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Marketplace Masters: How Professional Service Firms Compete to Win

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0275981198
ISBN-10: 0275981193
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book represents some great research. The material on the right way to achieve differentiation is worth the price of the book. Lowe provides ample evidence that the approaches to differentiation used most by most professional service firms are not necessarily the most successful approaches....The author's basic premise is that too many professional service firms are selling the same thing, the same way, for the same price. She claims that you can use the information in Marketplace Masters to move beyond your marketplace nearsightedness. I think she provides a good resource from which firm leaders can derive a better plan of action than they have now-if they have one at all."-Journal of Management Consulting/Consulting to Management

?This book represents some great research. The material on the right way to achieve differentiation is worth the price of the book. Lowe provides ample evidence that the approaches to differentiation used most by most professional service firms are not necessarily the most successful approaches....The author's basic premise is that too many professional service firms are selling the same thing, the same way, for the same price. She claims that you can use the information in Marketplace Masters to move beyond your marketplace nearsightedness. I think she provides a good resource from which firm leaders can derive a better plan of action than they have now-if they have one at all.?-Journal of Management Consulting/Consulting to Management

?Marketplace Masters offers pratical advice for how to increase, in a systematic and disciplined way, a PSF's strategic marketing infastructure. The book's lessons are supported by 15 in-depth case studies, pulled from a variety of professional service industries: executive, search, advertising, HR consulting, legal services, information technology consulting, accouting, engineering, and market research. Furthermore, the insights and conclusions are supported by five years of annual research studies undertaken by the author's firm specifically on the practices of PSFs....[t]his book is geared toward and appropriate for professionals and practitioners; partners, owners, and executives in professional services firms.?-Journal of Services Marketing

"Marketplace Masters offers pratical advice for how to increase, in a systematic and disciplined way, a PSF's strategic marketing infastructure. The book's lessons are supported by 15 in-depth case studies, pulled from a variety of professional service industries: executive, search, advertising, HR consulting, legal services, information technology consulting, accouting, engineering, and market research. Furthermore, the insights and conclusions are supported by five years of annual research studies undertaken by the author's firm specifically on the practices of PSFs....[t]his book is geared toward and appropriate for professionals and practitioners; partners, owners, and executives in professional services firms."-Journal of Services Marketing

"A brutally accurate assessment of the Professional Services Industry. But wait there's more! Suzanne Lowe offers a cure. Read this one."-Tom Markert, Global Chief Marketing Officer ACNielsen

.,."[P]rovides documented proof that successful marketing strategies will work in professional development firms. Her use of case studies from a number of professions lifts us out of our insular focus on our own industry and gives us direction."-Patty Grimes, Director, Client Services Torys LLP

"The Masters' stories are right on! I found myself having a favorite company with each story I read. Kudos for the groundwork in digging up and plowing through the hows of these successful examples from which we should all learn and apply."-Silvia L. Coulter, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer Dorsey & Whitney LLP

.,."[A] 'must read' for leaders of professional service firms. One of the best researched books ever published on the topic of marketing professional services. Packed with practical insights and in-depth examples--read this before your competition does!"-Arthur Middlebrooks, Adjunct Professor of Marketing University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

"Marketplace Masters makes a significant contribution to the professional firm marketing field by crafting a compelling case for the importance of research and analysis in guiding marketing efforts. These topics are not often addressed in other, supposedly comprehensive, marketing texts."-David Maister, Consultant and Author, Managing the Professional Service Firm

"Drawing on years of research and a rich array of case studies, Suzanne Lowe conveys the many marketing challenges facing today's professional services firms and offers insightful advice for overcoming them. Her argument that firms must go beyond image-based positioning and branding campaigns to truly differentiate themselves is compelling."-Ken Favaro, Chief Executive Marakon Associates

"Suzanne Lowe's research conclusion is right on the mark!...This book is a must read for all CEO's. Any professional services firm that makes the corporate commitment to embrace the practical concepts detailed in this book will leapfrog ahead of its competition by better understanding its markets and clients. The factual research case studies eliminate the excuses for avoiding that commitment."-George C. Friedel, Senior Vice President Parsons Brinckerhoff

.,."[R]ich with case studies, insights and practical advice for anyone seeking to upgrade marketing in professional service firms. While the distinctive culture of professional service firms has generally inhibited their adoption of systematic marketing techniques and processes, this book provides detailed examples of professional service firms that have recently bucked this trend and begun to improve their businesses through disciplined implementation of strategic marketing."-Paul Magill, Vice President, Marketing IBM Global Services

.,."[A] must read for anyone working within the Professional Services arena whose firm is mired in marketing mediocrity. It affords the reader a thorough picture of the unique quantitative and qualitative marketing challenges experienced by Professional Service firms, as well as practical ideas and solutions critical to successful market-driven growth strategy. Though its in-depth research results and insightful, real-life case study examples Marketplace Masters provides a comprehensive blueprint to building a sustainable, premier marketing strategy for Professional Service firms."-Thomas A. Curtin Jr., Chief Marketing Officer The Segal Company

