Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Outside-in or inside-out?

Bob DeWit and Ron Meyer (2004) describe the competitive strategies of companies for being external vs internal driven. Companies having an inside-out perspective rely on their internal capabilities such as processes, technology and design – creating a competitive advantage that is difficult to imitate. On the contrary, an outside-in approach is more based on market sensing, bonding with customers and monitoring technology, not inventing it. Whereas an inside-out driven company might focus on order planning and generation, an outside-in driven company would focus on fulfilling customer demand, billing and payment.

Wouldn´t you think that a company can succeed only having its emphasis on external market conditions? Understanding what are customer needs and demands, how competition functions and what is the next consumer trend? On the other hand, if your company can offer something unique that customers cannot even dream of, customers would not even understand to build demand unless they see and try the product.

Considering that Apple and Google have built most advanced, easy-to-use and smart products (services) – don´t they show both technological and design capabilities that no-other company possesses? And haven´t they yet built their services purely on what customers are in need of, having the most active consumer dialogues asking for feedback and participation? Therefore, can there be inside-out without outside-in? One without the other?

Hanna Viita