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From Products to Services

What do companies like IBM, HP, Unisys, GE, Ericsson, ABB, Michelin, and Nokia have in common? Find out from these companies' experiences...

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What do companies like IBM, HP, Unisys, GE, Ericsson, ABB, Michelin, and Nokia have in common? Despite working in very different industries and being of very different size and culture, they have all had to consider an important strategic issue. They have had to re-assess the importance of service to their business. With a product manufacturing heritage, most had seen service as a cost. For them it used to mean either the repair or support of equipment that had been sold to customers ("operational services") or advising them on how to use that equipment more effectively ("professional services"). Yet, following recent changes to the Western economies, there are very few sectors within them where service is not important to profit, customer relationships and growth. For instance, suppliers of domestic appliances and electronic entertainment products have learnt to increase product line profits through guarantees, extended warranty and maintenance. In retail, supermarkets now offer a range of services (such as insurance and legal help) in addition to consumer products. The car industry, on the other hand, having offered associated financial services for many years, has had to take the effect of "after care" on repeat purchase much more seriously. So, the senior managers of many manufacturing companies are now trying to create revenue and profit from service. Yet, this is a completely different type of business and involves massive change. It changes: operations, people management, finances, financial management, sales, brand strategy and marketing. In fact, there is very little which doesn't change when a product company seriously moves into the service industries. This presentation sets out to examine them and to find out what, from these companies' experiences, can be drawn into more generic lessons.


Your Instructor


Laurie Young
Laurie Young

Laurie Young, MBA, DipM, FCIM, is an internationally recognised specialist in themarketing and selling of services, and one of the few independent advisers to the professions who has himself been a partner in a leading firm. Laurie’s career has included senior positions with BT, Unisys and PricewaterhouseCoopers, and he has also founded, built and sold his own consultancy company.

Laurie now divides his time between consultancy work (including teaching on the Executive Education Programme of Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania), public speaking and writing. As a consultant he assists senior executives and marketing professionals, providing guidance with the resolution of strategic marketing issues, brand strategy, new service design and client care programmes. Amongst Laurie’s recent assignments he has Chaired Fujitsu's ‘Customer Experience Management’ panel and is on the Innovation Board of Allen & Overy. Over the years his clients have also included Russell Reynolds Associates, Deloitte, Phillips, Lucent, Clifford Chance, Ericsson, Ingersoll Rand, Microsoft, the BBC, Cable & Wireless, American Express, Nokia and BDO Stoy Hayward.

A popular presenter, Laurie speaks at a range of events every year from in-company seminars to larger international conferences. He also enjoys writing and, in addition to contributed articles and expert comment in the national press, Laurie has had over a hundred articles on service marketing published in various trade journals.

Recent Publications:

Laurie has written chapters for edited books on the IT industry and has had three books published to date. Of these, Marketing The Professional Services Firm (Wiley, July 2005) combines deep knowledge of the professional services industry with sound service marketing theory, whilst From Products To Services (Wiley, April 2008) draws on case studies of many leading international companies to trace the steps manufacturing businesses go through to become successful service providers.

Laurie’s work is attracting increasing interest in Asia, with a Chinese language edition of From Products To Services being published in March 2009. His latest book,Marketing the Technical Services Firm, has been published in early 2010.


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