Jack Trout is one of the world's foremost marketing strategists. He pioneered the concept of “positioning” as a critical component of business strategy.

Trout is the author of five marketing bestsellers and consultant to many leading organizations across all industries. His most recent book, A Genie's Wisdom, is a concise, insightful marketing manual for CEOs. Understanding that all leaders today face increasing pressure from press coverage, independent boards, Wall Street analysts and a distrustful public, Trout wrote the book as a top management survival guide.

Although marketing is rarely a priority on the CEO's agenda today and few know what makes good marketing, Trout shows leaders of all organizations how marketing must be the centerpiece of the business strategy. I recently talked to him by phone to get his suggestions about how we marketers can educate our CEOs about marketing as a critical driver of an organization's success.

Young: Why did you write The Genie's Wisdom?

Trout: It evolved from the book I wrote just prior to that, Big Brands, Big Trouble, where I asked why are big brands like AT&T, General Motors and Levis crashing all around us? What is going on? Why do we have all this trouble?

When you spend as much time hanging around these joints as I have over the years, [you learn that] the top management in many of these companies hasn't a clue. From a marketing strategy point of view, very few CEOs know what to do. [Louis] Gerstner knew what to do at IBM, and that's why he was able to pull IBM around. But most of these guys have no idea, because they're not trained [as marketers].

They could be accounting people, they could be financial people, they could be engineering people, they could be whatever, but very few CEOs of these disastrous companies were marketing people. So, I wrote a book to help someone in a hurry quickly get a sense of what marketing is all about.

Young: How can we involve the CEO in marketing?

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Roy Young is coauthor of Marketing Champions: Practical Strategies for Improving Marketing's Power, Influence and Business Impact. For more information about the book, go to www.marketingchamps.com or order at Amazon.