Marketing Warfare How to Use Military Principles

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The details differ slightly, but the story in its telling is always the same: Ninety of so students sit nervously awaiting the start of their first marketing class. At the appointed time, not a moment more or less, a slight man with bushy eyebrows and an impressive mustache enters the room, slaps down his papers and fixes his audience with a piercing gaze before choosing one unfortunate soul: “Mr. Brown, Begin!” Startled, Mr. Brown launches into a halting rehash of the day’s assignment before he’s cut short with a fierce directive: “We’ve read the case. Tell us something new.” For the next eighty minutes Mr. Brown and his classmates are badgered, cajoled and dazzled as the man guides them to a different, deeper way of looking at the issues. Dazed, they stumble out of the classroom determined to prepare better for tomorrow’s class. Scared, even resentful in the early weeks (the man does not let up), the students come to appreciate the intensity and rapid fire humor of the teacher. Clearly, he cares. A lot. And by the end of the semester, something transformative has happened: they are better thinkers. The man, Ted Levitt, the place, Harvard Business School.