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The Ends Game

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The Ends Game

How Smart Companies Stop Selling Products and Start Delivering Value (Management on the Cutting Edge)

MIT Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

When you buy a car, is it the car you want or the transportation? The answer determines product pricing.

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Marco Bertini and Oded Koenigsberg examine the future of pricing and how value translates directly to profits. They urge you to understand that people aren’t buying your widget; they’re buying what your widget does for them. Customers want an easy-access product that smoothly performs its intended function. People will pay for the results they want, leading to new pricing models based on per-use rates. Identify what you sell – as the authors say, not the car, but the transportation – and then figure out what to charge for it.



It’s not what you buy that counts; it’s what your purchase does for you. 

When you pay for health care, is it the care that means the most to you – or the good health that results? The means or the ends? When you pay for your child’s college, is it the college that matters or the education? When you buy food, is it the supermarket that matters or the taste and nutrition?

The value you receive matters more than how you obtain that value.Similarly, your customers care about outcomes; that’s what they really buy and what they hold you accountable for providing.

Accountability differentiates winning firms from losers.

An accountable company gains a crucial competitive advantage.Most firms structure their marketing to sell the means to the customer, not the ends.They tell customers - Purchase the means to receive the ends.

Accountability is not a passing trend; it’s a strategic competitive imperative. Cloud computing, smartphones, microtransactions and other developments make commercial transactions more transparent. This helps companies measure the utility customers want to attain. With this new...

About the Authors

Professor Marco Bertini is a visiting marketing professor at Harvard Business School and senior advisor to the marketing, sales and pricing practice of the Boston Consulting Group. Oded Koenigsberg is professor of marketing and deputy dean at the London Business School.

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