.,."[A]n incisive view of why professional service firms truly are different, especially in the strategy and new business arenas. It offers revealing insights on why these firms often struggle with the challenges of strategy, marketing and business development--in ways that are unique to the realm of professional services....It demonstrates the positive impact of foresight in strategic market implementation, and it backs up its conclusions with hard research and proven trends. Marketplace Masters is a must-read for any principal or new business leader in a professional service company that wants to improve itself or grow."-Al Potter, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing Gilbane Building Company

About the Author

SUZANNE C. LOWE is President of Expertise Marketing, LLC, in Concord, Massachusetts. An advisor, analyst, and writer on best practices and emerging strategies in professional services marketing, she has written or been quoted in more than 50 articles and several books in the field, and speaks regularly to leading trade associations, industry groups, and in-house firm audiences. Her work has also been presented internationally at such venues as the American Marketing Association's annual Frontiers in Services conference.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (April 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275981193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275981198
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,514,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By John Gibbs on August 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Too many professional service firms compete by trying not to fail rather than by trying to win, according to Suzanne C Lowe in this book. They are engaged in a never-ending game of catch-up, rarely allowing themselves the time to try to gain an understanding of the entire marketplace context in which they compete, and avoiding real innovation by sticking to small improvements on existing products and services.

To become true marketplace masters, according to the author, firms need to build a "market-driven infrastructure", taking the small continuous steps needed to master their competitive arena so that they achieve competitive advantage on a daily basis, while being ready to make decisive, informed decisions about marketplace opportunities. The three elements of a market-driven infrastructure are:

* Looking Out: Researching clients, competitors and markets to detect market shifts and opportunities
* Digging Deeper: Doing targeted organisational and analytical work to discover unmet needs of clients and prospects
* Embedding Innovation: Deliberately incorporating support of innovation into a firm's practices and policies

While I agree that these three elements are useful components of a professional service firm's marketing program, I am not entirely convinced that they are the key elements, and I struggle to understand the demarcation between the first two elements, "looking out" and "digging deeper", both of which seem to relate to analytical research.

The book is now ten years old. Some of the examples now appear to be superseded, and some of the examples do not look highly convincing even in retrospect. The Internet and digital marketing have caused significant dislocation in the field of professional services marketing. Nonetheless, there is still a substantial amount of wisdom to be gained particularly by reading the first four chapters of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
Lowe's book is hard to ignore. It's a fact-based, in your face assessment of how poorly most profesional service firms market themselves. The data for Lowe's work was developed over a five year period, and she created an imperative for service firms to embrace the concept of Marketplace Mastery--and a way to do it.

Using a series of case studies, and research data, Lowe suggests that success for professional service firms requires a market-driven infrastrcture, which she maps out in the book.

Lowe is entering marketing territory that most professional service firms are just beginning to embrace, like data mining, the use of culture to compete and embedding innovation.

The book is well-written, but it's not a beach read. There's a depth of thought and analysis that practice leaders should review and find the parts that fit into their market strategy.

This is information that deserves to be widely heard in the market. I think the publisher and amazon should get together and find a way to offer a discount on this book, like they do for so many others. If they did that, the book would fly out of the warehouses.

Michael McLaughlin, coauthor with Jay Conrad Levinson of Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants.
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Format: Hardcover
"Hard hitting and compelling reading, it offers a brutally accurate assessment of the Professional Services Industry, as well as a cure."
Tom Markert , Global Chief Marketing Officer , ACNielsen
"Any professional services firm that makes the corporate commitment to embrace the practical concepts detailed in this book will leapfrog ahead of its competition by better understanding its markets and clients. The factual research and case studies eliminate the excuses for avoiding that commitment."
George Friedel, Senior Vice President, Director of Strategic Sales, Parsons Brinckerhoff
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Format: Hardcover
This thorough and well-researched book addresses the Achilles Heel of most professional service firms: how to successfully market themselves. It dispels the myth that rigorous, systematic marketing disciplines cannot be appropriately and effectively applied to professional service firms. The eleven competencies are well-detailed, researched, and supported with credible data. The case studies should provide almost any PSF with a peer company to whom they can relate. This book will help you focus on real solutions to the unique challenges of marketing professional service firms.
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Format: Hardcover
Finally, a marketing book written about a subject (competition) that has been brushed aside by professional service firms for way too long. Lowe's call for firms to adopt a market-driven infrastructure is right on. "Infrastructure" is a mouthful, but this concept is exactly what our company needs. Lowe's book is refreshingly different in its specificity (tells us exactly how we can compete more effectively) and its practicality.
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