In Search of the Obvious | Jack Trout

Summary of: In Search of the Obvious: The Antidote for Today’s Marketing Mess
By: Jack Trout


Take a journey into the realm of marketing as we uncover the secrets hidden in ‘In Search of the Obvious: The Antidote for Today’s Marketing Mess’ by Jack Trout. Discover how leading brands are losing their identity and turning into commodities due to lack of distinct features and unique selling points. Realize the importance of adopting a simple, obvious approach and relying on common sense to propel your marketing tactics. Uncover the essential qualities of good ideas and learn why the world of marketing often overlooks and avoids them. Dive deep into the value of embracing customer perceptions, the consequences of adulterating established success, and the importance of adhering to marketing basics.

The Power of Common Sense in Marketing

In a world where brands are becoming more identical, and marketers are misdiagnosing the problem, the key is to focus on the obvious. Robert R. Updegraff’s 1916 book, ‘Obvious Adams,’ presents the concept that good ideas are simple, understandable, easy to explain, instinctive, and timely. Common sense is essential in marketing, and marketers should avoid complicating things with jargon and theories. Instead, they should focus on reality, listen to others, and filter out prejudices. By doing so, they can create unique value propositions for their products and avoid commoditization that leads to competition based solely on price.

The Obvious Truth About Business

A company’s success depends on understanding the customers’ perceptions, which dictate the results. CEOs can influence the company’s direction, but it is tough to change a customer’s mind once they have formed an opinion. Confusing research can mislead marketers and produce false assumptions. For example, marketers confuse higher product or brand awareness with increased sales, but the two are not connected. Quick research that provides a simple picture of how customers view the product and competition is productive. On the other hand, analyzing the customer’s deeper thoughts is not helpful. Wall Street can also push companies to expand, even when it does not make sense. Krispy Kreme’s over-expansion to meet Wall Street’s demand for dramatic growth led to its downfall. Thus, companies’ appreciation for the obvious starts with the CEO, who must remember that category after category is slipping into commoditization. Businesses must understand that sometimes the obvious answer is the right one.

Too Much Technology Hinders Progress

The excessive use of technology deprives us of quiet time necessary for effective thinking and memory. It also leads to infomania which can be as disruptive as smoking marijuana. The article emphasizes that marketing should focus on selling instead of entertaining.

The widespread use of technology has its advantages, but it also comes with numerous drawbacks. One major disadvantage is that it deprives us of the quiet and reflective time that is necessary for effective thinking. We are consistently bombarded by information from various sources, causing our brains to reach their capacity for processing information. According to an Australian study, people can process only up to four inputs or variables at once. If they receive more than that, their brains cannot continue processing information or recall it later.

Excessive use of technology also leads to infomania. This modern form of addiction results from excessive cellphone usage, instant messaging, and e-mail checking. Infomania can be more disrupting than smoking marijuana, and it lowers people’s IQ test scores by ten points. People also become addicted to checking e-mail and continue doing it even during weekends or after work hours. The article therefore recommends being selective in what we read and urging people to learn the art of delegation.

The book also cautions marketers against creating advertisements designed primarily for entertainment rather than sales. For buzz marketing and word-of-mouth campaigns to work, there must be credibility behind the product. Marketers can’t control what people say about their product, so if their products have negative reputations, that will become the subject of buzz marketing. In conclusion, the article emphasizes that marketing should focus on selling products instead of entertaining people, making them feel happy, or generating awareness.

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