- Research Feature
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Most companies can benefit from mass customization, yet few do. The key is to think of it as a process for aligning a business with its customers’ needs.
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If you devise strategy by thinking only about the positioning of your company’s product or service, you are missing a huge opportunity.
Many large and mature firms — which still form most of the economy — have difficulty analyzing the opportunities and difficulties created by the Internet. Here is a planning process, validated at several established companies, that puts e-business into perspective and helps make it manageable. “Using our e-business planning process,” write the authors, “senior management in established companies can identify attractive e-business initiatives, analyze their functional scope and assess the sustainability of the benefits.”
In an increasingly environmentally conscious and cost-conscious world, suppliers can make their business both more sustainable and more profitable by focusing on services that extend the efficiency and value of their products.
Last September, executives from Arla Foods amba, the Danish dairy giant, probably paid scant attention to a series of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad in the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten. Six months later, they learned a hard lesson about religion and commerce.
Electronic information can easily overwhelm people with large volumes of data. An abundance of information often strains human limits: attention, memory, motivation or other factors. In response to this challenge, software that assists humans in filtering and organizing information into more digestible amounts and formats have appeared (Alba et al.,
Consumers are a fickle lot. Case in point: It’s long been known that a consumer will be unhappy if he or she realizes that someone else got a better deal. So marketers tread very carefully when considering a promotion that targets one set of consumers for fear of alienating another.H
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.
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.
Kellogg‘s profit margins and the stature of its brands both declined throughout the 1990s. A wake-up call came in 1999 when the venerable company lost market leadership. The author describes how it embarked upon an ambitious and, for the food industry, novel strategy, emphasizing profit and value over volume and employing compensation and organization strategies to help cascade the change through the company and re-establish its innovativeness, profitability and reputation.
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