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TECH TALK: Good Books: The Marketing Playbook

May 3rd, 2005 · No Comments

The next two books we will discuss are about two dimensions of business marketing and presentations. Let us begin with the book on marketing. The Marketing Playbook by John Zagula and Richard Tong, both of whom honed their skills selling Microsoft Windows and Office and are now venture capitalists at Ignition Partners. The book boils marketing down to five plays for capturing and keeping the lead in any market. It offers a vocabulary for marketing.

Jack Covert reviewed the book for 800-CEO-Blog:

There are two basic types of business books – descriptive and prescriptive. I gravitate toward the prescriptive. I like books that give 10 ways to solve a problem. Many business book readers are the same. They want a “how to” book to get them started. The Marketing Playbook by John Zagula and Richard Tong fits into this category perfectly.

While at Microsoft, the authors noticed patterns in the marketing plans the company was implementing. The main thing was there weren’t many variations to the plans. In the book, they describe five “marketing plays” that will works for any situation. They have given them easy to remember names (Drag Race, Stealth, Best of Both, High-Low, and Platform). They describe in detail how to run each play, how to identify which play to run, and what play to run if the current one starts to fail.

Publishers Weekly wrote about the book (via Amazon):

This engaging primer contends that all marketing campaigns can be boiled down to five basic strategies, a typology distilled from the authors experience as marketing executives at Microsoft and as venture capitalists. The “plays,” schematized with football diagrams, are: the “drag race,” in which your product squares off against a single competitor in an attention-getting battle for market dominance; the “platform play” (Microsofts fort), in which your product becomes the essential infrastructure for an entire industry ( la Windows); the “stealth play,” in which you go after markets ignored by larger competitors; the “best of both” play, in which your breakthrough product becomes all things to all men; and the “high-low” play, in which you pit both your deluxe high-end product line and your cheapo down-market line against a rivals mediocre compromise offering.

There is a companion blog which the authors have created which offers continuing insights on marketing. This is a book you will find yourself returning to often because it helps provide a framework for thinking about the marketplace and competition. Coming up with a winning strategy requires insights about the situation out there along with an understanding of a products strengths. The Marketing Playbook offers a language to discuss with others in the team on how one should attack the market. As such, it is a book which will quickly become a ready-reference for all in marketing and allied functions.

Tomorrow: The Marketing Playbook (continued)


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