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In Search of the Obvious: The Antidote for Today's Marketing Mess

Jack Trout

Retail Price: $27.95
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Format: Hardcover, 224pp.
ISBN: 9780470288597
Publisher: Wiley
Pub. Date: October 13, 2008

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

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.

The search for any marketing strategy is the search for the obvious.

We are in an era of killer competition. Category after category is perceived as a commodity. This fact is the central reason the critically important function of marketing is such a mess. It's also why the average chief marketing officer barely lasts beyond two years in the job.

In this book, marketing guru Jack Trout clears up the confusion that surrounds the marketing profession. Instead of focusing on segmentation or customer retention or search engine optimization or data mining, marketers should be searching for that simple, obvious differentiating idea. Marketers not looking for the obvious had better have a very low price.

This search should begin with what Trout considers the best book ever written on marketing—even though it was published in 1916 and isn't about marketing. Entitled Obvious Adams: The Story of a Successful Business Man, it lays out the five tests of an obvious idea that will lead you to the right marketing strategy for any product.

But In Search of the Obvious goes beyond the obvious by laying out what gets in the way of this search. Things like the Internet, advertising people, marketing people, Wall Street, research, even the future. These are all huge distractions that keep marketers from their most important task: differentiating their products.

To bring these principles for finding the obvious to life, Trout finds obvious solutions to today's troubles for the likes of GM, Coke, Wal-Mart, newspapers, and the bewildering beer business. The fundamental problem is that effective marketing is both complicated and extremely simple—so simple that professional marketers overlook the most obvious and effective ideas entirely, in an attempt to be clever or creative. But if an idea is obvious to you, it will be obvious to your customers—which is why it will work.

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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.

Table of Contents

In Search of the Obvious1
What Gets in the Way of the Obvious11
The Internet Can Be an Obvious Problem25
Advertising People Can Be an Obvious Problem39
Marketing People Can Be an Obvious Problem57
An Obvious Look at the Marketing Process67
Some Help in That Search for the Obvious93
You Must Be Aware of Some Obvious Ground Rules129
Some Observations about Obvious Marketing Problems151
10 The Future Is Never Obvious187

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Obvious Adams
Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition


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