Sun Tzu "The Art of War"

I'll admit I never thought I would read this book. We've all heard it quoted in movies - (Bud Fox to Gordon Gekko in Wall Street) but actually reading it... That's another thing all together.

What could this book possibly have to say about Marketing, Sales, Lead Generation, or Business Development? How does it apply to The Allied Group - or any other business in 2011? 

Not surprising, was the valuable insights into Operational concepts, Financial Implications, and the need for constant adaptation.

So - what can we learn in Sales and Marketing 2300 years after Sun Tzu wrote his blog:

"War is a grave concern of the state; it must be studied... the 5 factors are moral influence, weather, terrain, command and doctrine..."

  • Moral Influence: The people (sales, marketing, finance, operations) must be in harmony with the leaders.
  • Weather: The interaction of natural forces that affect the conduct of operations in accordance with the season. A direct mail campaign for snow blowers in July ???
  • Terrain: Whether the ground is traversed with ease or difficulty, whether it is open or constricted, and the chances of life and death. If closing the sale requires a live demo - will the product travel well, can sales do the demo, are the prospects near each other, are there tariff or tax implications that will complicate the deal?
  • Command: The General's qualities of wisdom, sincerity, humanity, courage and strictness. I liked all of the qualities of a Sales and Marketing VP right up till "strictness." Who wouldn't love a boss that was wise, sincere, humane and had the courage to trynew things....and we all know that no one likes a boss without a spine. 
  • Doctrine: organization, control, assignment of appropriate ranks, regulation of supply routes, the provision of items.  What a waste if Marketing designs a cool new campaign - but it mails late because no one funded the USPS escrow account... or Sales has a killer blitz but operations can't keep up with the incoming requests...
  • There is no General who has not heard of these five matters. Those who master them will win, those who don't are defeated.  Nothing new under the sun - we all know the right way to manage our Sales and Marketing efforts... 

    So how do we do it ?
  1. Invest in an Integrated Marketing Communications Campaign
    1. Research
    2. Data Appending
    3. One to One Communication
    4. Lead Generation
    5. Stealth Programs
    6. Nurture Marketing
    7. Customer Acquisition
    8. Loyalty and Rewards
    9. Cross Selling
    10.   Referrals


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