Tilt: Shifting Your Strategy from Products to Customers Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Shift your strategy downstream. Why do your customers buy from you rather than from your competitors? If you think the answer is your superior products, think again. Products are important, of course. For decades, businesses sought competitive advantage almost exclusively in activities related to new product creation. They won by building bigger factories, by finding cheaper raw materials or labor, or by coming up with more efficient ways to move and store inventory - and by inventing exciting new products that competitors could not replicate. But these sources of competitive advantage are being irreversibly leveled by globalization and technology. Today, competitors can rapidly decipher and deploy the recipe for your product’s secret sauce and use it against you. "Upstream", product-related advantages are rapidly eroding.
This does not mean that competitive advantage is a thing of the past. Rather, its center has shifted. As marketing professor Niraj Dawar compellingly argues, advantage is now found "downstream", where companies interact with customers in the marketplace. Tilt will help you grasp the global nature of this downstream shift and its profound implications for your strategy and your organization.
- One credit a month to pick any title from our entire premium selection to keep (you’ll use your first credit now).
- Unlimited listening on select audiobooks, Audible Originals, and podcasts.
- You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
- $14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel online anytime.
|Listening Length||6 hours and 1 minute|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||March 21, 2014|
|Publisher||Gildan Media, LLC|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #209,743 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1,121 in Marketing (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,635 in Strategy & Competition
#2,443 in Business Management (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
What other strategic changes are involved in the "Tilt" from upstream to downstream? According to the author, the changes include:
* The customer, rather than the factory, becomes the core of the business.
* The central strategic question changes from "How much more can we sell?" to "Why do customers buy from us?" and "What else does the customer need?"
* Businesses now need to focus on how to reduce customers' costs and risks.
* Competitive advantage can be gained by managing the flow of information in marketplace networks.
* Competitive advantage can be gained by using marketing to convince customers that particular criteria (which happen to favour your products) should be used to determine purchasing decisions.
Among the many useful insights contained in this book, I was particularly struck by the importance of reducing customers' costs and risks, and by the author's assertion that any business has information about its customers which customers don't know and can't find out on their own. Nearly all businesses work on the assumption that the price which they put on their products or services is the price at which customers value their products and services, but the reality is that customers factor in costs and risks when evaluating different options, and the seller can command a higher margin by delivering a solution with lower costs and risks.
This is definitely one of the most interesting and insightful books on marketing that I have read. It demonstrates that old-style marketing (pre-social-networking) is not dead, but it also shows that a clear understanding of the customer purchase decision is more important than ever.
Today, as Dawar explains in this book, the center of gravity has shifted to downstream activities. Manufacturing and even new product development can easily be outsourced, so there is no longer any competitive advantage in controlling upstream activities. The key resource is now the customer’s mind. In this new world, companies compete on economies of scope: rather than asking “how can we sell more of what we make to customers?”, they are asking, “what else does the customer need?” A great example is Amazon, which doesn’t sell better stuff, it sells stuff better.
To succeed in the new tilted landscape, CEOs and marketers (and may I add, salespeople) need to be asking themselves new questions.
• Why do customers buy from us?
• Why do potential customers not buy from us?
• What else does the customer need?
• How else can we slash the customer’s costs and risks?
• Are we criterion takers, or criterion makers?
• My own addition: how else can we help them grow revenues or serve their customers better?
How does a company compete for downstream competitive advantage? Although the book considers both B2B and B2C companies, I’ll focus here on the former. In Part 2 of the book, Dawar explains how a company can use its “perch”, or higher and wider perspective of the market, to bring innovations and fresh insights to customers. Because they deal with large number and wide range of different customers, they can see the whole forest, and use their knowledge to relay and connect ideas, provide benchmarking information, and make predictions that add value.
The second section of the book dives deep into the scarce resource that we should all be competing for: the customer’s attention and cognitive effort. Dawar poses an interesting thought experiment. If Coca-Cola somehow lost all its physical assets, would they be able to raise funds to restart their business? The answer is clearly yes. But if somehow the entire world got partial amnesia and forgot about the Coca-Cola brand, would anyone invest billions of dollars in the business? Clearly not. The point is that a brand, or a customer’s perception of your company, is a critical asset because it lowers the customer’s costs and risks of making a decision to buy. They don’t have to expend much attention or think very deeply about their decision.
That’s why downstream competitive advantage can be not just sustainable but accumulative. Through network effects, habit, and confirmation bias, the rich brands tend to get richer by gaining more and more mind share. One interesting insight the book provides is that what is important is not being first to market, but first to mind. Anyone remember the Erwise browser or Chux disposable diapers?
The incumbents have managed to define and dominate the customers’ purchase criteria, and the only ways for a challenger to overturn this dominance is to either provide an offering that is clearly superior in the important criteria, or change the criteria of purchase. You can either be a criterion taker, or a criterion maker.
There’s so much more I could write about this excellent book, but I’ll let you take it from here. Let me just say that if you aim to be an intrapreneurial sales professional, you need to read this book soon, and you need to sit down and seriously reflect on the six questions above.
Top reviews from other countries
We put so much effort into making the product better that it consumes all our efforts. If we put the same amount of effort into matching our product with customer needs and owning their buying criteria, we build a much stronger and more enduring competitive advantage.
Read it - it will change your business life forever.