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This Author: Jack Trout
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Differentiate or Die by Jack Trout

Differentiate or Die

by Jack Trout

Title Details

Unabridged Edition
Running Time
6 Hrs. 14 Min.
User Rating
  4.5  Stars Based on 4 ratings
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In today's ultra-competitive world, the average supermarket has 40,000 brand items on its shelves. Car shoppers can wander through the showrooms of over 20 automobile makers. For marketers, differentiating products today is more challenging than at any time in history - yet it remains at the heart of successful marketing. More importantly, it remains the key to a company's survival.

In Differentiate or Die, best selling author Jack Trout doesn't beat around the bush. He takes marketers to task for taking the easy route too often, employing high-tech razzle-dazzle and sleight of hand when they should be working to discover and market their product's uniquely valuable qualities. He examines successful differentiation initiatives - from giants like Dell Computer, Southwest Airlines, and Wal-Mart to smaller success stories like Streit's Matzoh and Connecticut's tiny Trinity College - to determine why some marketers succeed at differentiating themselves while others fail.

Differentiate or Die outlines the many ways you can achieve differentiation. It also warns how difficult it can be to achieve differentiation by being creative, cheap, customer-oriented, or quality-driven - things that your competitor can do as well.

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Reviews & Ratings
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Reviewer Donald
 February 17, 2006
Jack Trout returns to make his now-familiar argument that brand positionings have to be very differentiated in the customer's mind to create a successful business. The reason for this: Customers have little time or patience for those who offer nothing different than everyone else.

The task of getting and building that differentiation is actually pretty simple. Few alternatives exist. You can be the first and hang in there as the most real choice (Coca-Cola). You can have a heritage that is more authentic than the alternative (Stolychnaya, the Russian vodka, in its initial positioning). You can have a differentiated product (toothpaste with baking soda and whiteners, when no one else has both). You can be the newest and most up-to-date (the latest Intel microprocessor). And a few others are offered up.

If it's that simple (something any fifth grader could grasp and apply at some level), why do most people miss this point? The authors do a good job of looking at the organizational thinking that goes on in many companies that creates a stall in this area. I thought that was a unique and very valuable contribution to the subject of proper branding and marketing.

A trap for many companies has been to focus on the latest management fad rather than create and increase perceptual differentiation (which can be partly based on physical differentiation). Some of the fads that the authors warn against include too much focus on quality, price promotions, and line extensions of existing brands. Although they do approve of everyday lower prices if you have the business model to sustain it (like Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines do).

I liked the point (that was repeated often) about increased competition making it more difficult to obtain and sustain a differentiated position in the marketplace.

Overall, I think this book is the best summary of how to think about branding and marketing in the right way and overcome the stalled thinking that normally harms organizations of all types and sizes.

Well done!

Donald Mitchell

More Details

  • Published: 2001
  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: D001836
Available On
Audio CD
6 Discs
5 Tapes
1 Disc