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. To illustrate their point, Ries and Trout compare marketing to a football game. If a team simply identifies the goal line and moves the ball towards it without regard to the competing team, they most likely will be blocked in their effort. To win the game, the team must focus its efforts on outwitting, outflanking, or over-powering the other side.

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Implementing marketing warfare strategies is the perfect addition to your overall marketing plans and can help to reshape your standing within an industry. Developed in by Al Ries and Jack Trout considered two of the godfathers of marketing , the theory focuses less on customer-oriented campaigns and more on maximizing all areas of a business towards the goal of outshining others.

The Four Strategies There are four strategies used in marketing warfare. Each strategy has a specific purpose and can be adopted based on your needs: Defensive — Most commonly used by the market leader to protect their position. Corresponding tactics include campaign efforts to shift consumer perception closer to their brand and away from other competitors. Even if it lacks the resources to compete directly with the market leader, offensive tactics can cause disruption to defensive brands.

Flanking — Companies who employ the Flanking strategy are attempting to capture territory not yet occupied by the market leader. This may include introducing a lower priced alternative, more personalized service, or niche offerings within the market. Guerrilla — Focuses on creativity and making a statement over the actual campaign costs or traditionalism. Guerrilla tactics are used to get people talking about a brand and create awareness.

This is accomplished through Ambush , Stealth , or Viral marketing efforts. The strategy you choose to incorporate will depend on the size of your business, industry type, and what works best for your target market. Additionally, you may need to use one, two, or all of these at different times throughout your business.

Do study the moves of your competitors closely. Take a closer look at their website, promotions, products, social media, pricing, branding and content— analyze the entire package of what they are offering so you can figure out how to do it better. Do speak to the right market. Businesses using a flanking strategy find this particularly challenging because it requires them to consider markets they may have never sought out in the past.

Do focus on the added value your product s or brand creates: Essential for market differentiation when using offensive warfare , highlighting what you do better than the market leader can disrupt perception in the minds of many customers and show them they have a different choice.

Do set clear measurements of achievement. Be sure to start with the end in sight. Engaging in competitive warfare without a bigger plan may deem not very useful without clear goals.

Guerrilla warfare campaigns have even been used by some of the most traditional brands including KitKat and Sony. The entire concept is about making a statement with your brand more than following the standard rules of advertising. Think: Dare to be daring. Learn who your target market is, how this campaign can make the most impact on them, then properly execute one of the four strategies accordingly.

This is not an opportunity to make personal attacks on the owners of competitor brands or publicly take unnecessary shots at their brand or efforts. Already tried running a marketing warfare campaign in your business?

Which strategy did you use and what was the end result? Leave a comment below. Want more posts like this one? Subscribe to the VR Buzz for weekly marketing tips and advice delivered straight to your inbox. All rights reserved.


The Dos and Don’ts of Marketing Warfare

But when I read the book Marketing Warfare, I came to realize that Jack Trout also focused the most on differentiation and taking the niche areas to achieve before going and attacking the Industry Leader Organization. I guess in that the name "Marketing Warfare" was a bit misleading to me. I would recommend this book for the people who are trying to get an insight into how the marketing world looks like and also the way a marketing manager should be thinking. True that marketing tactics of previous centuries may not have survived today, but the argument the authors make is that military tactics are a fair comparison no spoilers, but the reason they give sounds perfectly logical. If you enjoy the topic of History specifically, military and want to know more about Marketing, this is an easy enough of a read and a Simply one of my favourite marketing books, and one that has completed changed my perspective on what it takes to understand the market. If you enjoy the topic of History specifically, military and want to know more about Marketing, this is an easy enough of a read and a great way to get your feet wet.


Jack Trout


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