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Demand: Creating What People Love Before They Know They Want It Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 4, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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In DEMAND: Giving People What They Love Before They Know They Want It (Crown Business; October 2011), Adrian Slywotzky, named by Industry Week one of the world’s six most influential management thinkers, provides a radically new way to think about demand, with a big idea and a host of practical applications—not just for people in business but also for social activists, governments leaders, non-profit managers, and other would-be innovators.
They all need to master such ground-breaking concepts as the hassle map (and the secrets of fixing it); the curse of the incomplete product (and how to avoid it); why very good magnetic; how what you don’t see can make or break a product; the art of transforming fence sitters into customers; why there’s no such thing as an average customer; and why real demand comes from a 45-degree angle of improvement (rather than the five degrees most organizations manage).

Adrian J. Slywotzky

Author Q&A with Adrian Slywotzky

How do some companies seem to know what we want–even before we do?

We all want video on demand now. But could we have even imagined it 10 years ago? Netflix founder Reed Hastings anticipated the future shift to on-demand streaming–even in 1998, when fewer than 7% of U.S. homes had broadband: "That’s why we named the company Netflix, and not DVDsByMail.com." Demand "creators" always look to solve the next customer hassle–before we even recognize the hassle itself.

What makes us rave about some things, but rant about others–even when the underlying products are functionally the same?

Magnetic products not only offer superior functionality, but forge an emotional attachment that is hard to sever. They embed themselves so seamlessly into our lives that they become part of who we are. Take grocery chain Wegmans. More than just an incredibly functional supermarket–with an average of 60,000 items in stock–Wegmans has an emotional appeal that led 7,000 people (in 2010 alone!) to beg for a store in their area.

Can you actually create demand--or are you just getting lucky?

Smart companies recognize that we often can’t articulate what we really want… and that "creating" demand is often just a matter of recognizing untapped demand. Demand "creators" identify hassles that bedevil all of us–and instead of simply accepting them, they ask: "Do they have to be this way?" Reed Hastings founded Netflix after a personal frustration with a $40 late fee. By making the leap from the way things are to the way they should be, he unleashed demand… to the tune of $2BN.

Why do most attempts to create demand fail?

Identifying hassles that could be solved is a start–but it’s not enough. Demand creators recognize that even great products have a very low chance of success… and they do everything they can to increase it. Toyota knew the Prius’ odds of success were less than 5%. Yet instead of dropping the project, Toyota actively asked, "How can we change those odds?" The company even went so far as to create a new division for the project… and then successfully launched the Prius 2 months ahead of an already "impossible" schedule.

Does what happens behind the scenes actually matter for demand creators?

It’s easy to think that only the product itself matters… but what happens behind the scenes can shape both the end product and your experience using it. Take the market for e-readers. The Amazon Kindle provided instant, wireless access to the world’s biggest bookstore. The Sony Reader–released 10 months before the Kindle–offered wireless access to only 20,000 titles. The backstory makes all the difference: there really is no point to an e-reader that doesn’t have the books you want to read, when you want to read them!

So many great products never get purchased… while others fly off the shelves. What triggers us to buy something?

Most of us need a trigger to get from want to buy. For Zipcar, it’s density--and just a short walk to the car. For Nespresso, it’s taste and trial in a fancy boutique. For Netflix, it’s waiting 1 day for a movie to arrive instead of 6. Smart companies recognize that each product has its own trigger--and that discovering these triggers is the key to creating demand.

Why is it that some companies keep getting better and better, while others just flatline?

A great and increasing trajectory is incredibly important to demand creators. U.K. sandwich chain Pret a Manger is famous for not only refreshing its 100-item menu, but constantly revising its existing recipes–including its carrot cake (50 times), its chocolate brownie (36 times)… and even its pickle recipe (15 times!). Companies like Pret keep giving the customer better versions of what they already love–and new things they didn’t even know they wanted.

How do some companies see past the "average" customer–and create offers that solve our individual hassles?

Smart companies know that there is no average customer–and work to create offers that appeal to everyone, on every occasion. Take the Boston Symphony Orchestra: by learning to see past the "average"--and making the same concert feel "customized" to many types of customers--it expanded to a wider audience… and increased ticket sales by 34%.

All companies talk about the quality of their people. But does the whole team really matter?

Demand creators recognize that every employee can–and should–contribute to demand creation. Take Pixar, where the concept that "ideas come from anywhere" is taken seriously: all employees are encouraged to spend 4 hours a week learning filmmaking at Pixar University. Pixar even teaches its accountants how to draw… and all this translates to 11 blockbusters in a row.


