Summary of In Search of the Obvious

The Antidote for Today's Marketing Mess

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In Search of the Obvious book summary
Marketing is in trouble. Instead of focusing on complex product differentiation, pay attention to the obvious.


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Veteran marketer Jack Trout successfully manages to inject new material while belaboring the obvious. To do well, he says, marketers must go back to the basics, even though it’s popular to chase trends and be cute. Marketers are concerned about fancy strategies, high-tech gadgets, quantitative research, entertaining ads and faddish consultants – all a waste of time. Trout says to go back to the core of marketing. Focus on the obvious. That’s what customers really want. What you really need to know is right in front of you, not at the bottom of the data mine. Although Trout pounds away at his thesis, getAbstract finds his book enjoyably informative. He may sometimes seem like a scolding grandfather, but he has clear advice for marketers: Modern society is too complex, and complexity does not help you sell. Instead, he says, marketers should try common sense. It couldn’t hurt.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the obvious marketing idea or solution is often the best
  • How to know if an idea is obvious
  • How to use common-sense marketing strategies
  • Why technology, commoditized brands and even entertaining ads are marketing problems


The Era of Commoditization
Too many brand-name products are slipping into obscurity because they have become commodities. A New York research firm’s study of more than 1,847 products and services in 75 categories found that a mere 21% of the products had features that made them distinct...
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About the Author

Jack Trout is president of the consulting company Trout & Partners. His client list includes major corporations and the U.S. State Department. He is the author of several marketing books, including Differentiate or Die.

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Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    Jack Trout
    Marketing wisdom from one of the world's foremost marketing strategists.

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