XII. The Attack – Control Tower

Sun Tzu said: 11. A wind that rises in the daytime lasts long, but a night breeze soon falls. 12. In every army, the five developments connected with fire must be known, the movements of the stars calculated, and a watch kept for the proper days.

In business: 11. A trend that is based on real customer behaviours lasts long, but a mayfly soon dies. 12. In every company, the five developments connected with marketing campaigns must be known, the movement of the trends and the competition calculated, and a control tower kept to monitor events.

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XII. The Attack – Delivery and Direction

Sun Tzu said:  9. (4) If it is possible to make an assault with fire from without, do not wait for it to break out within, but deliver your attack at a favorable moment. 10. (5) When you start a fire, be to windward of it.  Do not attack from the leeward.

In business: 9. (4) If it is adequate to launch a marketing campaign by advertising, do not wait for it to impact the competition, but confront its customers at a favourable moment. 10. When you start a campaign, ride on the general trend. Do not campaign against the Trend.

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XII. The Attack – The Five Ways

Sun Tzu said:  1.  There are five ways of attacking with fire.  The first is to burn soldiers in their camp; the second is to burn stores; the third is to burn baggage trains; the fourth is to burn arsenals and magazines; the fifth is to hurl dropping fire amongst the enemy.

In business: 1. There are five ways of designing a marketing attack. The first is to advertise; the second is to promote; the third is to give discounts; the fourth is to lobby; the fifth is to engage in random shenanigans.

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XI. The Nine Market Situations – Follow then Strike

Sun Tzu said: 66. Forestall your opponent by seizing what he holds dear, and subtly contrive to time his arrival on the ground. 67. Walk in the path defined by rule, and accommodate yourself to the enemy until you can fight a decisive battle. 68. At first, then, exhibit the coyness of a maiden, until the enemy gives you an opening; afterwards emulate the rapidity of a running hare, and it will be too late for the enemy to oppose you.

In business: 66. Deter your rival by seizing what he holds dear, and move subtly to time his arrival on the market. 67. Walk in the path defined by rules, and accommodate yourself to the rival until you can fight a decisive campaign. 68. At first, then, exhibit the shyness of a maiden, until the rival gives you an opening; afterwards emulate the rapidity of a running hare, and it will be too late for the rival to oppose you.

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XI. The Nine Market Situations – Rush In

Sun Tzu said: 65. If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in.

In business: 65. If the competition leaves a door open, you must rush in.

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XI. The Nine Market Situations – Crisis to Victory

Sun Tzu said: 58. Place your army in deadly peril, and it will survive; plunge it into desperate straits, and it will come off in safety. 59. For it is precisely when a force has fallen into harm’s way that is capable of striking a blow for victory.

In business: 58. Place your people outside their comfort zones, and they will survive; plunge them into desperate straits, and they will come off in safety. 59. For it is precisely when a company has fallen into crisis that it is capable of striking a blow for victory.

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XI. The Nine Market Situations – Local Guides

Sun Tzu said: 52. We cannot enter into alliance with neighboring princes until we are acquainted with their designs.  We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country–its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps.  We shall be unable to turn natural advantages to account unless we make use of local guides.

In business: 52. We cannot enter into alliance with other companies until we are familiar with their designs. We are not fit to lead a company on the market unless we are familiar with the market structure – its suppliers and customers, its substitutes and barriers to entry, its propensity to rivalry. We shall be unable to turn natural advantages to account unless we make use of local people.

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XI. The Nine Market Situations – Consolidate

Sun Tzu said: 46. Therefore, on dispersive ground, I would inspire my men with unity of purpose.  On facile ground, I would see that there is close connection between all parts of my army. 47. On contentious ground, I would hurry up my rear. 48. On open ground, I would keep a vigilant eye on my defenses.  On ground of intersecting highways, I would consolidate my alliances.

In business: 46. Therefore, in my home market, I would inspire my employees with unity of purpose. In easy situations, I would see that there is close connection between all parts of my company. 47. On markets vulnerable to disruption, I would hurry up my slow movers. 48. On accessible markets, I would keep a vigilant eye on my defenses. At an access point, I would consolidate my alliances.

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XI. The Nine Market Situations – Penetrate Deeply

Sun Tzu said: 41. The different measures suited to the nine varieties of ground; the expediency of aggressive or defensive tactics; and the fundamental laws of human nature:  these are things that must most certainly be studied. 42. When invading hostile territory, the general principle is, that penetrating deeply brings cohesion; penetrating but a short way means dispersion.

In business: 41. The different measures suited to the nine varieties of market situations; the expediency of aggressive or defensive tactics; and the fundamental laws of human nature: these are things that must most certainly be studied. 42. When making inroads into the market and customers of a rival, the general principle is, that penetrating deeply brings cohesion; penetrating but a short way means dispersion.

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XI. The Nine Market Situations – CEO of Subtlety

Sun Tzu said: 39. He burns his boats and breaks his cooking-pots; like a shepherd driving a flock of sheep, he drives his men this way and that, and nothing knows whither he is going. 40. To muster his host and bring it into danger:–this may be termed the business of the general.

In business: 39. He burns his old marketing materials and obsolete equipment; like a shepherd driving a flock of sheep, he drives his employees this way and that, and nothing knows where he is going. 40. To round up his rivals and bring them into danger – this may be termed the task of the leader.

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