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MARKETING CASE STORIES

COPYRIGHT 1996 - 2008
4/6/08

When The Enemy

A long time ago and a short time ago. In a place both near and far away a professor found a poem by Mao Tse-Tung that expresses the power of a simple poem. In a few lines Mao was able to communicate strategy to an entire army. From the top generals to the peasant that could not read. This poem also embraced a life time of adherence to a national story know by all. It has been said that as long as Mao's troops followed this poem they would win.

When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.
Mao Tse-Tung

Marketing Application INSTRUCTIONAL

It is my belief that a simple poem can move individuals in one of the most effective ways. The reason is that a poem can transfer understanding at any level that the reader or listener has attained. The poem is also very easy to remember and it is not dependent on any form of technology. I believe that a poem is much more powerful than a mission statement or current forms of corporate communication. It is also a much more powerful teaching tool for everyone.

I wrote such a poem for the University of New Haven, framed it and gave it to the current president of the University. When I gave it to him in the hall out side his office on the way to my class he said "I have a masters degree in poetry" he never looked or said anything.

There is a marketing application to this. Suppose he read the poem after and did not like it what should he do? Tell the poet thank you or say nothing. It all goes back to the dominant story from which he makes decisions. Because he did not respond it is my strategic role and interest to attempt to use this and other experiences to figure out what dominant story he applies to decision making. If he were to read this case story he would and could do the same in relationship to my dominant story. If this was put on my page for any reason that I may have felt rejected it would be a strategic error on my part. It must have a far different meaning than any of my feelings of rejection. It is all just strategy. Only the best strategists will figure out why.

I have may poems that I have written that I apply to marketing education and practice.