Leveraged high-variety strategies: From portfolio thinking to platform thinking

  • Mohanbir S. Sawhney
Marketing in the 21st Century Commentary


Barbara Kahn correctly points out the importance of creating dynamic relationships with customers and adopting high-variety strategies to succeed in today’s fiercely competitive world. However, high variety is also often high cost and high complexity. In this commentary, I propose that platform thinking is a powerful way to manage these contradictions in becoming a high-variety provider. Platform thinking relies on a simple insight—understand the common strands that tie your firm’s offerings, markets, and processes together, and exploit these commonalities to create leveraged growth and variety. Platform thinking should permeate all aspects of the firm’s strategy and should guide all strategic decisions on diversification and growth. Marketers who master platform thinking may find the 21st century to be a somewhat more inviting prospect.


Product Family Brand Equity Product Platform Customer Segment Parent Brand 
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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohanbir S. Sawhney
    • 1
  1. 1.Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

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