Kill or Get Killed

KILL OR GET KILLED ... The Marketing Killer Instinct

'The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth; But They'll Never Increase Market Share' -William G. McGowan

Global politics and wars are all about shareholding struggles. The focus of efforts is how much shares nations control of the world's wealth. Nations are concerned about how much share of the world territories and mineral resources like oil and gas, gold, diamond, uranium, coal, copper, etc., that they control; how much share of the world's productive force, intelligentsia, arms, agricultural produce, water, are within their power and influence; and how much share of people's minds and emotions are under their manipulations. Bitter wars are fought, won and lost for these purposes. It's a shareholding struggle.

Business and Marketing is no different. It is all about shareholding struggles. Brands and organizations go to war for shares. Mind share, Voice share, Shelf share, Wallet share, Retail presence share, Market volume and value share are all battlefields where brands struggle for supremacy. Marketing wars and battles are fought, won and lost for increase, leadership and control of shares in these various dimensions.

The introductory quote by William McGowan, the man who dared and broke AT&T's monopoly in America with MCI, captures the essence of this book. It is not a spoof of the Holy Scriptures, but a candid summary of a reality that saw him taking on a giant and going on to become America's second largest long distance carrier, and today in its transformed state, the largest communication company in the world. Meekness on the battlefield against a giant like AT&T couldn't have made this happen.

Marketing is warfare with several battles on several fronts at different times. The prize is the heart and pockets of consumers. The landscapes are the brands and product-scape. The warmongers are the marketing managers, brand managers, etc. Conference rooms and boardrooms are war rooms. In these wars, you either kill or get killed. Excuses are too costly, and so you are better off when you kill first and ask questions later. Hence, you need a killer instinct to survive the several battles and win the war. Meekness is not a virtue for the battlefield. Magnanimity in victory may be. It is not an environment for the fainthearted. Gentlemen cannot survive the terrain.

I have seen several battles and been involved in many wars in my marketing career. I have also been privileged to watch and learn from other corporate organizations' wars and battles. This singular opportunity gives me the leverage of a holistic view at the practice; and places on me the responsibility to capture the multifarious experiences for young marketers to tap into, and for growing practitioners to relish. It can also become a toolkit for anybody starting a business that requires street-smart marketing knowledge on the go.

This book is a product of over 23yrs of marketing management practice and experiences ranging from core marketing to broadcasting, Public Relations, and full advertising practice. While in advertising practice, I had very robust experiences in the business development and creative departments. From there, I moved to the advertiser's side to manage the advertising function in a multinational firm, with responsibility for the full dimensions of all marketing communication services for the company's entire portfolio of brands; and thereafter, moved into core brand management. I have since moved out of FMCG marketing into telecom services marketing, where I have had the opportunity to nurture brands from inception and became part of the team that has built the biggest brand born out of Africa.

Kill or Get killed contains examples of successes and failures; tales of battles won, battles lost and lessons learnt. There are case studies across industries from multinational FMCG companies to telecommunication and multi-sector services industries, so practicing marketers across industries can learn, adapt and adopt learning. I am hopeful that this book will add to the marketing knowledge pool amongst practitioners in Nigeria and Africa, potential market entrants in Africa and in Nigeria, and indeed practitioners globally.

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