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The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market Paperback – January 10, 1997

56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Consultants and business strategists Treacy and Wiersema provide the conceptual model for companies to attain and sustain market leadership. Their plan is simple: put unmatched value (best product, best total solution, or best total cost) in the marketplace while meeting threshold standards in other dimensions of value. Making the improvement of the chosen value to customers the focus of the entire company will result in corresponding shareholder value. The authors follow up their theory with practical guidelines for constructing an appropriate operational model, and offer many examples using well-known companies. A landmark work in market strategy that goes beyond TQM principles, this volume is essential for entrepreneurs and for public, academic, and corporate libraries.
Nancy Myers, Univ. of South Dakota Lib., Vermillion
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Michael Treacy is a leading authority and lecturer on business strategy and corporate transformation. He is the founder of Treacy & Company LLC, a Boston-based management consulting and venture firm.

Fred Wiersema is the founder of Ibex Partners, specializing in strategic and management team alignment. He is affiliated with CSC Index, the international consulting firm, where he was formerly senior vice president.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Expanded edition (January 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201407191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201407198
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Peter Leerskov on November 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book's concepts for strategic marketing management are so widely accepted that the popular Balanced Scorecard concept of Kaplan and Norton in 2001 decided to adopt the ideas for the "customer perspective".

The authors manage to take Michael Porter's two generic competitive strategies - Differentiation and Cost Leader - and elaborate on these to an extent never presented so elegantly before. In the process, they discover a third generic strategy - Customer Intimacy.

Thus, Treacy and Wiersema distinguish between focusing on the following value dimensions:
- Operational excellence (cost leadership / focus on supply chain management)
- Product leadership (innovation / focus on product lifecycle management)
- Customer Intimacy (service leadership /focus on customer relationship management)

These are the FOUR RULES that govern market leaders' actions:
Rule 1: Provide the best offering in the marketplace by excelling in a specific dimension of value
Rule 2: Maintain threshold standards on the other dimensions of value
Rule 3: Dominate your market by improving value year after year
Rule 4: Build a well-tuned operating model dedicated to delivering unmatched value

Expanding on the fourth rule - operating models - may the best long-term contribution of this book. The authors explain in detail and via case stories how the operating models differ for each of the three value propositions. In practice, I've learned that by explaining the operating models, many people can easier find themselves depicted than in the overall generic dimensions of cost, service or product leadership.

OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE or Cost Leadership - Best total cost - operating model:
Key success factor: Formula!
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
Excellent content; just not a book's worth. The authors say virtually nothing more than they did in their superb HBR article of the same name a few years back. Another case of a fine 10-page idea gratuitously expanded into a book.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By J. G. Heiser on February 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Winning firms focus on one of three customer value disciplines: product leadership, customer intimacy, or operational excellence. Trying to be all things to everybody is tantamount to being nothing for anyone. If your firm can't get its act together, you'll find this an inspiring book that makes a compelling case that success is only possible by having the courage to focus on specific tasks & disciplines. This seems very elementary, but I've observed many firms that refused to choose what they wanted to be, ensuring that they became nothing. This book is helpful in positioning exercises.
I have two concerns about the book. 1, it doesn't need to be this long in order to get the central idea across. 2, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that this model is counterproductive in a Geoff Moore tornado period. If you're in a high-tech tornado, wait until Main Street before applying discipline.
Aside from these caveats, I still find the simple model presented in this book as being useful in analyzing market approaches. You have to understand the model in order to know when it isn't appropriate. Product Managers, sales, marketing and product development staff need to be aware of this book and its ideas.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. F SHAFER on December 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
This business book should be in EVERY marketing and sales professional's library. In one reading of less than four hours you can understand the distinct value disciplines that define your company. And, just as important, you can recognize the value disciplines of your customers and competition. But, you don't have to be strictly a sales person. I'm my company's Chief Technology Officer and I felt the book was very valuable - after my CEO made me read it!
The message of The Discipline Of Market Leaders is that no company can succeed today by trying to be all things to all people. It must instead find the unique value that it alone can deliver to a chosen market. Why and how this is done are the two key questions the book addresses,
Three concepts are introduced that every business finds essential:
1. the value proposition - implicit promise to deliver a particular combination of values - price, quality, performance, etc.
2. value-driven operating model - combination of operating processes, manage-ment systems, business structure, and culture that allows a company to deliver on its value proposition.
3. value disciplines - three desirable ways in which a company combines operating models and value propositions to be the best in their markets. THIS is the key take away from this book.
Three distinct value disciplines:
1. operational excellence - provide middle-of-the-market products at the best price with the least inconvenience - value proposition is low price and hassle-free service.
2. product leadership - offering products that push performance boundaries - value proposition is offering the best product, period.
3.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
The message of this important book is that "no company can succeed today by trying to be all things to all people. It must instead find the unique value that it alone can deliver to a chosen market. Why and how this is done are the two key questions the book addresses." The authors focus with rigor and precision on three different "disciplines": operational excellence, product leadership, and customer intimacy. It remains for any company (for any organization, for that matter) to determine which of the three should be its primary discipline but all are obviously important...indeed interdependent. Nonetheless, one discipline should be pre-eminent. The authors examine dozens of companies which have concentrated primarily on one of the three "disciplines" so that they can select their customers and then narrow their focus inorder to gain and sustain dominance within their respective marketplaces. I think this book will be of substantial value to executives in any organization but of greatest value to those in organizations which are small-to-midsize. Unless they have dysfunctional management and/or defective products, their mastery of that discipline will enable them to compete more effectively against larger organizations which (obviously) have greater resources available. My own view is that as B2B and B2B2C continue to increase at exponentially greater velocity, leadership of ANY market will require mastery of customer intimacy and at least one (but preferably both) of the other two disciplines. In that event, the insights which Treacy and Wiersema share will be even more valuable.
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