Relevance of understanding the principles of warfare for corporations

Many companies are still overlooking the essential strategies that they should follow. Like when to launch a new brand? As market leader it should be ok, as runner up it is questionable!


To be successful today, a company must become competitor oriented. It must look for weak points in the positions of its competitors and then launch marketing attacks against those weak points. Understanding the strength and weaknesses of your competitors becomes then a matter of life and death. Strategic planning will become more and more important. Companies will have to learn how to attack and to flank their competitors, how to defend their positions, and how and when to wage guerrilla warfare. They will need better intelligence on how to anticipate competitive moves. On the personal level, successful marketing people will have to exhibit many of the same virtues that make a great military general; courage, loyalty and perseverance. In war you win by outwitting, outflanking and overpowering the enemy. The territory you take is only a reflection of your ability to do these things right.


Why would marketing be different?


The Four Strategic options in the competitive battlefield

1. Defensive marketing warfare for Market leaders.

a. Only the market leader should consider playing defensive
b. The best defensive strategy is the courage to attack yourself
c. Strong competitive moves should always be blocked


2. Offensive marketing warfare for no.2 companies.

a. The main consideration is the strength of the leader’s position
b. Fins a weakness in the leader’s strength and attack at that point
c. launch the attack as narrow a front as possible


3. Flanking marketing warfare for smaller companies.

a. A good flanking strategy must be made into uncontested area
b. Tactical surprise ought to be an important element of the plan
c. The pursuit is as critical as the attack itself


4. Guerrilla marketing warfare for local or regional companies.

a. Find a segment of the market small enough to defend
b. No matter how successful you become, never act like the leader
c. Be prepared to bug-out at a moment’s notice


Military ground rules according to von Clausewitz and Sun Ztu

  • Where absolute superiority is not attainable, you must produce a relative one at the decisive point by making skillful use of what you have.
  • Many assume that half the efforts can be effective. A small jump is easier than a large one, but no one wishing to cross a wide ditch would cross half of it first.
  • Keep the forces concentrated in an overpowering mass.
  • The fundamental idea. Always to be aimed at before all and as far possible.
    The greatest possible number of troops should be brought into action at the decisive point.
  • The defensive form of war is in itself stronger then the offensive.
    Some statesmen and generals try to avoid the decisive battle. History has destroyed this illusion.
  • It is from the character of our adversary’s position that we can draw conclusions as to his designs and will therefore act accordingly.
  • The first, the supreme, the most far reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into something that is alien to its nature.
  • The statesman who, seeing war inevitable, hesitates to strike first is guilty of a crime against his country.
  • Pursuit is a second act of the victory, in many cases more important then the first.
    If the enemy advances we retreat. The enemy camps, we harass. the enemy tires, we attack. The enemy retreats, we pursue (Mao).
  • Historical examples provide the best kind of proof in the empirical sciences. This is particularly true of the art of war.
  • Let us not hear of generals who conquer without bloodshed. If a bloody slaughter is a horrible sight, then it is ground for paying more respect to war.
  • In such things as war the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst.
  • We fall into error if we attribute to strategy a power independent of tactical results.
  • Out of a thousand men who are remarkable, some for mind, others for boldness or strength of will, perhaps not one will combine in himself all those qualities which are required to raise a man above mediocrity in a career of a general.