Magazine article Marketing

The Consumer Is Not Your Enemy, So Hold Your Fire

Magazine article Marketing

The Consumer Is Not Your Enemy, So Hold Your Fire

Article excerpt

Scan down the index of almost any book on military strategy and the index of almost any book on marketing and the overlap in vocabulary is remarkable. Strategy itself, tactics, targeting, weapons, armoury, campaign, aggressiveness, operation, concentration of forces: you'll find them all in both. Sir Basil H. Liddell Hart could as well be a visiting professor of marketing.

It's not, of course, surprising. Marketing is a fiercely competitive business; there's nothing more competitive than war; and wars have been at it a lot longer. But wars are never confused about the identity of their enemies; and marketing, it seems, sometimes is.

I'm not quite sure when I first heard the phrase about 'getting in under the radar', but it's round quite a lot at the moment.

If this metaphor means anything, it must mean that marketing professionals see their job a bit like this. There are regiments of people out there with just one thing in common: they are not buying the product and are therefore the enemy. They are being bombarded (note 'bombarded') by tens of thousands of commercial messages every day before breakfast and have learned how to dodge them. They have become increasingly media-savvy and icon-literate and can therefore spot our post-modern ironies at a hundred paces and will dismiss our new compassionate positioning with a toss of the ponytail. So the only way to win, the argument goes, is to devise new and devilishly cunning weaponry that will outwit the target group's defensive mechanism by coming in under the radar. …

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