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8 P’s – A Powerful Way to Discover Strengths, Weaknesses, Trends

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Nov 27, 2017

Outthink the Competition Chess Piece-1.jpgInnovation and Outthinking the Competition is often considered to be for technology firms.  Service industry, wholesale, manufacturing companies may feel unless they are involved in technology it’s difficult to discover ways to innovate and Outthink their Competition.

While Technology is driving disruption, it’s possible to be disruptive without being a technology company.

Verne Harnish frequently mentions in the future all company’s will be software companies.  

In Calculate Your OUTthinker Score - Assessment we shared the 8 P’s Assessment to help you understand how your business can be disruptive and Outthink your Competitors.


The company I share in my Outthinker Process presentation is Urban Outfitters. 

Two of my customers completed their Annual Strategy and Planning sessions.organizational-mindfulness-innovation-Outthink the Competition-1.jpgEach one, after only having completed the Imagine segment of the Ideas Framework, were enthusiastic to learn and complete more.  One of my customers, BE-CI, and engineering firm serving the Southeast United States, almost made it their One Thing for 2018.

Urban Outfitters is a perfect example of how your business, despite not being technology-driven, can discover and develop your 8 P’s (Positioning, Product, Price, Physical Experience, Placement, Promotion, Process and People). Watch Kaihan Krippendorff’s 3 minute 45 second video on Urban Outfitters explaining “Are all Outthinkers found in high-tech industries?”


Check out the Outthinker Score for these 8 companies. Dell, Tesla, and Genomma Lab are three you would consider as being technology driven.  Yet you can see from these scores, all 8 companies score 6 or better on the 8 P Assessment against their competition.outthinker-institute-for-management-studies-1.jpg

There are only 8 P’s on the assessment. Krippendorff kindly responded to my question on how it was possible for a business to score higher than an 8, “at the time I created this chart, I was calculating the score as follows:

0 = no different/ advantage

1 = an advantage the competitors are likely to copy in the next 3(?) years

2 = an advantage that competitors will take more than 3 years to copy”

Does your business have any these type of advantages in Calculate Your OUTthinker Score - Assessment?

Urban Outfitters

urban-outfitters store front.jpgUrban Outfitters, a fast-growing U.S. clothing retailer, was started by two partners unfamiliar with the retail industry. Urban Outfitters markets only college-age students. Traditional competitors, like Gap, resist copying this positioning because to do so would mean giving up other important market segments, like baby, maternity, and, generally, adults. Urban Outfitters also differentiates itself by making every store look a little different. Gap, who depends on efficiencies gained by every store looking similar, will resist adopting Urban Outfitters's layout strategy.

Urban Outfitters does not hire retailing experts; it hires “sensory merchandisers” that it can trust to make decisions about how to decorate their individual stores. The magic really comes into play when the winning moves you have introduced across the eight Ps cross-fertilize each other. Urban Outfitters's people decision—hiring sensory merchandisers—creates a process winning move: local managers' job descriptions allow them to change their store's look and feel. This, in turn, creates a physical experience winning move: every store looks different. By linking winning moves, you raise the copy cost your competitors must consider.

How do these advantages translate into to revenue and profit?  kaihan-krippendorff-outhink-competition Urban Outfitters Results.jpgView these charts to see how Urban Outfitters translates their 8 P advantages, growing significantly faster than their nearest competitor and industry, as well as performing nearly 45% in profitability.

Advantages in your 8 P assessment convert to real metrics in terms of revenue growth and profit.


BECI-Logo-LARGE.jpg (Think - New).jpgBE-CI leadership team made the commitment to read the book Outthink the Competition.  They surprised me the first morning of our annual workshop, wearing Outthink the Competition t-shirts designed in the shape of their companies logo!  (The logo in the OTTC shape is hard to distinguish for someone like me who is color blind!)IMG_0075.jpg

Completing your SWOT and SWT (Strengths, Weaknesses and Trends) exercises are traditional annual planning tactics.  I discovered by having the executive team complete the Calculate Your OUTthinker Score - Assessment, the strengths and weaknesses of their business became more meaningful. Combining this step, with the Great Strategy: Clarity On What You Want forms brings greater understanding of how trends influence our disruptive economy.

Completing these two pieces of the Imagine step in the Ideas Framework of the Outthinker Process, BE-CI’s strengths, weaknesses and trends exercises became more impactful and decisive for planning and strategizing.

BE-CI eventually chose Hiring 9 people as their One Thing for 2018, however the impact of the Outthinker Process can be seen by their decision to make it their counter balance, completing the next four steps, Dissect, Expand, Analyze and Sell by the end of 2018 to help them prepare their business to Outthink the Competition.

Would an exercise to help you Outthink Your Competition make sense of your 2018 strategy and planning?  If you are looking for an expert to scale up your business, contact Discover how your business measures up against other Scaled Up business by taking Four Decisions Needs Assessment. We’ll follow up to help you learn how Positioning Systems Strategic Discipline can help you scale up!

Annual Plan - Your Roadmap for a Successful Year.pngTwo Day Scale Up Private Workshop/Annual Planning – Next Blog

Frequently I receive request on Quarterly and Annual planning.  Next blog I’ll take you inside what a Private Two Day Scaling Up Workshop looks like, and with it what your Annual Strategy and Planning Meeting should include.  That’s next blog.

Topics: strategy, OUTTHINK THE COMPETITION, Strategy Decision, OUTTHINKER SCORE - ASSESSMENT, Outthinker Process

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

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