Case Detail

Case Summary

Technical Note: Customer Experience Systems

Case Number: 7-308-002, Year Published: 2009

HBS Number: KEL419

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Key Concepts

Marketing, Channels, Distribution, Marketing Channels, Routes-to-Market, Go-to-Market, Trust, Inertia, Customer Experience, Consumer Experience, Differentiation, Value Chain, Value Proposition, Vertical Integration, Collaboration, Partnership, Alliances


Structurally speaking, we are on the cusp of a new competitive era. The old era, in which one independent company wrestled with its horizontal market rivals for a bigger slice of the pie, is giving way to a game that is more nuanced, more challenging—but also bigger. In this new game, the smartest, most successful players will be those who build more unified end-to-end systems that deliver tangible value and improved experiences to customers. This technical note focuses on how to manage and orchestrate vital, differentiated—and profitable—customer experiences on a recurrent basis across inter-organizational value chains and routes-to-market systems.

Learning Objectives

Introduce concepts related to coordinating vertical responses to customer needs and customer experience gaps in consumer and B2B markets. Provide insights on why companies experience prolonged periods of inertia in their routes-to-market systems and how targeting new distribution white space can create more sustainable forms of competitive advantage.

Number of Pages: 32

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Management, Marketing, Strategy

Year of Case: 2009