It’s difficult to briefly describe Jack Trout. He is president of Trout & Partners, one of the most prestigious marketing firms with offices in 23 countries. The firm has done work for AT&T, IBM, Burger King, Xerox, Lotus, Ericsson, Tetra Pak, Repsol, Hewlett-Packard and other Fortune 500 companies. Trout is one of the founders and pioneers of positioning theory, and also marketing warfare theory. He wrote several books about marketing, including the classic “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind”.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Not much to tell. Been around the world many times. Been in the strategy business for many years. Politics is a hobby. Have a lot of children and grandchildren.
What motivates you to write books about marketing strategies?
Trying to make the business world a smarter place.
From your books, we learn that differentiation is key. How do you make sure that differentiation is still relevant and meaningful to the product/service?
You have to use your point of difference to set up a benefit for your product or service. Sometimes you have to improve your benefit. Gillette’s benefit is a close shave. But they keep making it closer.
How do you try to decipher and understand the consumers’ emotions and behaviours?
Use basic psychology to understand how the mind works. Positioning is based on psychology and the human condition.
Some brands are very similar to each other, for instance, coffee brands. How do you make sure you highlight exactly that what is special about the brand you’re selling?
Your assignment is to figure out that point of difference and dramatize it.
Can you still sell bad products with good marketing?
Not for very long. Word gets around and there are too many alternatives.
We heard a lot of opinions from creative people at advertising agencies, but from you, as marketing strategist, what do you believe makes a great advertisement?
A great ad takes your point of difference and does a good job of dramatizing it.