For forty years managers have been exhorted to "stay close to the customer and ahead of the competition." And with good reason Research now shows that market driven organizations outperform their rivals. Given the obvious benefits, why do so many companies fail to become market driven? Because their internal processes, structures, incentives, and controls get in the way, says George Day, one of the world's leading authorities on mar keting Strategy. Building on his pathbreaking book Market Driven Strategy and a decade of experience in coaching firms to deliver superior customer value, Day presents for the first time a battle tested hame work for creating the market-driven organization. In eminently readable prose, Day argues that in successful market driven organizations, three key elements -- capabilities, culture, and configuration -- are aligned to the market. Day explores the distinctive market sensing and market relating capabilities that are at the heart of the market-driven companies. He draws on examples of such market-driven firms as Intuit, Wal-Mart, Virgin Airlines, Disney, and Gillette to illustrate how intimate knowledge of their customers and markets gives these firms a powerful advantage over rivals. By contrast, Day shows how failure to align the organization to the market can result in such mishaps as IBM's loss of leadership of the computer market or Motorola's stumble in shifting from analog to digital cellular phone systems. Using case studies of Owens Corning, Sears, and the Eurotunnel, Day provides a concise roadmap to managers who want to strengthen the orientation of their organizations to the market. He concludes with a detailed diagnostic questionnaire to help managers assess their own progress Here at last are all the insights and tools necessary to construct a company with superior skills for understanding, attracting, and keeping valuable customers.
Discussion Group Questions 1. How does a market orientation help a firm gain a competitive advantage and enhance financial performance? 2. What is the difference between being market-driven and customer compelled? 3. How do organizations learn about their markets and act on the knowledge? How important is a superior ability to anticipate the requirements of customers and the reactions of competitors in the markets your company serves? 4. Why has the maintenance of close relationships with customers emerged as top priority for many firms? Why would your customers want to enter into a relationship? 5. What impact will the internet have on the ability of your firms to sustain close relationships with your most valuable customers? 6. Many firms are adopting hybrid organizational designs. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of structure? Would it work for your firm? 7. Use the diagnostic questions at the back of this book to assess the market orientation of your firm. Would your co-workers and superiors agree with you? What are the obstacles to becoming more market-oriented?