“Best in Class” is a Sucker Bet

Dealing_with_darwin Geoff Moore believes that "Best in Class" strategies represent a sucker bet… and highlights the inability to truly differentiate on best-in-class strategies.

Differentiation requires you to be unique in class or “beyond the class.”  Unless you escape from the norms of the category, you cannot gain sufficient bargaining power to drive increased sales and higher margins. 

By contrast, neutralization requires only that you make it “into the class,” that is, meet the minimum market standards for an acceptable performance.  Once you have, you can check this item off your list, and your competitor has lost the leverage it once held.

Best in class falls between these two goals.  It is not sufficiently differentiated to be unique, and thus it does not create bargaining power.  But it goes well beyond the minimum acceptable standard, which means you have spent a bunch of resources beyond what you had to and achieved no economic return for so doing!

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