Strategy is a formidable component of both military as well as business domains. The term strategy had its origin in the warfare zone and was considered the art of the general to combat the enemies. From the domain of war and bloodshed, strategy took on its flight to the area of marketing and business management. The evolution of strategic practices can be traced back to the Chinese military tactician Sun Tzu whose magnum opus The Art of War enjoys great fame and respect amongst the Eastern and Western military tactics and military training. Yet another famous contributor to strategy making is the Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz whose work On War is yet another great contribution towards the business and military circle. It is the treatises and theories of these two figures that laid the base for corporate strategy management mechanisms. War is a position wherein only the strongest possesses the ability to survive, or it is the stronger ones who have the greatest probability to survive.
Similarly, in the business circle, only the companies with the latest and most innovative strategic management mechanisms show a higher chance of surviving all the socio-economic turbulences in the market place. In the modern-day business environment, the characteristics of business corporations, their motivation, aggressiveness, stress are all similar to the ancient day soldiers and commanders. The major similarities between war and business are in terms of the way, the terrain, the weather, the discipline and the leadership.
Military strategizing involves a great deal of planning and organization of campaigns, movements, the relegation of various forces ending with deceiving the opponents. Being a sub-discipline of warfare, the strategy is the principal tool for national security. Military strategizing necessitates the use of resources like people, technology, equipment, intelligence for defeating the enemies. Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz are the most revered figures among the Eastern and Western martial circles. Sun Tzu’s greatest proposition is the strategy that leads to victory sans any fighting or bloodshed. His strategy involves playing with the psychological weakness of the enemy. While Clausewitz advocated certain principles for effective strategizing – surprise, the advantage of the terrain, attacking from multiple sides, assistance from the people along with the usage of moral forces. Military strategy and tactics are an essential part of any national welfare and security domain. Military strategy is about the planning, coordination and the general direction of various military operations for meeting the overall political and military goals. Military tactics are mainly about implementing short term decisions like the movement of troops as well as the employment of weapons in the battlefield. As Clausewitz puts it “tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war”. Marketing warfare strategies are the ones that draw their wisdom from military strategic tools and tactics in areas of production, distribution, marketing and other areas. In marketing warfare strategies, the theories and propositions of both Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz always find resonance. J.B Quinn, one of the major proponents of military warfare theories argued the key to an effective strategy is probing and withdrawing to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent mainly with the intention of forcing opponents to stretch their committal, then involves concentrating the resources, attacking a clear exposure and overwhelming a selected market segment, then building a bridgehead in that segment, and finally regrouping and expanding from that base to control a wider market field. The major marketing warfare strategies are – offensive marketing strategies, defensive marketing strategies, flanking marketing strategies, guerilla marketing strategies, position defense, and mobile defense, flanking position, counter offense, frontal attack, encirclement strategy, leapfrog strategy and guerilla.
The influence of military strategic elements and components over the business world is of paramount significance. Clausewitz proposed several principles for effective military strategies. The major principles are – the principle of offensive and defensive, the principle of mass, the principle of maneuver, the principle of surprise, the principle of security and the principle of simplicity. Sun Tzu proposed five elements to succeed – Tao or righteousness, Tien or timing, Di or resources, leadership and finally Fa or managing and discipline.
When drawing a parallel between military and business strategy, similarities and differences are endless. Though their generic considerations are similar to a great extent, the contrasts originate when it comes to the domain of competition and conflict. Business competitions are healthy while the military conflicts evoke deadly consequences. The win or lose situations in both domains incites different results and consequences. In business, it involves financial loss along with employment loss as well, while in a military circle the winning and defeat are always at the cost of destruction of man and properties and environmental degradation.