The Outside-in Corperation


Barbara is a senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management. She has also taught at Harvard and written several books and articles.

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Book Review

You can have the most creative innovative ideas and processes but if your marketing communications don't effectively reach the targeted customers your product will fail. Product design and marketing strategy are two key components for business success. The Outside-in Corporation provides detailed insight on how to identify and research target customers to evaluate your product, processes and marketing strategy from their point of view. Barbara provides detailed information on different types of analysis, how to conduct analysis, why different types work or don't work in different types of situations. Each chapter also includes step by step research work to guide you in your own analysis.

Business process management is based on the customer and how they want to do business. What Barbara demonstrates is that it isn't necessary to have a huge marketing budget to be successful if you understand your customer's needs and their buying decision process. Is it as simple as being an inexpensive product such as the Bic Pen displayed at the check out counter or is the buying decision more complicated? One of many examples included in the book is that of the Barney Children's videos.

Although the founder was able to convince selected stores to carry the videos, sales were dismal. She decided that if children watched the video, they would ask parents to buy it. She distributed free videos to pre-schools and day-care centers near the stores with information on where the videos were available. Today it is unlikely there is a household with children that isn't aware of Barney. These and many other examples for different types of products and markets bring the book alive and make it a must read for anyone who wants to understand their customers better.