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].