Marketing Judo by John Barnes and Richard Richardson
"Marketing Judo: Building Your Business Using Brains Not Budget" is by John Barnes and Richard Richardson is designed as a book for anyone who wants to build a brand but doesn't have a big budget. It recounts the story of how the authors risked everything to create a worldwide brand for Britain's national dish - fish and chips with the Harry Ramsden's brand.
My Introduction To Marketing Judo
I heard about Marketing Judo when Richard Richardson was interviewed by Peter Thomson as part of his Achievers Edge monthly audio newsletter and I thought it sounded fascinating.
No surprise there.
The tagline for Marketing Judo is "building your business using brains not budget" clearly echoes the more established Guerrilla Marketing philosophy of replacing money with time, energy, imagination and knowledge.
I must admit that I do like the brand name and the imagery that attaches to it - Marketing Judo - where you can use other people's strength and power to your own advantage.
Harry Ramsden Fish & Chips
While Harry Ramsden is now owned by a large corporate, Compass PLC, its origins go back to 1928 when Harry Ramsden opened a fish and chip shop in Guiseley, Yorkshire which developed a great reputation locally and had some reputation nationally (the book says less than one in five people recognised the name but in my view, that's still an extremely high brand awareness).
The authors, John Barnes and Richard Richardson decided there was an opportunity to great a world brand for fish and chips and bought the only restaurant in 1988.
If McDonalds can do it for a not very good hamburger, it seems that there should be plenty of opportunity for good fish and chips and history shows that it was a big success with Harry Ramsden restaurants opening up in various parts of the world.
See the Wikipedia entry for Harry Ramsden and their own Harry Ramsden's website
Marketing Judo Game Plan
There are seven steps to the Marketing Judo game plan:
- Get the basics right. For example the book says that Harry Ramsden's wouldn't have been a success if the fish and chips weren't top quality. Interestingly going back to McDonald's hamburger quality doesn't seem to have been an issue.
- Picking the right partners - in everything you do from suppliers, people promoting your product and joint ventures.
- Choosing the right opponent - the book recommends that you aggressively target market share held by sloths, a sleepy incumbent who is not paying attention and can't react quickly.
- Getting the crowd on your side - staff, customers and the general public through public relations.
- Using your size to your advantage - be fit, fast and focused.
- Doing the unexpected - to delight customers and keep your competition off balance.
- Keep your balance - be prepared for crises and keep a close eye on trends and the wider business environment.
Marketing Judo Interesting But Disappointing
The Marketing Judo book is partly a story of Harry Ramsden and in particular how the authors created the worldwide brand and partly a marketing book to guide others.
It is certainly an interesting story although the Harry Ramsden's restaurant closest to me, by Birmingham airport closed down some years ago.
I think I went once or twice. The fish and chips were good and the restaurant had a certain old fashioned charm but it didn't feel special enough to call it "dinner out" and the fish and chips were not really better than I could get from my best local chippie which also cost significantly less.
Perhaps my thoughts about the Marketing Judo book are coloured by my experience of the restaurant. The authors made a lot of money when they sold out and Harry Ramsden's is now a world famous brand so hats off to their success.
But I don't believe it works as a book for the majority of small businesses.
Marketing Judo is easy to read and a few areas may strike a chord but too often I believe readers will find it difficult to translate the actions of the authors who were aiming to build a worldwide brand to a small business which wants to make more money in the local area.
Buying Marketing Judo
If you want to build a big brand on the cheap without having to resort to massive amounts of TV institutional advertising then buy this Marketing Judo. I am sure you will benefit and get ideas on how you can leverage the press and partners.
You can pick up a copy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk - affiliate links
If you want to build a chain of restaurants, then again the book will talk to you even if you just want a few in your local area.
I rate Marketing Judo with 3.5 Stars - worthwhile but not a book for general recommendation. It is unlikely to stay in my business book library for long.
After such a great interview on the Achievers Edge I was disappointed when I read "Marketing Judo"
Have You Read Marketing Judo?
If you have read this book, I'll be very interested to know if you agree with me or with the majority of the reviewers on Amazon who really rate this book.
Recommended Small Business Marketing Books
If you don't have global ambitions and want to stay small then I recommend that you give "Marketing Judo" a miss and instead learn more about:
- Guerrilla Marketing (if you have significant marketing experience and you are used to reading marketing books - the review is on my main Business Coaching blog), Startup Guide to Guerrilla Marketing (much easier to read if not as comprehensive),
- Book Yourself Solid (if you sell professional services) and
- Duct Tape Marketing