Customer Insights that Matter

Patrick Barwise

London Business School

Seán Meehan

IMD

Our last book, Simply Better, (Barwise and Meehan, 2004) looked at “differentiation that matters”: that is, differentiation through the eyes of the customer. It was based on evidence that, despite marketers’ obsession with uniqueness, what most customers want are products and services that just work, rather than offering unique selling propositions (USPs). Delivering the basics “simply better” therefore provides “differentiation that matters.”

Our new book, Beyond the Familiar, builds on this by focusing on what managers need to do to ensure that valid, actionable customer insights from a wide range of sources (not just formal market research) reach those with the power to act and that they then do so. We see growth as an outcome, a consequence, of promising and consistently delivering better and better solutions to customers. Further, we see this process as building a valuable long-term asset, the company’s reputation in customers’ minds (brand equity), which is then the platform for further growth.