Magazine article Management Review

From "Make and Sell" to "Sense and Respond."

Magazine article Management Review

From "Make and Sell" to "Sense and Respond."

Article excerpt

Marketing people, traditionally concerned with competition, products and customers, face a future in which competition will become situational, rather than institutional. Products will become components of service responses, customers will become collaborators and know-how will replace plants and equipment as an organization's primary assets. These sea changes will take place as managers grapple with the challenge of globalizing the company and managing multiple, simultaneous and conflicting relationships with other firms- and dealing with all these issues in an environment of greater uncertainty about unformed public policy.

Product-centered companies try to make their products as responsive to market needs and wants as possible. They think of services as ways to enhance the attractiveness of their offerings. Service-centered companies try to define customer needs in terms of their particular range of competence. They think of products as components of complete responses. Knowing on which side of the product-services continuum a company wants to be is strategically important, however, because the objectives, measurements, investments and opportunities appropriate for one side are generally inappropriate for the other (see chart).

Forces that drive companies toward one side or the other of the continuum include the following:

* Their view of the values most important to the markets they serve, or wish to enter.

* Which of the components they make and which they buy.

* The length of their product cycles and the uniqueness of their offerings. …

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