BY BARBARA E. BUND

Outside-in or Inside-out Examples

 

Please send me outside-in or inside-out examples that can be shared (with names omitted if appropriate).

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• Successful introduction of Nantucket Nectar’s bottled juices used good understanding of the behaviors of potential customers—and achieved results with communication spending that was only a fraction of what competitive companies spent. (Second edition, p. 98)

 

• In introducing Bounce dryer sheets years ago, Procter & Gamble anticipated—and therefore was able to handle effectively—the incorrect opinions and fears that some customers would have about the new product. (Second edition, p. 225)

 

• Cleveland Clinic went beyond traditional (and frequently unhelpful) questionnaire research to probe patients’ beliefs about and interpretations of the healthcare they received—and, as a result, was able to increase patient satisfaction substantially. (Second edition, p. 284)

 

• Mattel adapted its Barbie dolls in response to increased roles for fathers in toy buying and to changes in the activities that parents wanted to encourage for their daughters. (Second edition, p. 83)

 

• BigBelly Solar used new developments in technology along with a real understanding of municipal processes and costs for trash collection to provide effective new products. (Second edition, p. 167)

 

• Apple anticipated changes in how people would view and use technical products—and offered a series of successful new products in a successful new retail environment. (Second edition, p. 121)

 

But many examples illustrate problems in achieving or in maintaining healthy outside-in habits:

 

• The early Dell Computer was a notable outside-in success, and over the years Michael Dell repeatedly stressed the importance of understanding customers. But Dell Computer apparently didn’t recognize the importance of changes in its customers and competitors, and the company floundered. (Second edition, p. 121)

 

• After a strong outside-in start, eBay got into trouble. (Second edition, p. 148)

 

• The UK retailer Tesco changed from a mediocre performer to an outside-in success—but it then stumbled. (Second edition, p. 148)

 

Please send me outside-in or inside-out examples that can be shared (with names omitted if appropriate).  From time to time I’ll then put new examples on this page.

 

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Send an example: bbund@mit.edu