"Adrian Slywotsky's charming and enlightening stories of market creation will inform and inspire innovators everywhere. Demand is the book you didn't know you needed until you read it, love it, and find that you can't succeed without it."
--Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor, Author of Confidence and SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good

“There is no bigger issue than demand.  We need fresh thinking based on research to develop bold, doable pathways for demand creation. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal from books such as Value Migration and The Profit Zone by Adrian Slywotzky.  Now with Demand, Slywotzky shows  how to get your arms around what many see as an intractable problem. And like every good problem-solver, he provides frameworks for thinking, illustrated through warm personal stories that get you into the personalities of some spectacular – yet unsung – demand generation heroes. The personal stories make the frameworks for thinking real, and point to some inherent traits in personality that characterize the mind, approach and courage of demand creators. Demand provides a way for leaders to build a better future for their businesses.  And a big plus is that they will like – and identify with - the people they read about.”
--Ralph A. Oliva Executive Director, Institute for the Study of Business Markets  Professor of Marketing  Smeal College of Business, Penn State

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; First Edition first Printing edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307887324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307887320
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Derek G VINE VOICE on October 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My opinions tend to mirror many of the other reviewers of this book. "Demand..." consists of a collection of stories about successful companies and lavishes praise on each company for their foresight. Author Adrian Slywotzky also fits each company into a specific narrative; be it eliminating obstacles (hassle-map), striking and emotional chord with customers (magnetic), or otherwise.

The hindsight of what made a particular company successful is largely the opinion of the author but who is he to say there weren't other additional factors which played a part? For instance, I doubt that eliminating hassles for traders alone was the secret to the success of the Bloomberg news service and trader terminals. Even the author attests there were many other factors such being more comprehensive and getting news and headlines faster than the competition. So was Bloomberg a success because they were they less of a hassle to use or because they were faster and more comprehensive? (Having used Bloomberg for years, I would argue the latter). In any case, it's hard to extrapolate a single formula to success as the author tries to do.

Because of this, I have the same problem with this book as I did with Drucker in the past. The stories of companies like Netflix, Bloomberg and Apple are interesting as the stories of FedEx and Toyota were when Peter Drucker was reporting on them in the 1980's. If you like reading success stories you'll enjoy this book. Whether the information will make your business a success is debatable.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Many books published in recent years offer excellent advice on how to create and then sustain what I call a hyphenated culture: quality-driven, customer-driven, innovation-driven, results-driven, etc. The given objectives are eminently worthy and I have no quarrel with any of them, nor does Adrian Slywotzky. The fact remains, however, that an organization must have compelling appeal to those on whom it depends for success: employees at all levels and in all areas with talent and skills as well as character and commitment who create great value for customers. That's precisely what Herb Kelleher always stressed when asked to explain the extraordinary success of Southwest Airlines: "We take great care of our people, our people take great care of our customers, and our customers then take great care of our shareholders."

Demand: Creating What People Love Before They Know They Want It is a "must read" for business leaders in organizations that are struggling to answer any/all of questions such as these:

o "How can we get our customers to buy more of what we sell?"
o "How can we convince more of our competition's customers to buy from us?"
o "How can we convert fence-sitters into buyers of what we sell?"
o "How can we attract, hire, and then retain the people who will create the greatest value for our customers?"
o "Meanwhile, what must we do each day to improve the quality of life in our workplace and increase the appeal of what we produce there?"

In each instance, the challenge is to create and then sustain demand.

Whatever its size and nature may be, every organization must be led by what Slywotzky characterizes as "demand creators," people who "spend all of their time trying to understand [begin italics] people [end italics]...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I LOVE THIS BOOK! Never in a million years did I think that I'd be so captivated by a Business Book.

But is it a business book?

Who cares!

I was RIVETED by the unique storytelling of the histories of systems that are so integral to our lives - Netflix, Zipcar, Teach for America - as well as those that should be - CareMore, Symphony Concerts, Tetrapak. (I'm desperate to keep a brick of milk in the cabinet so that I never again have a breakfast crisis - for what is coffee and cereal without milk?)

Reading Demand has given me a new perspective on the world around me. I am a more informed and engaged citizen of the world. Thank you, Demand!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A few reviewers have criticized this book for not being practical - that while it gives many examples of successful organizations and how they managed to create demand for their products, it does not provide a roadmap for people on how to do it themselves. Well now, that's the million (or billion) dollar question now, isn't it? And if there was such an answer, everyone would be doing it. This book is not for people who are looking for that roadmap, a list of numbered steps to follow.

The author does present key points. He does this within a lot of examples of successful companies. I enjoyed reading these examples and there was plenty of food for thought on which to chew (so to speak). What this book seems to be designed to do is to get the reader thinking about his or her own situation and what factors are relevant to creating demand - creating what people love. Now perhaps the full title is a bit misleading because it says "creating what people love before they know they want it." I don't think that is entirely true.. we've all had our wishes. I think it is better stated, "how to make people realize what you have is what they want." One of the things mentioned in the book is the "Hassle Map." People don't want to be hassled. They don't want to have to put up with a bunch of inconveniences to get what they want - the key is to make them recognize your product offers the solution for them. They already want it, but they don't always see that you offer it; the key is to make them see.

This is a book to read leisurely, and digest the various points that are brought up within the company examples that are presented.
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