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Simply Better: Winning and Keeping Customers by Delivering What Matters Most

Patrick Barwise Sean Meehan



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Harvard Business Review Press
01 August 2004
Customer services
Most executives believe that winning and keeping customers requires offering something unique. But as physical products are seen as increasingly hard to differentiate, companies resort to branding, gimmicks, and thinking outside the box. Meanwhile, customers are less satisfied than they were a decade ago.

Patrick Barwise and Sean Meehan argue that most companies have taken differentiation so far that they've left their customers behind. Customers don't want bells and whistles and don't care about trivial differences between brands. What they really want are quality products, reliable services, and fair value for money. Yet most companies consistently fail to meet these basic customer needs.

Simply Better is a no-nonsense, back-to-basics manifesto for today's businesses. Barwise and Meehan argue that successful differentiation lies not in unique selling propositions, but in generic category benefits, such as good service, on-time delivery, and quality products, that any company can provide. The key is to deliver these consistently better than competitors. Illustrating this customer-focused differentiation through vivid examples of companies, including Toyota, P&G, Hilti, Tesco, and Ryanair, Simply Better outlines an actionable framework managers can use to:

Understand what customers really value and why they buy the brands they do Discover basic, unmet needs ripe for reliable solutions Channel customer dissatisfaction into performance improvements Balance in-the-box thinking in strategy and innovation with out-of-the-box thinking in advertising and communications Create a learning culture that continuously responds to changing customer needs While being unique might be exciting and appealing, it doesn't drive business success. Simply Better shows how meeting and exceeding the most ordinary of customer expectations can lead to extraordinary and lasting rewards.
By:   Patrick Barwise, Sean Meehan
Imprint:   Harvard Business Review Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 247mm,  Width: 163mm,  Spine: 22mm
Weight:   539g
ISBN:   9780875843988
ISBN 10:   0875843980
Pages:   240
Publication Date:   01 August 2004
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Patrick Barwise is Professor of Management and Marketing at London Business School. Sean Meehan is the Martin Hilti Professor of Marketing and Change Management at IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Reviews for Simply Better: Winning and Keeping Customers by Delivering What Matters Most

It's all good stuff and ultimately proves that consumers care more about basic benefits than unique selling propositions. Edge 20050805 This is a book about marketing for people who have read too many books about marketing... [Simply Better] is a welcome book that sheds light on a glaring deficiency in contemporary business culture... the empathy gap that exists in all too many executive suites. Financial Times 20050803

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