In my review of
Summary: Marketing Warfare: Review and Analysis of Ries and Trout’s Book
posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave it 4 Stars.
Here is my review.
How military strategy can be used in business
It’s many years since I read the full book but it’s one I’ve been intending to go back to and review. When I saw this summary available through my kindle unlimited subscription, it instantly appealed.
Just as armies fight over territories and the people in them, businesses fight over customers. The methods of waging war have changed dramatically over the centuries while the strategies have remained constant.
The book identifies four main types of warfare:
1) defensive – to be used by the biggest business
2) offensive – to be used by the second and third placed businesses
3) flanking strategies – to be used by the next three businesses
4) guerrilla – to be used by everyone else
That allocation of strategy to business ranking isn’t a firm rule but it is a useful guide to think through the suitability of an existing or planned strategy or an indication of the approach to follow if you’re still in the planning stage.
I can’t remember a summary where I gave highlighted so much and for two thirds of the time, I thought I was heading towards five stars. Two things cost it a star
1) The book is old and when it came to talking through the examples from the business world, I was very conscious the story stopped more than 30 years ago. Not terrible for the cola war or the burger war but the computer war was still only a skirmish back then. It ended as the IBM PC was under attack by the clones. There’s no mention of Microsoft or Intel, the two winners of that battle who weren’t even competing. No mention of Apple or the Internet with Google and Facebook.
2) I thought the was some confusion between strategy and tactics at the end and how they fit together.
Is the military analogy suitable for business? I think it is helpful but it can be carried too far. The objective is to win customers and their ongoing loyalty and to do it at a profit, it’s not to necessarily defeat competitors and then destroy them.