Trout and Ries are two of the most far-thinking individuals extant in the world of marketing. However, to get the most out of their later works (and, as well as this book, I highly recommend "The 22 Immutable Laws of BRANDING" by Ries and his wife), it is best to read them in the sequence in which they were written. If you don't understand "positioning" you may very well not follow the analytical process which continues with these "sequels", as evidenced by some of the negative comments from readers. First, one has to differentiate the process of "marketing" by which is meant the bringing to market, or distribution, of a product or service, and "marketing" by which is meant promotion and advertising. Microsoft and USA Today are not successful because of their advertising or promotions, but because of the manner in which their products are distributed. What these books deal with is how companies promote themselves, not distribution channels which which create an advantage in a given industry. The books deal with the establishment of an identity, a position, which will be good for years to come, not with campaigns which may increase sales in a given quarter. Why these books are so important is because, if one doesn't understand the basic concept of positioning, and the rules which logically follow it, one could easily create campaigns (or develop products to be promoted under a brand name)which actually harm or destroy the company's position in the mind of the consumer. Books by Trout and Ries should not only be required reading for those in promotion/advertising, but for all executives.