The Trojan Horse – brainwave or illegal weapon?

Everybody knows the Trojan Horse as the stroke of genius used by the Greek army to finally enter Troy during the Trojan War after 10 years of siege. 

Decisive battles nowadays happen with every passing moment. But it’s not the ancient battleground. It’s in our economy where we can watch battles between companies every day. The question here is: How can you win these battles for more customers?

In this article let’s have a look at one of the latest and most impressive marketing strategies: the Trojan Horse Marketing. We will figure out how this new trend is used, what experts are thinking about that new strategy and how it can be abused.

What is Trojan Horse Marketing?

“When the Trojans saw the huge wooden horse, they brought it in. Why? Because they perceived it as a gift of some value.”

This is what I found on a website called MindValley Labs where the authors discuss the latest online marketing tactics and strategies. They are selling reports and advice to other companies like a consultant company in that special field.

“The reality is, when people see a marketing message or a promotion, their walls go up further. Trojan Horse Marketing is defined as getting your promo message across, past the prospects’ barriers which have been erected to block out those promotional messages to begin with.”

 That’s why you have to come up with an idea in order to get into the fortress named target group. And that certainly is not easy at all. Potential customers today are generally quite skeptical, but

“When they see your Trojan horse, they see it as a gift from heaven, and they bring that gift inside the barriers.”

That’s what all companies are looking for and that’s how Trojan Horse Marketing works.

Who uses Trojan Horse Marketing and why?

Like its famous antecessor Viral and Guerilla Marketing Trojan Horse Marketing is more or less born out of necessity.

It’s the necessity to get the message right to your target group but also the necessity of not spending too much money on expensive promotion campaigns. That’s why Trojan Horse Marketing was invented and at the first moment used mostly by small and medium-sized enterprises.

Nowadays it’s also used by big firms like Red Bull, Bosch and upcoming stars just like Bionade.

The most famous example of successful Trojan Horse Marketing is that the German company Kärcher - the world's largest manufacturer of pressure washers - cleaned the presidential faces on Mount Rushmore.

Another article I found on the web which analyses a new book about Trojan Marketing - published by the German authors R. Anlanger and W. Engel – pointed out that this marketing “campaign” was so successful because

“Kärcher placed with this action in the center of American national pride. And so in the middle of the hearts of Americans.”

The abuse of Trojan Horse Marketing

After reading all these positive opinions about Trojan Horse Marketing I finally found an article named: “Beware of Trojan Horse Marketing” where the author underlines that Trojan Horse Marketing can also be abused in a very cruel manner.

The author Dr. Crutchfield is medical director of Crutchfield Dermatology and mainly discusses the relation between patients and physicians.

He mentions for example a patient-retention program which is provided by company x to physicians in order to foster customer loyalty. In fact this company offers the physicians to send postcards to the patients as a small gift. Finally company x will use the contact dates which they got from the physicians to contact the patients directly. They try to sell their products directly to their “new” customers.

The author describes this strategy in the following way:

“I call this "Trojan horse marketing" because it looks like a gift but it turns out it can cost you your patients.”

This example shows that all is not gold that glitters. Where there is success you will often find abuse.

Nevertheless Trojan Horse Marketing stays from my point of view on of the most innovative and most interesting marketing strategies which can be used to promote an existing product or to create new market.


What do you think about that new strategy?

Is Trojan Horse Marketing a “stroke of genius” or just an “illegal weapon”?


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“Sports Fans, Blame Yourselves.”

”The system of compensation almost surely contributed in an important way to the crisis”

This quotation by Joseph E. Stiglitz, one of the most famous living economists, shows one general attitude towards executive pay all over the world.

Generally speaking the public opinion is that the payment system of executives in big companies, especially in banks, strongly contributed to the worldwide financial and economic crisis. But do they just get too much money or is the idea of paying executives with shares of the company they are working in just a “rotten apple” like many financial experts already warned before.

The average citizen just complains about the dizzy height of executive pay today. Why do they get so much money and do they really deserve it?

