Melanie Lux | March 16, 2020
In 2011, Notre Dame marketing professor Joe Urbany and fellow faculty member Jim Davis published the book “Grow by Focusing on What Matters: Competitive Strategy in 3 Circles.” In it, the two shared Urbany’s three-circle competitive-strategy model that takes into consideration a company's offerings, competitors’ offerings and customers' needs to reveal opportunities for competitive advantage and growth.
One of those intrigued by the book was Gary Gigot, a Notre Dame alumnus, a software executive with a background in technology marketing and venture capital and benefactor of Notre Dame’s Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship. “I was intrigued by the idea of understanding customer choices using data on past purchasing behavior and intent to buy. Joe laid out the importance of identifying a customer’s choice factors and who owned those choice factors, you or your competitor,” explains Gigot.
“I saw a potentially strong application if it could be delivered to companies as a software as a service.”
Gigot struck up a friendship with Urbany and the two talked about launching a company. Lending credence to Urbany’s theory was the fact it had been vetted and tested over the years by more than 900 students in his MBA and executive MBA classes. Students from a broad spectrum of consumer and business-to-business companies applied Urbany’s model. Many carried what they learned back to their employers and put theory into action.
Says Urbany, “It was a tremendous validation.”
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