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.

Are Business As War Metaphors Accurate? Are they Appropriate?

We recently blogged Clausewitz on Strategy. The authors had crafted an interesting description of attack and defense. A description well suited for any marketer confronting tough competition. Another topic in the book that made for interesting reading was the authors description of the similarities and differences between war and business. (Click here to read an earlier post explaining why vSente chose a military metaphor to express our positioning)

In a section titled "Business is Not War" the authors offer up their notions that business and war have many elements in common but in total are in fact different enterprises. Too which I add my agreement. And the obligatory business is not war. The authors caution against "rigidly mapping" war onto business and vice versa... and warn that such attempts result in "distortions" because there are elements of business such as customers and elements of war such as the annihilation of the enemy that do not apply in both instances. I have a different take on this.

First, the notion that war does not have customers in the business sense is certainly true. But the notion that those civilians inhabiting territory in contention could be engaged with many of the same persuasive techniques utilized in business to influence customers is worth discussing. Second, the notion that business does not have an annihilation analog is certainly true at face value - competitors are not yet in the habit of blowing each other up. But the concept of annihilation is spot-on considering the havoc that is wreaked when companies are driven from markets via bankruptcy, merger or abandonment.

We approach markets as competitive arenas hosting conflicts which must be won in order for the enterprise to thrive. Business and war are both forms of conflict. Business is a battle for market share. Markets represent territory contended for by competitive enterprises. Markets are made up of customers who offer their own resistance setting up conflicts in multiple dimensions. Business is about winning and losing. The result of losing this conflict is a form of annihilation; net worth evaporates, industries are decimated, lively-hoods gutted, reputations ruined, families destroyed, dreams shattered. There are millions of entrepreneurs and workers who understand the reality of losing this conflict.

I have long taken the position that while business is not war in the traditional sense of guns and bullets, business and war share many attributes that are important to understand and invaluable to exercise. Here are several examples:

a. Activity. Business and war are each a form of competition involving two or more adversaries striving to gain an advantage or achieve a victory.

b. Strategy. Strategy plays an important role in each activity and can determine the outcome of the conflict.

c. Resources. Both business and war face significant logistical issues that require the organization and projection of people and resources.

d. Competencies. Both the military and business must marshal and command a complex set of resources and competencies.

e. Leadership. Visionary leaders capable of driving sustainable results are critical to the success of each activity and can be a decisive factor in determining the success of the campaign.

f. Intelligence. The ability to collect, analyze and distribute competitive intelligence is paramount to both the military and business.

So is business war? Of course not. Does business share many attributes with war. Yes. But perhaps the closest  association between business and war can be found in the definition of battle command as offered by the Army in FM 100-5:

The art of battle decision making, leading, and motivating soldiers in their organizations into action to accomplish missions. Includes visualizing current state and future state, then formulating concepts of operations to get from one to the other at least cost. Also includes assigning missions, prioritizing and allocating resources, selecting the critical time and place to act, and knowing how and when to make adjustments during the fight (FM 100-5)

We have "tweaked" this definition by substituting "campaigning" for "battle" and "people" for "soldiers" and by doing so have found a definition for marketing campaigning and business leadership second to none. Read the definition with the substitutions:

Campaigning is the art of decision making, leading, and motivating people and their organizations into action to accomplish missions; visualizing current state and future state, then formulating concepts of operations to get from one place to another at least cost; assigning missions, prioritizing and allocating resources, selecting the critical time and place to act, and knowing how and when to make adjustments during the fight.

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

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