These are questions we can discuss for hours and many experts already did it for us. For this reason I would like to try another approach to that very serious topic.

What about soccer players? They also earn millions of dollars a year and nowadays nobody talks about that. I don’t want to affirm that the payment system of soccer players contributed to the financial crisis, even though this is an interesting point of view, I just want to discuss one question: “Who deserves more money, an executive of a big company or a professional soccer player?”

Why are athletes’ salaries so high?

While I was searching for some answers on the web I found an astonishing article about athletes’ salaries. This article, published by GENE CALLAHAN is titled “Athletes' Salaries Too High? Sports Fans, Blame Yourselves“ and describes one very interesting contradiction.

On the one hand there are the people who pillory the high earnings of sportsmen nowadays. On the other hand these people are very often the sports fans paying hundreds of dollars for tickets or merchandise articles of their favorite athletes. It is indeed a quite strange way to look at this topic since Mr. CALLAHAN blames the fans for paying too much to the sports clubs by buying millions of football shirts and tickets. But if you think about this issue you will certainly realize that there is lots of truth in it.

Finally the author claims that fans also spend a fortune on sport channels and justify with these enormous expenditures the high salaries of sportsmen.

Do executives deserve such high salaries?

In order to come back to the executive payment system let’s have a closer look at the extremely interesting blog of Prof. Hans-Erich Mueller named “Executive Pay & Managervergütung”.

Prof. Mueller is looking at the topic of executive pay in a different way.


This blog is like “the land of milk and honey” for somebody like me who is searching for opinions and answers about the executive pay topic. The author quotes very interesting opinions and issues he found in newspapers or on the web and then describes in a very concise way what he is thinking about this topic. Sometimes he raises further exciting questions in order to start a conversation with his audience.

This blog certainly is very informative and I felt very cozy reading it.

“There is a debate about the tremendous rise in top executive pay. For some people it is only injustice, for others it is also a reason for corporate scandals and financial crisis.”

is one of the phrases I would like to mention here. This sentence does not answer my question if executive deserve these high salaries but it shows that I’m not the only person talking about that issue.

I can surely recommend reading the blog of Prof. Mueller.

Who determines these high salaries?

Since I’ve always been interested in Strategic Management I was trying to find a relationship between Strategic Management payment systems in order to know who determines the high salaries of executives.

Fortunately I found one of the greatest blogs I’ve ever read on the internet. This blog created by Freek Vermeulen - an Associate Professor of Strategic & International Management at the London Business School – discusses several issues of Strategic Management.

The blog entry I was searching for is named “Too hot to handle: Explaining excessive top management remuneration”.

Mr. Vermeulen points out in a very impressive way that parameters like the performance of a company do not determine the salaries of the top management.

“That research has tried, has tried hard and harder, but just could not deliver much evidence that CEO remuneration is determined by firm performance.”


The author reveals that the board of directors – actually nominated by the CEO of the company – determines the management remuneration system. There is no doubt that the CEO will think very accurately about which person he will nominate for the board of directors.

“…bring in the rich guys; they’ll make you rich too!”

The question that immediately came to my mind is: Who is going to determine the salary of sportsmen? Are the sports fans in charge of that? Do managers determine these salaries? Or is it just the market price of a soccer player which determines his salary? What do you think?


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posted by Euphorion






Today’s top match… Ackermann vs. Ballack

I think that will be great match this evening. I’ll watch it with my colleagues in the tiny, funny pub near Kurfürstendamm. My father – one of the greatest soccer expert alive – told me that this will be THE soccer event of the year.

The betting agencies do not really show a favourite and I’m not able to give a business forecast.

Sorry, did I mix something up? I don’t think so. It’s all about money. Money makes the (business) world go round and money makes the ball look round.

In this part of my blog I will discuss one essential question. Who deserves more money? Josef Ackermann or Micheal Ballack? And I’m sure, with your contribution I’ll find the answer to that question.

Let’s have a running start by discussing how much they really earn.

What do you think? Who got more money in 2007? Just post your answer right here…