business strategy | February 04, 2013

Playing To Win Means Putting Your Customers First: Roger Martin In Forbes

"We feel that most people involved in strategy find it complicated, largely unpleasant and pretty unproductive," Roger Martin says in an interview with Forbes. "So we decided to write a book to show that strategy can and should be simple, fun and effective." Martin and co-author A.G. Lafley penned Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works to help companies implement their own strategic vision. As he says in the interview, the book was written for any company, in any industry, that is looking to creative maximum value in their business. Even though most companies shy away from doing any concrete, long-term strategizing, Martin argues that doing so makes the difference between those that win, and those that merely compete. 

"The book is tightly tied to the idea of customer capitalism," he explains, which is when a company chooses a distinct set of customers and addresses their needs. Companies that don't lay out a specific strategy aren't able to target and satisfy a particular group of customers. And that is what Martin says makes the most successful businesses—happy customers. Martin is currently the Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and was formerly the strategic adviser for P&G. His breakthrough method of integrative thinking and unparalleled knowledge of business strategy is regularly sought after in the media and for public lectures.

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