The authors have tricked up this pedestrian book on how companies outmaneuver their competition by modeling it on von...

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MARKETING WARFARE

The authors have tricked up this pedestrian book on how companies outmaneuver their competition by modeling it on von Clausewitz's 1832 treatise On War. Forget customer surveys and what customers think they want: go after your competition as though you are conducting a military campaign. Use defensive warfare if you are on the ""high terrain,"" i.e., the industry leader, where often ""the best defensive strategy is to attack youself.' What does this mean? Translated, like IBM, you periodically come out with product improvements that make your old line obsolete. Second-and third-ranking companies should use offensive warfare. Here, set your sights on the industry leader and mass all your resources to attack at the weakest point. Avis, for instance, went after Hertz by emphasizing that it provided better service. They once had the slogan: ""Rent from Avis. The line at our counter is shorter."" Companies in the middle should use ""flanking warfare."" This may mean creating entirely new products: minicomputers or ""Lite"" beer, for example. Sometimes underpricing works (so long as the competition can't easily meet your lower price). Or you can resort to gimmickry: try Orville Redenbacher's ""Gourmet Popping Corn"" at more than double the cost of the leading brand. Then there's guerrilla warfare for the companies on the bottom, but this is so similar to flanking warfare it can be skipped here. Some executives might be interested in the authors' detailed histories of corporate wars in the cola, beer, burger and computer industries. Otherwise, a contrived form of combat.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1985

ISBN: 0070527261

Page Count: -

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1985