Magazine article Marketing

The Key to Successful Strategy Is Finding a Solid Starting Point

Magazine article Marketing

The Key to Successful Strategy Is Finding a Solid Starting Point

Article excerpt

There is an alarming tendency propagate image over substance

A month ago I compared military decisions with marketing decisions and pointed out similarities (Marketing, June 21). Marketing directors are paid for their strategic judgment.

There is an old military principle indeed it is probably the first thing you are taught as an officer -- that you should never start a battle unless your start line is secure.

This means simply that where you assemble your troops for the advance and where you site your artillery or strategic reserves must be safe and, as far as possible, immune from attack.

The reason is obvious: if any of these pieces are neutralised then your whole plan will fail.

How many marketing plans fail for this reason? Very often when you are assigned as a marketing director your start line is fatally flawed. Someone pointed out to me recently that the marketing problem at a retail giant may not lie with marketing, but with trading. Or, put simply, does the customer want what is in the shops or not? It is relatively simple to market what will be successful, but rather more difficult to market what will not.

This dilemma is not confined to retailers. Older readers may remember that Great Britain once had a flourishing industry that made motorcycles. The brand names were Matchless and Triumph. In the 70s the then Trade Secretary propped up Norton Villiers Triumph with taxpayers' money, while the work force continued to make the bikes that they wished to make and nobody chose to buy. Guess what happened?

There is an alarming tendency today to propagate image over, and often at the expense, of substance. …

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