Shane Media
What We Do For You
Books and Publications
Frequently Asked Questions
In The News
Email Us
Return to home page
In The News
Congratulations to Johnstown, PA’s “Morning Guy”



By Ed Shane


There’s no more compelling concept for radio than “positioning”—the battle for a place in the mind.  Al Ries and Jack Trout introduced us to the idea in their classic book, Positioning. 


I’ve been re-reading Ries and Trout’s Bottom Up Marketing, because I like a refresher course in the concepts that I believe in most strongly.  In that book (published in 1989) they took positioning a few step further, urging marketers to “go down to the front line” to get information. 


Mind you, they’re not talking about getting “confirmation,” as we so often do in radio, but to get real insight on how people use products and services. 


The “front” is not the supermarket, the drugstore, or the customer’s office.  “The front line is  the mind of the prospect,” say Ries and Trout.


They urge our review of the front to be used to create tactics that drive our strategy. 


Yes, tactics first, then strategy.  Most marketing people believe the reverse.


“A tactic is an idea,” say Ries and Trout.  “We propose using the following specific definition: A tactic is a competitive mental angle.  In our definition, a strategy is not a goal.  It’s a coherent marketing direction.”


That brings me back to radio.  What industry is more tactical in its product than radio?


In the words of Ries and Trout: “A tactic must have a competitive [their emphasis] angle in order to have a chance of success.  This does not necessarily mean a better product or service, but rather there must be an element of differentness.  It could be smaller, bigger, lighter, heavier, cheaper more expensive.  It could be a different distribution system.” 


Different is the key word.  Something that positions the product – your station – in the mind of the listener.


Here’s the Ries and Trout refresher course in two sentences: “A tactic is a competitive advantage.  A strategy is designed to maintain that competitive advantage.”