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Book Review: ‘Launching to Leading’ by Ken Rutsky

In his new book targeting marketing leaders and executives, Launching to Leading: How B2B Market Leaders Create Flashmobs, Marshal Parades and Ignite Movements, veteran marketing consultant Ken Rutsky presents a game-changing playbook for attracting clients in the midst of today’s information overload.

Today’s marketers face ever more forbidding challenges for getting noticed and attaining market leadership. Markets are crowded with competing providers in every category, and buyers have become independent and capable of doing their own research. Rutsky points out that it’s no longer a struggle to get information out there — but it’s a battle to get noticed.

Companies who know how to break through the cacophony with a new type of messaging are achieving market leadership. Examples include FireEye, Zuora, Virgin America and Salesforce.com. They’ve discovered how to educate and engage customers, and to influence the way they see the world and interpret the strategic value delivered through the company’s solutions.

Launching to Leading focuses on how to achieve market dominance through a 5-step plan, including finding their unique value, articulating a viewpoint story, and scaling and delivering their unique message experientially.

Rutsky starts by describing how companies need to better relate their  value to the customer’s reality and make their solution strategic to the customers’ success. Creating the context, or Viewpoint, is a critical. A Viewpoint Story, rather than starting with features, function and benefits, starts with the customers’ reality. Rutsky explains how a Viewpoint can be thought of as a story in four acts: 1) What’s changed; 2) Solutions from the old reality that result in unmet needs; 3) The company’s re-imagined solution; and 4) A vision of the transformed future.

Rutsky describes this approach as moving from diagnostic selling to authority-driven selling. He explains how buyers have shifted the way they form opinions and make decisions from evaluation to experience.

Marketers can package the Viewpoint Story to be delivered across different channels. They can scale up the story to add details and data, scale it down to encapsulate it into a tweet or elevator pitch, and even scale it out for workshops and speaking engagements, depending on when and where they intend to reach buyers across different phases of their buying journeys.

From detailing how to create a powerful Viewpoint and define a unique Value, Rutsky proceeds to describe how to utilize these within a “market-leadership lifecycle.” Here is where the components of the book’s subtitle — Flashmobs, Parades and Movements — come into play, becoming the path forward for unseating market leaders.

A Flashmob attracts a relatively small group of passionate customers. These early customers can act as sales reps and help create demand. The next phase is to energize and grow the Flashmob into a market Parade. Now the company is defining and leading the market category. A Movement, much bigger than a parade, is the category that goes beyond market leadership and becomes market transformation (think the internet or mobile computing). Leaders find ways to create Flashmobs, get in front of Parades, and advance successes to build industry-changing Movements.

Alongside his five-step approach, Rutsky presents “Game Films,” or case studies that demonstrate or reinforce the concepts. He also includes “Coach’s Corners” with commentaries and additional explanations.

Business-to-business marketing professionals who utilize the breakthrough strategies offered in this valuable playbook can achieve a competitive advantage, if not a movement, for their organizations.

Learn more at Launching To Leading’s website.

About Patricia Gale

Patricia Gale has written and ghostwritten hundreds of blogs and articles that have appeared on sites such as Psychology Today, Forbes, and Huffington Post, and in countless national newspapers and magazines. Her "beat" is health, business, career, self-help, parenting, and relationships.

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