers can learn much from military strategy. Ries and Trout tell the story of numerous famous battles in history that illustrate lessons of warfare. The ideas from these famous battles illustrate the concepts of planning, maneuvering, and overpowering the opposing side. These principles are related not only to warfare but also to marketing.
A larger vehicle has an advantage over a smaller vehicle in a collision. When several companies enter a new market, the one with the larger sales force is expected to become the leader. The larger company has the funds 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 distinguish the principle of force and attempt to win the battle by means of a superior strategy, not by brute force. The way to win the battle is not to employ superior employees or to develop a superior product. Rather, Ries and Trout argue that to win the battle, a firm must effectively execute a superior strategy. In marketing, a firm achieves victory through a smarter strategy, not by consuming longer hours with meetings, reports, memos, and management reviews. When management declares that it is time to “redouble our efforts”, then the marketing battle has turned to hand-to-hand combat and is possible to end in defeat.
A defensive strategy is appropriate for the market leader. Ries and Trout outline three basic principles of defensive marketing warfare:
The market leader only should pursue defensive strategies. It is self-defeating for a firm to pretend that it is the market leader for the reason strategy selection. The market leader in the firm who has achieves that position in the mind of the consumer.
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