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This is the first book that states the obvious: Marketing is a mess. Marketing guru Jack Trout intends to make a lot of people, who made the mess, very uncomfortable:
Advertisers are criticized as people who look for the creative and edgy, not the obvious. They will not be happy.
Marketing people are criticized for getting hopelessly entangled in corporate egos and complicated projects. They will not be happy.
Research people are criticized for generating more confusion than clarity. They will not be happy.
Some big companies are criticized for their ill-fated marketing programs or lack of proper strategy. They will not be happy.
Wall Street is criticized for putting too much emphasis on growth that is unnecessary and can be destructive to a brand. They will just ignore this criticism and continue trying to make as much money as they can.
But this is a book not written to make people happy but to explain to marketers what their real problem is. Only then will they begin to look for the obvious solutions that will separate their products from their competitors in a way that is equally obvious to customers. All this comes with no jargon, no numbers, no complexity, and a great deal of common sense.
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About the Author
Jack Trout is President of Trout Partners, one of the most prestigious marketing firms in the United States, with offices in thirteen countries. His client list includes Southwest Airlines, IBM, Merrill Lynch, Sears, and the U.S. State Department. He is the author of several marketing classics, including Differentiate or Die, Second Edition, from Wiley. For more information, please visit www.TroutandPartners.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
For close to three decades now, Jack Trout has been at the helm of the marketing wheel. Ever since the first 'Positioning' article was published in 'The Industrial Age' magazine in 70s, Trout's counsel to the marketers has pretty much remained consistent. His invariable emphasis on the importance of 'perceptions' and 'focus' in the world of marketing is well-recognized now. In addition, he has always been a great advocate of 'simple and obvious' ideas as well. Pick up any previous book of his - 'Strategy', 'Differentiate of die', 'The power of simplicity', 'Positioning' - and you are guaranteed to find at least one chapter dedicated to the power, the obvious ideas command in this over-communicated world. The only problem, however, is that marketers around the world still seem to be a bit too creativity-bound and much of it at the expense of common sense. Trout's books, generally, draw the flak from creative and research folks as the latter are always his target for being at the center of many ill-conceived marketing programs. Jack Trout apparently got the inspiration for ''In search of the Obvious: The Antidote for today's Marketing mess' from another book called 'Obvious Adams: The Story of a Successful Businessman' written by Robert R. Updegraff* in year 1916. In addition to being a fitting tribute to Robert R. Updegraff's work, 'In Search of the Obvious' is also an apt supplement to Trout's previous books. Trout keeps things pretty simple and jargon-less in his latest book; something which has been his hallmark for years now. He hits the ground running and delineates the CEO's role as that of a brand custodian. He asserts that unlike old times when CEOs/CMOs would always pass under the radar, these days they are the first to be sent to the guillotine. He also advises executives to resist information overload and leverage their commonsense, instead. Trout uses a number of case-studies from his consulting career to drive home the point that marketing battles are still being fought in the minds, quite contrary to what many red-blooded marketers tend to think. He warns brands against donning too many hats and asks executives for devising a coherent, long-term marketing direction.
Veteran marketer Jack Trout successfully manages to inject new material while belaboring the obvious. To do well, he says, marketers must go back to the basics, even though it's popular to chase trends and be cute. Marketers are concerned about fancy strategies, high-tech gadgets, quantitative research, entertaining ads and faddish consultants - all a waste of time. Trout says to go back to the core of marketing. Focus on the obvious. That's what customers really want. What you really need to know is right in front of you, not at the bottom of the data mine. Although Trout pounds away at his thesis, getAbstract finds his book enjoyably informative. He may sometimes seem like a scolding grandfather, but he has clear advice for marketers: Modern society is too complex, and complexity does not help you sell. Instead, he says, marketers should try common sense. It couldn't hurt.
I've decided to up my game with respect to understanding marketing and advertising functions and I'm glad I found this book. First, I got a couple of useful ideas for setting my marketing and advertising budget, and more importantly, a firm sense of what I have a right to expect from any professional help that I might retain. "In search of the Obvious" has convinced me that creative, aesthetic, oblique or overly clever approaches must always subordinate to clear and compelling presentations. This is a hard thing to do if you are naturally attracted to aesthetic, oblique and clever. The importance of correct market positioning (you can't go up-market) and anticipation of competitors reactions is discussed with useful, sticky examples. This is not a comprehensive book about marketing channels. It's about getting your marketing message right. Good book. Worth the money.