Bottom-Up Marketing

by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Tactics should dictate marketing strategy.  While this may sound backward, the authors explain why it makes sense.

The tactical battle takes place in the consumer’s mind. Ries and Trout define a marketing tactic as “a competitive mental angle.”

Strategy is internally focused: how to organize the company to take advantage of the tactical opportunity.

Planning is bottom-up, but execution is top-down. Once you have a coherent marketing direction—a strategy—don’t let individual players change it.

The authors explain that the best ideas are obvious.  “They’re best because they quickly connect with customers and prospects. They can be implemented in the mind with minimal investment.”

Ries and Trout caution that a five-year plan makes no sense because you can’t predict what your competitors will do. “To keep strategy on track, you must have lines of communication to the front. Most top managers are screened from what’s really happening. The best way to avoid that is to be down on the front yourself.”

Ries, Al., and Jack Trout. Bottom-up Marketing. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989. Buy from

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