The New Era of Competition

Jun 6th, 2003 by Tony in Marketing Warfare

Aggressiveness alone is not the mark of a good military strategy. Especially aggressiveness as represented by the “more” school of management. More product, more sales people, more meetings, more advertising, more hard work.

Especially more hard work. Somehow we feel better about success if we have to work hard to achieve it. So we schedule more meetings, more reports, more memos, more management reviews.

Yet military history teaches the reverse. A single-minded commitment to winning the battle on effort alone usually dissolves into defeat. The military commander that lets his armies get bogged down in a hand-to-hand slugging match is usually defeated.

Much better are quick, lightning-like strokes that depend more on timing than muscle. (What the Germans call blitzkrieg). Not that muscle, or the principle of force, is not important. Far from it. But unless an attack is properly planned, you throw away your advantage if you let the battle degenerate into a war of attrition. Whenever you hear your commander say “We have to redouble our efforts,” you know you’re listening to a loser talk.

— Al Ries and Jack Trout, Marketing Warfare, Chapter 4

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