In today’s global business world, companies “win” if everyone associated with them throughout their value chain also “win.” The title of this review refers to a question that Rick Kash and David Calhoun ask their reader: “Do you have a proprietary understanding of unsatisfied demand in your marketplace?” Those who gain that understanding have a significant, perhaps decisive competitive advantage. They will thrive but only to the extent that they can sustain that advantage. I agree with Kash and Calhoun that there are valuable lessons to be learned from the exemplar companies they discuss such as Allstate, Anheuser-Busch, Apple, Ball Park Franks, Best Buy, Hershey’s, and Hewlett-Packard, to name but seven and listed in alpha order.
For example, Kash and Calhoun assert that what the leaders at Hershey’s learned is what leaders in any other company must also learn, whatever the size and nature of their company may be:
• Know who your customers are (e.g. their demographics and motivations)
• Why they buy (i.e. their demand by profit pool and the need states they experience)
• What they buy (i.e. a detailed understanding of the brands, packs, tastes, and textures most customers prefer)
• Where and how they buy (i.e. shopper missions and channel preferences)
• When customers consume (i.e. the key usage occasions and locations)
Credit Kash and Calhoun with providing a cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective game plan and operations manual to design, introduce, implement, and then strengthen an appropriate demand chain; that is, “a collaborative network composed of manufacturer, retailers, and media companies [or their equivalent entities] that enable each participant to better understand – and more completely and precisely fulfill – customer demand.”