Al is a legendary marketing strategist and the bestselling author (or co-author) of 11 books on marketing including Positioning, Marketing Warfare, Focus, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR and his latest War in the Boardroom (2009).
After graduating from DePauw University, Al worked in the advertising department of General Electric before founding his own advertising agency in New York City, Ries Cappiello Colwell in 1963. The agency later changed to marketing strategy firm, Trout & Ries.
In 1972, Al co-authored the now infamous three-part series of articles declaring the arrival of the Positioning era in Advertising Age magazine. The concept of positioning revolutionized how people viewed advertising and marketing. Marketing was traditionally thought of as communications, but successful brands are those that find an open hole in the mind and then become the first to fill the hole with their brand name.
Last year, Advertising Age magazine choose the 75 most important ad moments of the last 75 years celebrating the publication’s 75th anniversary. The emergence of positioning came in at number #56. Ad Age commented on how the concept remains just as relevant in today’s environment, “The positioning era doesn’t end. What became a part of the marketing lexicon in the early ‘70’s holds its own in the textbooks of today.”
Al was president of the Association of Industrial Advertisers (now the Business Marketing Association) and the Advertising Club of New York. He was also chairman of the Club’s Andy Awards. In 1989, Sales & Marketing Executives International gave him its “Tops in Marketing” award. In 1999, PR Week magazine named him one of the 100 most influential PR people of the 20th century.
Always one for controversy, Al’s book, The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR, has generated enormous interest in the marketing community. The book made both the Business Week and The Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. In addition to being reviewed by these publications, it was also reviewed by USA Today, Harvard Business Review, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times and many other publications.
Al currently writes a monthly marketing column for AdAge.com and appears on the RiesReport.com. Al’s favorite activities include snorkeling, horseback riding and driving with the top down. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Mary Lou.
Jack Trout is an owner of Trout & Partners, a consulting firm.
Trout started his business career in the advertising department of General Electric. From there he went on to become a divisional advertising manager at Uniroyal. Then he joined Al Ries in the advertising agency and marketing strategy firm where they worked together for over twenty-six years.