Triage – From French Battlefields To The World Of Digital Marketing

What connects Prosperous Marketing to Napoleon’s army?

This may seem like an unusual question to pose at the beginning of this article. Admittedly, at first glance, parallels between Napoleon’s army and Prosperous Marketing aren’t self evident (excluding quips about Napoleon complexes). However, upon closer inspection the two are in fact linked. The answer to the above question derives from the work of the chief surgeon in Napoleon’s Army – Dominique Jean Larrey.

Larrey invented the concept of Triage (which means to ‘separate’ in French). This process, developed on nineteenth century French battlefields, involved separating patients into one of three categories:

– Those likely to live regardless of the care they received

– Those unlikely to live regardless of the care they received

– Those for whom immediate care might make a difference

Larrey ordered his medics to categorize patients upon arrival and then focus on the final group, regardless of rank or nationality. This radical approach, which focused finite medical resources where they made the biggest difference, saved thousands of lives.

As outlined above, Triage can be defined as:

  1. The assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.
  2. The process of determining the most important people or things from among a large number that require attention:

(Definition source:

The second definition is the most pertinent to Prosperous Marketing. Analogous to a hospital with more sick people than staff, businesses can be described as having an infinite number of marketing objectives that need attention, with a finite number of employees to take care of them. These objectives stem from goals or problems, varying in urgency. Our experts can help businesses to prioritize these objectives and focus limited resources accordingly.

After Napoleon’s defeat Larrey was captured by the Prussians and would have faced execution were it not for being recognized as the famous surgeon who had saved the life of the son of the Prussian General Blucher. Blucher’s son had been severely injured and captured by the French a few years earlier. Larrey, true to the principles of Triage, had attended to the young Prussian officer, rather than a Frenchman in a less precarious condition.

Now, we are not saying that our Triage service will save your life, but it may grant your business a stay of execution. Learn more about our approach to Triage here and simply enquire to receive a quote.

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