Review - "In Search of the Obvious" by Jack Trout

imageJack Trout, one of the most influential marketeers of modern times, rants about the broken marketing world and calls for more common sense and less BS. The book: “In Search of the Obvious: The Antidote for Today’s Marketing Mess” by Jack Trout; Wiley; October 2008 The big idea: Marketing is easy (which makes it hard). Find the obvious, distill the essence and use marketing to sell not entertain. Today’s marketing initiatives are too often misguided in their approach and execution, with marketeers selling snake oil instead of working solutions. The backstory: Jack Trout, co-author of some of the most important marketing books in modern times, is back - and back with a vengeance. He takes aim at the current state of the marketing industry, their BS and the misguided approaches which have turned marketing into a fluffy, aimless pseudo-science. Five tests: Trout cites a 90 year old book from Updegraff, which lays out five tests of Obviousness: 1. The problem when solved will be simple. 2. Does it check with human nature? 3. Put it on paper. 4. Does it EXPLODE in people’s minds? 5. Is the time ripe? Perceptions rule: As much as we wish it wouldn’t be true, people are guided by their perception, not facts. Perception becomes fact - superior products don’t necessarily rule. And you can only do what your customers allow you to do. If you read nothing else: Chapter 1 and 2 lay out the basic framework in less than 25 pages. Treat yourself to these nuggets of wisdom, reread them frequently and put them to work everyday. Rating: 9 (1=Rubbish; 10=Awesome). Trout’s experience, solid theoretical knowledge, body of work (both academically as well as a practitioner) and his tendency to call things by their true name make this book a must read for everyone in marketing (and everyone who is marginally interested in marketing).