- Research Feature
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Under the right circumstances, industry initiatives involving “coopetition” among competitors can reduce customers’ reluctance to adopt an innovation.
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Most companies segment their markets by customer demographics or product characteristics and differentiate their offerings by adding features and functions. But the consumer has a different view of the marketplace. He simply has a job to be done and is seeking to “hire” the best product or service to do it. Marketers must adopt that perspective.
Serendipity is not a strategy, yet that’s the extent of most companies’ innovation planning. The importance of innovation to a company’s future is unquestionable. Then why do so few companies have a process for it? The authors of a September 2006 working paper, Crafting Organizational Innovation Processes, address that question.
With increased competition and globally maturing markets, relationship marketing has emerged as the new mantra. Although companies are successfully using customer satisfaction to create closer and more profitable relationships with customers, the myopic pursuit of such relationships often backfires. Consider a U.S.-
Green marketing hasn’t fulfilled its initial promise, but companies can be more effective with it if they realize that a one-size-fits-all strategy doesn’t exist. Consumers swear that they want green products, but in checkout aisles, most revert to more common requirements — convenience, availability, price, quality and performance. The authors show how companies today can choose among several different green strategies targeted to specific customer segments.
Do big discount strategies really prompt new customers to buy more items, more often? Or does promotional pricing actually undermine attempts to increase future spending among existing customers? A recent large-scale study of a U.S. catalog retailer investigated how discount promotion strategies ultimately affect the bottom-line business.
Every company lives in fear of competitors that offer seemingly similar products for much lower prices. Dealing with such discounters is no simple matter, as Hewlett-Packard, May Department Stores, Salomon Brothers and others have discovered. Nevertheless, various strategies — ignoring or blocking the competitor, strengthening your value proposition or even strategic retreat — can help slow or even stop the low-end competitor without destroying the industry’s profit margins.
Even the best companies let their customers down sometimes, and many disappoint frequently. The authors lay much of the blame for this on companies’ obsession with uniqueness and differentiation. According to their analysis, companies are too quick to dismiss “category benefits” as a source of advantage. They explain why companies such as Toyota, Cemex, Orange, Medtronic and Sony are successful because they are simply better at offering what customers really want.
A decade ago, multinational companies seemed poised to dominate in China. Today that picture has changed. Whereas IBM, HP and Compaq had quickly won more than 50% of the personal computer market, for example, Chinese company Legend Group Ltd. is now the number one supplier. Research in 10 industries over the last 10 years reveals a pitched battle of competencies between multinational and local players and points to five strategies that can help multinationals regain the edge.
A four-year study of Japanese business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce initiatives reveals the innovative ways Japanese corporations exploit traditional aspects of Japanese business and consumer retailing — specifically, the consumer’s preference for paying with cash and the willingness of corporations to form cooperative alliances (the keiretsu model) — to further develop the
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