War In The Boardroom: Why Left-Brain Management and Right-Brain Marketing Don't See Eye-to-Eye--and What to Do About It Hardcover – Bargain Price, Feb 13 2009
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“[M]arketing folks should learn to speak in left-brain terminology. The book is a good place to start lessons. Examples are well-explained and down-to-earth. As for managers, even the most logical and analytical types should be able to see the reasoning behind ‘marketing sense.’” (USA Today )
“The Rieses are persuasive in their argument.... Entertaining and enlightening, this book has much for executives and managers at all levels to ponder.” (Publishers Weekly )
“[The Rieses’] engaging arguments are presented in a simple-to-read format, and the examples are persuasive.” (Harvard Business Review )
About the Author
Al Ries and his daughter and business partner Laura Ries are two of the world's best-known marketing consultants, and their firm, Ries & Ries, works with many Fortune 500 companies. They are the authors of The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding and The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, which was a Wall Street Journal and a BusinessWeek bestseller, and, most recently, The Origin of Brands. Al was recently named one of the Top 10 Business Gurus by the Marketing Executives Networking Group. Laura is a frequent television commentator and has appeared on the Fox News and Fox Business Channels, CNN, CNBC, PBS, ABC, CBS, and others. Their Web site (Ries.com) has some simple tests that will help you determine whether you are a left brainer or a right brainer.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
These two authors know how to write. There's not a dull page to be found. Instead, the book overflows with dozens of lively, real-world examples clearly demonstrating the difference between management and marketing -- and where right-brainers or left-brainers have taken their brands for better or worse. And the authors aren't shy about assessing and making predictions about some of today's marquee brands such as Google and Amazon. It's an interesting, fun read.
More literal-minded readers -- left-brainers -- might be disappointed that final chapters aren't devoted to by-the-numbers directions on what to do about the problems of divided brains in the boardroom. But right-brainers -- in fact anybody who pays attention -- will instantly understand that every chapter in the book and the myriad examples provide the case studies on what works and what doesn't work.
If you're on the management side, read and heed. And if you're on the marketing side do as the authors suggest and use the well-written case histories as analogies to help educate top management and sell your concepts.
I give this book a strong 3 stars. The message was good and it should be read by Marketers and Sales. The message stating the companies should stay focused and not stray away from their direction is absolutely correct. BUT there were several inherent flaws in this message and the way this book was written:
1. I thought it was presumptuous the way they made the Management look like idiots and the markets always being right. As someone working in the international hi-tech market for 20 years, this couldn't be further from the truth. Without going into details, Marketers do not always see the big picture and get caught up in the message and not the reality. Products are sold based on reality and events on the ground. Marketers are usually disconnected from end customers, specific regions and distribution channels. This book did not touch about any of those specifics.
2. The book only focused on Fortune 500 companies. What about us who work in smaller companies? The book totally ignored us.
3. Darwin theory - Darwin's theory is so true with species as it is with businesses. A company that is too focused can make itself extinct when the environment changes or shifts. They brought the example of Blackberry but the book was unable to see its future failure. They were so focused on business handsets that they totally over looked the smart phone and now with the environment changing they are about to become extinct. Here Management can play a great role of having the ability to steer a company when the market shifts or changes. The book totally ignores this fact.
4. Really did not focus on hi tech. There were too many car company examples.
Besides that, the book is written clear and easy to comprehend and there are many good lessons to be learned.
Since then Al Ries has teamed up with his daughter Laura and written a number of other books - mostly on the same topic. They write about branding and positioning.
I do not like the title as I think most of the battles they talk about - management vs marketing actually take place outside the boardroom.
The branding rules they talk about are simple and logical. Focus on one thing. Do not try to be everything to everybody. Be dominant in a category. One brand - one category (so don't try to sell Crest soap). I love the logic in it but I still find it hard to focus.
The thesis of the book is left brained people (logic based - who they say are management) conflict with right brained people (intuition based - who they say are marketing). Management wants to extend the brand, marketing knows better.
It is all about perception. It may not even be current sales that determine how strong a brand is, it is what the customers think of the brand that will create future strength. It is not so much about the product which is often the sole focus of management.
I am a strong believer in much of what the Ries have to say and suggest everyone should read a few of their books. I would suggest starting with one of their earlier books. Their views on branding and positioning are right on.
There are a couple of pages at the end devoted to counseling marketeers ("marketing soldiers") on how to get through to 'management' - basically to not "give up the fight."
On the other hand, the case studies are delivered well and are fascinating; I will probably recommend the book to some of my marketing and agency clients (I'm a business coach) for that reason - however, I will also caution them about the positional approach and us vs. them mentality.
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