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Creating Competitive Advantage: Give Customers a Reason to Choose You Over Your Competitors Hardcover – April 25, 2006
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-- David Neeleman, CEO, JetBlue Airways
"Jaynie Smith presents you with the most valuable marketing edge you can ever have -- and it won't cost you one cent… Just be sure that you unleash it before your competitors do… The sooner you read [Creating Competitive Advantage], the sooner you'll profit from it."
-- Jay Conrad Levinson, author of Guerrilla Marketing
"Any book that tells you how to be different from your competitors is worth reading. It's what good strategy is all about. Creating Competitive Advantage is just such a book."
-- Jack Trout, author of Trout on Strategy
“With engaging writing, telling insights, and inescapable logic, Jaynie Smith shows us how Creating Competitive Advantage is key to a successful business.”
-- Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence: Science & Practice
“Creating Competitive Advantage is a weapon every business person needs in their arsenal to survive in today’s tough world.”
–Jack Stack, President & CEO, SRC Holdings Corp., author of The Great Game of Business
Jaynie Smith’s experience as an advisor to scores of CEO’s has been distilled in this comprehensive look at sound competitive strategies. It’s back to the basics, an exercise every business needs to revisit!”
-- Clark Johnson, former CEO, Pier I Imports
"Compelling! The clarity with which Jaynie Smith presents her message is particularly valuable because the concept is, among business leaders, frequently discussed but often understood only superficially. Finding and using your advantage is the key to not only survival but more importantly, attractively profitable survival. Should be required reading for business leaders."
— Chuck Lillis, former CEO, MediaOne
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
In her research, the Florida chair for The Executive Committee, an international organization of more than 11,000 CEOs, claims to have found only two CEOs of more than 1,000 middle market companies that could succinctly and clearing articulate their firm's competitive advantage.
According to the author, the five fatal flaws of most companies:
1. They do not have a competitive advantage but think they do.
2. They have a competitive advantage but don't know what it is--so they opt to lower prices.
3. They know what their competitive advantage is but neglect to tell clients.
4. They mistake "strengths" for competitive advantages.
5. They ignore on competitive advantages when making strategic and operational decisions.
These flaws, the author states, need not be fatal. In ten short, yet thought provoking chapters, she guides the reader through a plan that identifies his or her competitive strengths and prepares an action plan to exploit them.
"Back to basics" is this simple, well-written book's message. Yet, it is a message business leaders will ignore at their firm's peril.
Smith's book is on point with her advice on how to put creating competitive advantage to work in your organization. At the end of each chapter is a summary of the major points and reminders of the lessons learned from the case studies.
Smith uses ample and interesting case studies to make her points. However, what would normally be a strength turns into a weakness as Smith repeatedly pounds home that these are "her clients." Unfortunately, I've seen this same problem with speakers. Often, in an attempt to build credibility, speakers will talk about "my client will . . . ," or "I have a client who . . . " or "one of my clients . . . " The difficulty is, this becomes a hard sell instead of simply building credibility. Smith's book suffers from this difficulty. What could have been an excellent work, and very timely for the present economic conditions, is diminished by what comes across as self-promotion.
One piece of advice Smith gives is "So brag a little." I'm uncomfortable with that advice. I understand that companies need to make sure the customer base knows of the advantages of dealing with them. However, especially in this market, I'm finding a real push back on a hard sell. So if you can brag a little without it being perceived as a hard sell, then perhaps that will work for you. In Smith's case, the perception of this reader is that she went much too far in "bragging a little."
Having said all that, I still recommend that you read this book and pull out the many good points Smith makes. You may have to work to get by some of the self-promotion, but there is a still enough solid advice to make Smith's book worthwhile.
Once a business creates a list of CA’s it is important that they are verified by their customer base. Because the only perceptions that matter are those of the customer. This book is great mix of theoretical and practical examples from the hundreds of business clients she has served. It is a “must read” book for any business leaders library.
This reminded me my first marketing class in the business school. After listening to a student proudly spewing buzz words, a professor (now at Harvard) said, "I do believe that you are ready for job interviews. Now can you tell me in your own words what exactly have you been trying to say?" Silence followed.
Examples? I'll use just one of many in the first 20 pages. In her example of JTECH on page 10, Ms. Smith states that at HER workshop, "JTACH executives set about determining exactly what the company's strongest competitive advantage was. It's service was great, it's equipment top of the line, it's costs competitive. But that what the competition said, too. JTECH needed a simple, strong, accurate, and convincing statement to differentiate itself from its competitors.
JTECH team brainstormed at the workshop and afterward to determine and articulate JTECH's best competitive advantage - in straightforward, quantifiable terms. They kicked it around among themselves, asked their customers, and finally nailed it down:
Of the fifty largest chains who used paging,
100 percent use JTECH."
Just a few pages later (not further than 20) the author differentiates competitive advantage from a statement.
Wait a minute, you just said that "Of the fifty largest chains who used paging,
100 percent use JTECH," was an advantage (not just any, THE STRONGEST ONE!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A useful source of marketing ideas. Easy read with practical anecdotes and common sense instead of a lot of phsyco-theory.Published 10 months ago by Allen Turk
Book was recommended by a friend and was a good read. It requires you step back and look at yourself differently.Published 10 months ago by Jeff Robinson
Great book. very common sense advice for getting ahead in business ethically.Published 11 months ago by John Bamforth
Great information on how to differentiate your business from the competition.Published 23 months ago by David Hudson
This book is FULL of information. I give this book to each of my sales people and constantly discuss the content. It has truly improved our closing ratio.Published on January 30, 2014 by Mixed Nut Myself
If you studied some comp adv before, you will probably not learn anything new.
Examples are great though. Read more
Great book. Easy to read and enjoy but informative and accurate. Would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in increasing competitive advantagePublished on November 15, 2013 by lna
I like how she talks continually about touting your competitive advantages from the customers point of view. Read morePublished on November 1, 2013 by Tom
I went into this book having tried to develop C.A. previously without much success for a commodity business. Read morePublished on October 12, 2013 by NovaGirl