vSente is a marketing consultancy. We help challenger enterprises wage and win battles for market shares.

Disciplines - Advertising | Marketing | Sales
Competency - Challenge | Defend
Deliverable - Profitable Market Share
Audience - CEO's | Marketing | Sales
Scale - Small | Medium-sized Enterprise
Services - Campaigns | Workshops
Location - San Francisco | London


Join vSente's Campaigner list and get a free download of vSente's Campaign Planner.

This is the generic version of the planner we use for our workshops and campaigns. The planner is in Excel format and includes the campaign worksheet and one-page plan of campaign. Enter your name and email address to join and receive your planner.
If you're responsible for sales or marketing in a small or medium-sized enterprise, then I'd like to invite you to join vSente's Campaigner list. This list is composed of marketers interested in learning more about accountable and effective marketing campaigning techniques.

Weekly we send via plain text email a short description of a competitive marketing tool or technique along with a link to a resource you can download and use. These resources come from vSente's Armory and consist of wizards, manuals, white papers, planners all focused on helping marketing managers battle larger competitors.

The content and resources are free to members of the campaigner list. But should you find yourself engaged in a tough battle for market share against a larger competitor then you will likely gain value from paying for a monthly subscription to vSente's Armory, booking our two-day workshop or engaging us to help with your campaign.

This community is not for all marketers. If you're looking for basic marketing techniques, like trade show tips, writing press releases, designing a flyer, optimizing landing pages, etc. this is not the list for you. On the other hand if you're interested in exploring the underlying dynamics of competitive advantage, then the topics discussed on this list will be of help.

Submit your name and email address above and the link for the planner will be sent immediately to the email address you used to sign up. Then look for a plain text email from vSente weekly.

Smock's Alternative List of Marketer's Must-Reads

Seth Godin is wondering - do business books work? My answer - not as well as they used to. In fact I wonder why anybody in business publishes a book these days. Back in the days of Porter's Competitive Strategy business books were rare, well edited, and almost always well worth the read. Not true today. There's so much crap being published - most of it catering to a very low common denominator.

So with this in mind I recently decided to put together my own list of the top five business books that every marketer should not just read, but devour, dog ear, write in the margins and weave into the fabric of their everyday existence. Call it Smock's Alternative List of Marketer's Must Reads. Most marketers will find the list daunting to say the least. Which is why the list forms a golden opportunity for those marketers with the hearty appetite necessary to devour the contents. Here's the list:


Sun Tzu - The Art of War Shambhala/Thomas Cleary version.

WHY MARKETERS SHOULD READ: Because Sun Tuz is the ultimate marketing strategist. Learn how to win without fighting. And when you do have to fight - how to kick ass and win.

MONEY QUOTE: Therefore use these assessments for comparison, to find out what the conditions are. That is to say which political leadership has the Way? Which general has the ability? Who has the better climate and terrain? Whose discipline is effective? Whose troops are stronger? whose officers and soldiers are the better trained? Whose system of rewards and punishments clearer? This is how can know who will win. (Pg. 46)


Machiavelli - The Prince Mentor Book's version with forward by Christian Gauss.

WHY MARKETERS SHOULD READ: Because Machiavelli delivers a great primer on dealing with unethical tactics - like blog swarms, short sellers, social activists, corrupt competitors, media relations, etc.

MONEY QUOTE:  A new prince has never been known to disarm his subjects, on the contrary, when he has found them disarmed he has always armed them, for by arming them, these arms become your own, those that you suspected become faithful, and those that were faithful remain so, and from being merely subjects become your partisans. (Pg. 105)


The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War Robert Coram's biography of John Boyd.

WHY MARKETERS SHOULD READ: Because Boyd articulates the secret to successful campaigning. Boyd's O-O-D-A Loop and thoughts on organic command and control should be mastered by all marketers.

MONEY QUOTE: For a time, Boyd and Spinney were reluctant to fully explain the O-O-D-A Loop; it was far too dangerous. If someone truly understands how to create menace and uncertainty and mistrust, then how to exploit and magnify the presence of these disconcerting elements, the Loop can be vicious, a terribly destructive force, virtually unstoppable in causing panic and confusion and - Boyd's phrase is best - "unraveling the competition." This is true whether the Loop is applied in combat, in competitive business practices, in sports, or in personal relationships. (Pg. 334)


The Second World War, Volume 2: Their Finest Hour Winston Churchill's WWII chronicles.

WHY MARKETERS SHOULD READ: Because everything you read today about crisis management is wrong. Churchill's personal experiences leading up to and during WWII provide a practical foundation for dealing with crisis.

MONEY QUOTE: There never was an occasion when powers were abrogated or challenged, and anyone in this circle could always speak his mind; but the actual war direction soon settled into a very few hands, and what seemed so difficult before became much more simple - apart of course, from Hitler. In spite of the turbulence of events and the many disasters we had to endure, the machinery worked almost automatically, and one lived in a stream of coherent thought capable of being translated with great rapidity into executive action. (Pg. 17)


Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors Michael Porter's classic.

WHY MARKETERS SHOULD READ: Porter provides a fundamental primer on competition including practical tools and techniques that are even more important today than they were 25 years ago.

MONEY QUOTES: One broad approach is to use superior resources and capabilities to force an outcome skewed toward the interest of the firm, overcoming and outlasting retaliation - we might call this brute force approach. This sort of approach is possible only if the firm possesses clear superiorities, and it is stable only as long as the firm maintains these superiorities, and as long as competitors do not misread them and incorrectly attempt to change their positions. (Pg. 91)

Download vSente's Free Campaign Planner to learn more about how we help marketing managers battle larger competitors.

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