Lateral Marketing: New Techniques for Finding Breakthrough Ideas

by Philip Kotler and Fernando Trias de Bes

Lateral marketing_marketing_psycho


The book Ā«Lateral Marketing: New Techniques for Finding Breakthrough IdeasĀ» by Philip Kotler and Fernando Trias de Bes is devoted to a non-standard thinking in marketing. Classic marketing theories continue to play an important role in the market, but nowadays a broader perspective on marketing opportunities is needed.

The authors give many reasons for the fact that existing marketing techniques are no longer so successful, it is connected with the reduction of the product life cycle, and with the revolution made by the transition to digital technologies and with the growth of diversity within the categories of goods and much more. All this only proves that the modern world needs a new approach. Innovation is the key and basis of modern competitive strategies. Innovations can be both from the inside of the market, and from the outside. From the inside of the market, innovations are based on modulation (variation of one of the basic qualities of goods or services, which is to strengthen or reduce this quality), sizing, packaging, design, complements development, effort reduction. But the most effective way, according to the authors, is innovations from outside of the market, such as the creation of a new market or category.

P. Kotler and T. de Bes do not oppose traditional and lateral marketing. They believe that lateral marketing is a complement to traditional marketing. Vertical marketing process is a sequence of steps: identification of needs, definition of the market, segmentation, positioning, development of marketing tools. A vertical marketing process is a logically consistent movement from the general to the particular. Lateral marketing – involves restructuring existing information and moving from the private to the general with a less rigorous thought process – research, risky and creative.

In their book, P. Kotler and T. De Bes attempted to formulate a theory of lateral marketing. They give the following definition of lateral marketing: it is a workflow that receives existing objects (goods or services) at the input and gives innovation goods or services that are targeted to needs, customer groups or ways / situations of use not currently covered ; thus, this process with a high probability leads to the creation of new categories or markets.

The authors propose a scheme for the process of lateral marketing. It consists of three steps and is based on the process of creative thinking:

  1. Choosing a Focus in the Marketing Process
  2. Generating a Marketing Gap
  3. Making Connections

Lateral marketing begins with a product or service. There are two options:

  1. Select the product or service that we are selling.
  2. Choose a product or service with which it is difficult for us to compete.

1 step. Having determined the goods, we must choose the focus in it. For the purposes of lateral marketing, it is necessary to divide all components of vertical marketing into three main levels:

  1. Market definition level (need, target group, mode/situation of use)
  2. Product Level
  3. The level of marketing tools (i.e. the entire marketing mix except for the product).

The second step is to shift the focus, which is located on one of three levels. Here you can select six basic operations:

– Substitution

– Combination

– Inversion

– Exaggeration

– Elimination

– Reordering

Step 3 – establishing a connection or eliminating a gap. For this purpose, an analytical evaluation is performed. There are three ways to assess this: track the purchase process, identify useful properties and find the right situation.

The process of lateral marketing gives three types of results:

  1. The same product, new use
  2. New product, new use
  3. New product, same use

At the present time, when new products are brought to the market with unusual speed, a significant proportion of attempts fail. The book describes a new technique for successfully competing in the market, it allows you to develop new products, find new market niches and eventually make a breakthrough in business. The authors do not reject classical marketing but advise in addition to it to use non-standard ways of thinking.

The book will be useful for those who are going to use lateral marketing in their company, for specialists in marketing and advertising, as well as for those who are interested in unconventional thinking as an ideal way of developing new ideas.


If you liked the review, I suggest you to read another one that can be helpful – “Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy”