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The Discipline of Market Leaders

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The Discipline of Market Leaders

Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market

Perseus Books,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Market leaders pick a path — price, quality or service — and pursue it like mountain climbers focused on just one peak.

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Authors Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema make it clear that market leading companies all concentrate on creating value for their customers. Then they focus on specific cases from Nike to Johnson & Johnson. No company, including yours, can succeed by trying to be all things to all people. Companies must ascertain the unique value - be it price, quality or problem solving - they can deliver to a specific market. The book proves that comparisons are not odious if they are interesting, and the comparisons it offers are intriguing indeed. Anecdotes and case histories cover companies that are market leaders today - AT&T, Intel, Airborne Express - and companies that used to be market leaders. The authors offer you three choices: lead with low costs, great products or outstanding ability to solve customers’ problems. But if you are going to lead, you have to pick a direction and implement a management strategy that supports it, a lesson eased along by the clarity of the writing. recommends this book to executives who are seeking advice on trumping their markets.


Three Dimensions of Value

Why can Swatch produce an inexpensive watch that runs accurately for years while Rolex can’t do the same for 100 times the money? Starbucks offers a wonderful cup of coffee for $1, but it is next to impossible to get a decent cup of coffee at most major airports. FedEx provides consistently excellent delivery, but many airlines misplace their customers’ bags. What is it about these market leaders? Market leaders have accepted the fact that they cannot be the best in everything, instead they have to master exactly one of the following three categories.

  1. Best total cost - These companies excel in offering the best price for quality with the least inconvenience. They usually operate in a mass-market environment and are driven by reliability and consistency. Wal-Mart brings the lowest price possible to the consumer. Wal-Mart could easily raise its prices by two cents on each product, but by keeping prices low, Wal-Mart builds future success by offering customers maximum value.
  2. Best product - Product leaders continually strive to create better products for which customers will pay a premium. In this realm, competition...

About the Authors

Michael Treacy is the founder of Treacy & Company LLC, a Boston-based management consulting firm specializing in corporate transformation. Fred Wiersema is the founder of Ibex Partners, which specializes in strategic and management team alignment.

Comment on this summary

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    S. O. 4 years ago
    I am sorry but your summary is terrible. Not conducive to subscription.
    • Avatar
      4 years ago
      very old summary, you may enjoy some new summaries about finance and economics such as, The Leadership Capital Index, New Leadership Literacies, Winning the Long Game
      The Value of Everything, Leaders Make the Future

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