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Beyond Price by Mary Kay Plantes and Robert D. Finfrock

The full title of this book by Mary Kay Plantes and Robert D. Finfrock is

Beyond Price: Differentiate Your Company in Ways That Really Matter“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of Four Stars. This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

A leadership approach, for big rather than small businesses

Beyond Price is a book about how to escape harsh price competition by differentiating your business so it was bound to catch my attention.

The problem with reading a book that deals with your own special interest is that you find yourself thinking “I don’t do it like that, it’s wrong.”It isn’t of course, it’s just a different perspective.

The book takes what I think of as a leadership perspective on the issue of differentiation rather than a strategic perspective (think Michael Porter’s Competitive Advantage book) or a customer driven marketing perspective.

An eight step process is advocated:

1 – Understand the root cause of your problem (why you’ve become a victim of commoditisation).
2 – Forget customer driven; become market driven (an interesting perspective which I agree with – while it is useful to ask customers what they want, they are very limited in what they can imagine so you should go beyond what they say they want)
3 – Conduct a strategic assessment.
4 – Design a new strategically differentiated business model
5 – Realign the leadership team
6 – Create a meaningful corporate aspiration
7 – Establish strategic goals and create an annual planning process to achieve them
8 – Align culture with strategy

Personally I’d have preferred more attention to issues like market segmentation, the key elements of customer value, creating a value proposition and a business defining core offer.

With so much emphasis on leadership and taking the full team with you on the journey, the impression I had was that the book is more suited to a big, publicly owned business than a small business where the business owner is the main driving force.

I suspect that Beyond Price will be particularly useful for senior managers who are strong on marketing skills – so don’t need the bits that are missing from the book – and weak on leadership and culture change which the book covers well.

It is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.




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