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Strategic Planning: Product/Service Leadership

A product and/or service leadership value proposition sounds something like this: “We offer products and services that expand existing boundaries past what was thought possible.” This strategy concentrates on creating a unique, innovative product or service line while competing on speed. A company implementing this strategy provides superior value by offering its customers a continuous stream of innovative products or services, regardless of the costs in terms of price or inconvenience. It seeks to identify emerging opportunities and continuously strives to develop and deliver new products and services to market quickly.

To execute this strategy, your goals may look like the following:

  • To strive to be first to market with new products, services, or functionality

  • To always produce leading-edge products and services that exceed the performance of competing products

  • To maintain higher prices than competitors because of the superior product

  • To reach and educate new customer groups

You need to master your innovation processes and develop an innovation culture to reach your goals. These steps include having a pipeline full of new ideas, using a conversion rate of ideas to production, implementing excellent and quick product development processes, and staffing marketing and sales departments that can bring the product to market quickly. Refer to the figure to get an overview of this strategy in comparison to the other two strategies.

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Instead of studying Spanish by going to classes or hiring a tutor, students in Guatemala learned from Spanish tutors through Speak Shop, a web-based application that allows video and voice conferencing. The company was first to market with this innovative method connecting students and tutors in their homes or at work. To maintain its position, the company continues to add functionality, such as quizzes, lesson plans, and discussion boards, to enhance its core product.

Additional companies that are always on the cutting edge of their industries with product or service leadership include Intel, Mercedes-Benz, Sony, and Apple.

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