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Beating the Commodity Trap: How to Maximize Your Competitive Position and Increase Your Pricing Power Hardcover – January 12, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard A. D'Aveni is Professor of Strategic Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. The Times of London named him one of the top fifty thinkers in management. He is the author of numerous books, including Hypercompetition, and articles for publications including Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, and CNN.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Press (January 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422103153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422103159
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The title of the book is an obvious eye catcher. That's why I bought it. However, not before long, it turned out to be a cookbook kind of a writing whereby the author cites a series of commoditization situations and then offers a flimsy solution on the basis of other companies' strategies. In other words, he takes different examples of commoditization and provides solutions to those situations with again the examples of companies who tried to attack the situation. Hence, there is no theory at all. Example problems solved by example strageies.

So, if you are a company facing a sort of commoditization situation, you should first go through the pages of this book, find your specific commoditization situation, and then read what other companies did when they faced similar situations. Explanations you will find will be shallow and won't tell you much. Also, yours may be a small company but stil you will have to pick among alternative strategies as those preferred by giant companies like Hilton Group, Wal-Mart etc. This is only to be expected as the solutions in the book are not based on any THEORY at all. "Take the example, try to use it, even if the company in question is a behemoth". This way the book becomes a useless list of many different strategies, more like a patchwork.

But the book suffers from an even more serious shortcoming: It draws on an inside-out approach to strategy. There is no CONSUMER in this approach. There is a list of war-game strategies to choose from and there are situations of commoditization. You are then advised to match your commoditization situation with the possible example solutions. Totally inside-outside. This approach is very very dangerous and I urge the reader to stay away from this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
D'Aveni states today's obvious truth "Commoditization can happen to any firm. Any product, any time." What is not obvious is how to deal with this truth and the author does an excellent job of characterizing commoditization and provides good descriptions of strategies to combat it.

The book does not (and should not) include specific plans of attack other than through example because the complexities of actually implementing the recommended analysis and selecting a response strategy require organizational and market context for your situation. Sometimes readers are looking for "the solution" or "the magic pill" for their specific problem and this book provides you the principles and basis of understanding to start down that path while avoiding fatal mistakes.

The book does provide substantiated principles and a structure that can be used with your organizational and market context to beat the commodity trap. These principles are non-trivial, presented in an organized way and D'Aveni should be commended for providing this new framework.

Here are some points/quotes I enjoyed from the book:

a. "Once a company is caught in a commodity trap, differentiation is rarely enough to get it back out."

b. In D'Aveni's experience "commoditization is usually the result of failure to act early enough"

c. With regard to just discounting prices to battle the competition D'aveni states "This has the unfortunate and unintended effect of increasing the depth and severity of the commodity trap.'

d.
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Format: Hardcover
The key objective of this book is to help marketers understand the prevalence and irreversible trend of commoditization in low-to-high-end markets. Professor D'Aveni maintains that marketers can stake out effective positions for their products and services by utilizing the price-benefit equation and the price-benefit map to escape, destroy, and if ideally suited, take advantage of commodity traps created by market rivals.

Professor D'Aveni categorized commodity trap into three types, namely deterioration, proliferation, and escalation in which they differ significantly in terms of how market rivals combine price with benefits to their products and services. In these three commodity traps, marketers can offer customers to get more for less or alternatively identify a sweet spot to create new customer segments and benefits in the price-benefit map. In this book, Professor underscores the turbulent and shaky state of economy since the 2008 Global financial crisis and suggests marketers to anticipate and diagnosis how commodity traps occur and develop before formulation of threat management strategies for responding to different traps.

In a nutshell, this book has its unique value to marketers. First, commodity traps are pernicious but unavoidable due to rapid pace of technological disruption, globalization, and shifting customer needs. Accordingly, competitive advantages are not sustainable if marketers cannot beat such commodity traps. This book effectively guides marketers how to recognize and how to respond (re-seizing, outflanking, selecting, containing, and sidestepping strategies) to the threat of commoditization. Second, the appendix (Pp.
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