Sun Tzu Marketing in a Tough Economy: Why Downturns Provide Opportunity

Alliance  ·  January 06, 2016

What does Apple, Kraft and Hyundai have in common? Someone in their marketing department probably has the Art of War by Sun Tzu tucked away on their shelf. Penned over two thousand years ago it continues to be the single most influential book on military strategy. Through its popularity many regard his quotes cliché yet the book still provides valuable guidance for the military..  Generals are no strangers to fighting in extremely tough conditions, with limited resources and large expectations. Extracting these core marketing concepts to businesses techniques have been widely applied to business and marketing strategies.

“Avail yourself also to any helpful circumstances that give you advantages beyond ordinary conditions.” When such favorable circumstances arise, modify your plans accordingly.”

During the depression Kellogg and Post dominated the market for packaged cereal. Both companies had been around for decades, during the 1920’s Post did the expected thing and cut back on advertising. Kellogg did the opposite and doubled its ad budget, invested heavily in new mediums such as radio and advertising and developed new brands like Rice Krispies.  At the height of the recession Kellogg’s profits had risen by almost thirty percent and continues to be the largest cereal company even today.

1929 – Lazy Boy Recliner launched
1933 – Kraft introduces Miracle Whip
1954 – Texas Instruments launches the transistor
2001 –  Apple launched its iPod
2009 – Hyundai gains takes significant market share

Economic downturns offer cyclical opportunities to attack your competition and take market share from competitors.  Increasing communication with customers provides effective and measurable results especially online. As your army looks to be victorious on for those quarterly results, go grab a copy of Sun Tzu and add to your tactics of intelligence, speed, and attacking the enemy’s weakness.