The Customer Trap

The Customer Trap

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American business is dysfunctional. Companies of all sizes follow the mistaken belief that their products and services are best sold through mega-customers with pervasive market reach, such as Amazon and Walmart. Far too many business leaders fail to realizea€”until it is too latea€”that the relentless pursuit of volume at all cost is not the key to long-term profits and success. The Customer Trap: How to Avoid the Biggest Mistake in Business is Thomas and Wilkinsona€™s sequel to The Distribution Trap: Keeping Your Innovations from Becoming Commodities, which won the Berry-American Marketing Association Prize for the best marketing book of 2010. The Distribution Trap contended that cracking the big-box channel is not necessarily the Holy Grail that many marketers assume it is. The Customer Trap takes this thesis to the next level by arguing that all companies, regardless of the industry there are in, should maintain control over their sales and distribution channels. Volume forgone by avoiding the mass market is more than offset by higher margins and stronger brand equity. The Customer Trap shows that giving power to a customer who violates qthe ten percent ruleq sets a company up for ruin. Yet, when presented with the opportunity to push more sales through large customers, most decision-makers jump at the chance. As a result, marketing has come to resemble a relentless quest for efficiency and scale. Demands from mega-customers in the form of discounts, deals, and incentives erode the integrity of the brand and what it originally stood for. Lower margins become the norm and cost-saving compromises on quality take over. In time, the brand suffers and, in some cases, fails outright. Stark examples from Oreck Vacuum Cleaners, Rubbermaid, Goodyear, Levia€™s, and others illustrate the perils of falling into the qcustomer trap.q This book demonstrates in vivid detail how to thrive by controlling your sales and distribution. The authors show how many firms, such as STIHL Inc., etailz, Apple, Red Ant Pants, and Columbia Paints a Coatings, have prospered by avoiding the qcustomer trapqa€”and how your company can have similar success. What youa€™ll learn Why making a deal with a mega-retailer is often a bad idea How innovators allow mega-customers to dilute the value of their products and services, while letting them impose costs and force changes in strategic direction and operational control How to take back control of your sales and distribution, using the newest direct marketing techniques and the most innovative electronic platforms How innovators can avoid the distribution trap, build a sustainable business, and maintain the brand equity and margins of the products and services they worked so hard to create Who this book is for Leaders of businesses of all sizes. Table of Contents Chapter 1. The Biggest Business Mistake Chapter 2. The Customer Trap and Brand Destruction Chapter 3. Turning Your Innovations into Commodities Chapter 4. When Sales Channels Get Hijacked Chapter 5. Living the Outsourcing CompulsionChapter 6. The STIHL Story Chapter 7. Innovation's Second Step Chapter 8. Getting the Data and Doing Marketing Right Chapter 9. Going Global and Keeping the Faith Chapter 10. Staying Local and IndependentNo, he looks at his chain saw and says, well, you know, we dona#39;t have to put chrome on that chain, we dona#39;t have to put ball bearings in the ... We dona#39;t need a geardriven automatic oiler, we can put in one that takes a little pressure off the crank case thata#39;s manual. ... strategy was to use the McCulloch brand to market its portfolio of lawn care products through The Home Depot, Kmart, Lowea#39;s, and Sears.

Title:The Customer Trap
Author:Andrew R. Thomas, Timothy J. Wilkinson
Publisher:Apress - 2015-03-31


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