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on August 11, 2016
One of the best books I have read in a long time. Some chapters I disagreed with, most examples are outdated and some are even cringeworthy but it really made me reevaluate positioning. An extremely quick read and I was taking notes on lots of pages on how I could implement many themes in daily work. I will probably re-read many sections as a guide in future work. Excellent and highly recommend.
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on January 27, 2014
Positioning is about how to define your product or entity in an optimal way so as to differentiate it from competitors and drive preferential purchase or use. Ries and Trout argue that positioning has become especially critical for marketers as our society has become increasingly overburdened with communication and advertisements.

I wish I could go back in time after having read this book -- Positioning gave me numerous epiphanies related to companies I have started or worked for. Positioning is a must-read for anyone who works in marketing or business, especially those launching a new product or struggling to hit stride with an existing product.

The book hammers home the point that the only reality that matters with is the perception of your customers. It's the prospect's world-view and interpretation of your product that counts, not yours. And although this book contains outdated examples as it was published over 30 years ago, I didn't feel that this detracted from the core content. Rather, the authors' prophetic and timeless concepts helped reinforce their arguments. Overall, this book helped me move along the path towards critically understanding and evaluating positioning strategies.

My primary criticism of this book is that while Ries and Trout provide a highly practical explanation of how and when to use line extensions, I did not feel as well-armed with practical methodologies for positioning in general. Other than semantic differential, no research strategies or exercises were provided for defining the positioning of an entity. I was somewhat able to fill this gap with material I found online published by Roger Straus. In particular I would recommend looking up Straus's "triangular" strategy, which incorporates rational, affective and relational positioning, to be a great supplement to Positioning.
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on July 1, 2013
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, by Al Reis and Jack Trout, is a classic how-to book for marketing with timeless lessons. It wasn't until a ways into the book that I realized how old the book was. Some of the examples used truly date the book. These dated examples may date the concepts, but not their worth. It is interesting to note the successes and failures of companies, politicians, and products predicted in the book and how the history for each played out.

I had not realized how important positioning was in business and ones personal life until reading this. This book was an easy and fun read, but still packed with enlightening information that reigns true despite the changes in the world. It uses history and "current events" to express and better explain theories and practices which can be extraordinarily useful. It also explains what not to do and why.

Though long, and somewhat redundant, their message is clear and heard throughout their book. Various examples assure that every possibility is explained and expounded upon. I highly recommend this book for those beginning in not only advertising or marketing, but any business.
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on March 15, 2016
I like this book for its insight into finding and carving out niches in a product market place. The examples that show how to do this are also good for understanding the points. However, some of this book was targeted more towards marketing professionals with large advertisement budgets rather than the small, individual marketer of today. He talks about TV, radio and paper advertising which reveals how outdated the marketing channel suggestions are. I think it is best to take away the core message of this book, but find a modern source about how to apply them to today's marketplace.
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on April 29, 2012
This is an outstanding book of high value to anyone trying to stand out from the crowd. The theme is that we are all marketers trying to communicate our message in the most effective manner and that there is a better way.

The authors coined the term "positioning" and first wrote about it in a 1972 article in Advertising Age. "Positioning is the first body of thought that comes to grips with the problem of getting heard in an overcommunicated society," they say. It is perhaps even more relevant today given the orders-of-magnitude increase in messaging of all types where only the tiniest fraction is relevant to any one person.

Developed largely around big-company advertising, positioning is broadly applicable to entrepreneurs, small business, job seekers, career professionals and lonely people as well as corporations and institutions. How can this be? Don't we live in a society of rapid obsolescence where yesterday's news is virtually irrelevant? The reason is psychology.

Positioning is based on how people think, how they evaluate, how they compare, how they prioritize and how they select. These are nearly timeless processes deeply embedded in the human mind. Ries and Trout show you how to hook your message into the subconscious mind of your prospects. In another book Ries defines a brand as "a singular idea you own inside the mind of your prospect." The methods described in this book help you craft that brand message for maximum effectiveness.

This book is very well organized. The Table of Contents includes one-sentence chapter summaries so you can quickly jump to material that is relevant to your situation. They cover "Positioning of a Leader," "Positioning of a Follower," and "The Power of a Name." Example positioning exercises include "Positioning of a Company," "Positioning of a Country," "Positioning of a Product," "Positioning of a Service," and "Positioning of a Ski Resort" among several others. For the individual seeking a job or trying to advance a career there is "Positioning Yourself and Your Career." For the small business person and entrepreneur there is "Positioning Your Business" and "Playing the Positioning Game." This is not only for marketing professionals.

Some reviewers find the examples outdated. I challenge them to use those examples as a starting point to find companies today whose success is based on excellent positioning (e.g. LinkedIn: Business Networking; Tesla Motors: High-Performance Electric Cars; Starbucks: Social Coffee). The process and the beneficial results have not changed over time.

I rate this a 5 star book for thought-provoking content, broad appeal, and excellent organization.
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on January 31, 2017
While an older book with examples including some companies that are dated or no longer in existence, the principles are still very much relevant and applicable to businesses now. Highly recommend this for anyone looking for a deeper and richer understanding to apply to their business.
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on November 27, 2013
The principles in this book are excellent and applicable even at the lowest level of single individual proprietorship small business. Recommended reading for any one, even a part timer, small business. You should also add 'The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing' and 'The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding' and make it a set.

I give this book only four stars because: a) toward the last quarter of the book he parsed into separate categories several 'principles' that were really just a single principle and I got the feeling he was just trying to make the book seem more 'rich with information'; b) this information is thirty to thirty five years old (1980,s) and the examples show it. It needed to be updated - it was published 2001; c) some of the predictions in the book were way off. After thirty five years or so, they now know what really happened and should have explained the reasons, thus adding to real 'richness of information'.

Nevertheless, the principles are sound, well tested, and applicable (with some good judgement when doing so).
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on November 23, 2015
This book is a classic in the discipline of market positioning. As it was written in the 1970s with a very light update in the 80s, there are two difficulties for the reader:

(1) You have to imagine how the principles would fit in the Internet age. Not a difficult stretch of the imagination, but one that the reader has to make nonetheless.

(2) The examples are often so old that the meaning is somewhat lost.

In spite of these difficulties I have not yet found a better, more modern book.

I recommend this book to anybody who cares about marketing.
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on May 1, 2013
Positioning is part of the evolution in concepts used by Advertising and Marketing. Some authors and practitioners like Claude Hopkins, Rosser Reeves, David Ogilvy have made fundamental contributions to the development of Advertising. I have an impression that Positioning is also the latest great contribution in the history of Advertising.
After this book, marketing authors have rediscovered old concepts with other words again and again... (If someone identifies a new fundamental concept introduced later please post your comment on this review!).

This book is a must read, for the ideas in it and the pleasure to read it.

The importance of "Positioning" had a great example just recently in American Business history.
Steve Jobs was a master of positioning, he did it to Apple and Pixar in a spectacular way. Each new product he unveiled to the public he would position it in a very particular way creating a marketing impact second to none.

What is most strange is that, the Authors of Positioning kept repeating themselves in several books, committing the same sin that they criticized on others, line extension!
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on March 12, 2014
If you are in the marketing field, or even an entrepreneur (not just tech either) then this is a must read book. Often considered a "standard" and the basis for many bloggers and teachers, as well as actual doers. I highly recommend this book as core reading.
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