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Philip Sugai

Philip Sugai

Kyoto, Japan

Philip Sugai is a Professor of Marketing at Doshisha Business School in Kyoto, Japan, and has published books and multiple case studies on global business and marketing. https://www.linkedin.com/in/philipsugai/

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About the author

Philip Sugai is a Professor of Marketing within Doshisha University's Graduate School of Business and a Senior Fellow at the OSIPP-IAFOR Research Center at Osaka Unviersity.  Dr. Sugai also served as a Visiting Professor for Stanford University from 2015 - 2017, where he taught Innovation in Japan at the Stanford Overseas campus in Kyoto. Prior to joining the Doshisha University faculty, Dr. Sugai taught at the International University of Japan in Niigata where he also served as Dean and Associate Dean of the IUJ Business School for six years.

Dr. Sugai is the author of two books, The Value Plan and The Six Immutable Laws of Mobile Business (John Wiley & Sons) and has published case studies with Ivey Business School Publishing on Nestle’s KITKAT Japan, Hosoo (330+ year old Nishijin Weaving company), AGL, Hatsune Miku and Walt Disney Internet Group.

He received his Doctorate degree from Waseda University and his M.B.A. in Marketing and Operations Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has worked as a marketing executive at American Express, Muze, Inc., and Lightningcast, Inc., and serves as a marketing advisor and marketing strategy consultant to companies both in Japan and globally.

He is the father of two sons, and is a 6th degree black belt in Iyonoma Ryu Aikido.  

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Success! The Value Plan sold 567 pre-orders by Aug. 30, 2019, was pitched to 18 publishers, and is in discussions with publishers.

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The Value Plan

How to Create Future-Proof Products & Services

The Value Plan is a practical, hands-on, proven step-by-step guide written to help anyone develop successful, future-proof products and services that create long-lasting value.

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Synopsis

Marketing today requires a value focus.  The problem is that most companies continue to use outdated models of marketing that equates marketing to "advertising" or "sales" but not value.

The definition of what marketing actually “is” has significantly changed three times in the past 82 years, with most marketing books and guides failing to catch up with the last major change.  Companies that have continued to implement marketing strategies using these outdated principles have generated significant mistrust and value losses. Recently 57% of global customers have said that they will "buy or boycott a brand based solely on its position on a social issue," (Edelman, 2017)[1], leading 58% of global CEOs to say that they are "increasingly worried about the declining trust in their brands" (World Economic Forum, 2017)[2].

It's clear then that the old "profit at all costs" mindset used for creating marketing strategy must be retired and replaced, but sadly, this thinking remains at the heart of the most popular guidebooks for creating marketing strategy.  This means that marketers and educators globally are using outdated frameworks, systems and tools that are no longer adequate in today’s hyper-competitive and ever-changing markets.

The Value Plan synthesizes the most recent thinking on value-focused marketing and organizing these ideas that will empower you to (1) develop a value-focused mindset, (2) master the 12 key tools for marketing success, and then (3) use these tools to create breakthrough new products or services.

[1] https://www.edelman.com/news/c...

[2] https://www.weforum.org/agenda...

Outline

Section 1: The Value Mindset

To help readers get a new understanding of what Marketing truly is, Section 1 includes four chapters including (1) What is marketing?, (2) What is value?, (3) Two value equations, and (4) What is marketing strategy?

Section 2: The 12 Building Blocks of Value

Building upon this foundation, Section 2 introduces the 12 building blocks that can be arranged in infinite ways to create new products.

This section introduces each of these in detail, explaining their mechanics, and gives examples of how these have been utilized to transform previous products and services into ones that break through and unleash entirely new levels of value.

Section 3: The Value Plan in Action

This final section walks through a clear, iterative, step-by-step process that will help readers go through the process of creating a value-focused product or service. 

Phase 1, The Problem Definition Phase helps readers to first clarify their own core values or those of their organization, and then clearly define the Lightning Rod Target Customer Group and the most appropriate Problem Worth solving through a series of five steps:

Then, in Phase 2, The Knowledge Creation Phase, readers build upon the clarity that they established in the first five steps to then build a complete knowledge management system through the creation of a M.E.C.E. Question Tree and Value System Map that will guide them to deeply understand the key drivers influencing the problem that they previously identified and its solution.  At the end of this phase, readers will conduct a thorough competitive analysis defining both scarce and abundant resources.

Next, in Phase 3, The Strategy Creation Phase, readers will define their Objectives, brainstorm potential strategic elements and ultimately choose the most effective marketing strategy and value proposition which they will use to create their breakthrough products or services.

Finally in Phase 4, The Value Creation Phase, readers will create a Minimum Viable Solution Product and develop the appropriate tests to launch, monitor, analyze and refine both their products and strategy to create the highest possible value for their customers, organization, employees, partners, society and the planet. 

Audience

I have three main audiences for The Value Plan:

1)     Startup Founders: I’ve been lucky enough to work with many different entrepreneurs and startups over the last 18+ years, and I’ve learned that one of the biggest problems most of them have is finding that clear “Lightning Rod” target audience that their new product ideas deeply resonate with.  The Value plan was written to help them gain clarity on who their best customers are, and which problems to solve first for the highest possible value with the best possible marketing strategy.

2)     Chief Marketing Officers: Whether they’re managing a diverse, distributed, global workforce or are operating out of a single office, CMOs today know they need a new roadmap for success, but the old tools that they learned in business school or college just don’t work in today’s always connected, ever changing marketspaces.  The Value Plan will help CMOs to step back, see the bigger picture, define new value creation activities and then provide a roadmap for constantly honing the value that the products and services that they offer create across stakeholders.

3)     Marketing Professors: After teaching marketing at the Global MBA level for nearly 20 years I know how hard it is to keep students engaged while giving them the skills and capabilities that will power their success for rest of their careers.  The Value Plan has been tested across global classrooms, across multiple industries, companies and student levels, and it will help anyone teaching marketing to provide their students with the highest possible levels of learning while offering fun, interactive cases and practical, project-driven outcomes.  Powerpoint and video tutorials are available for all professors using The Value Plan in their classrooms.

Promotion

I have multiple ways to promote The Value Plan through traditional and online channels as outlined below.

First, and most important is that I have been teaching world-class MBA students from more than 80 countries around the world for the past 18+ years.  Many of them have now gone on to be respected leaders across academia, governments and businesses globally.  I will reach out to these students to gain their help in amplifying my messages about The Value Plan and should have a number of real examples of their own experience with and application of the The Value Plan frameworks in their own marketing and business efforts.

Social Media - I currently have more than 2,300 connections on LinkedIn, 984 friends on Facebook, and a growing email subscriber list.  But beyond the actual numbers, I have been fortunate enough to become friends with some of the most dynamic and successful entrepreneurs, executives and innovators through my work.  I will do my best to reach out to all of them to help promote the launch of The Value Plan.  

An example of how the ideas of The Value PlanMarketing resonate with people globally can be found in "The Story of 38 Yen" that I write a few years ago, which gained 2.7 thousand shares of Facebook, and countless comments across all of these shares.  I plan to share other similar stories and ask my global network of students, colleagues and friends to add theirs in order to show the importance and impact of the core messages within The Value Plan for long-term marketing success.

Competition

Competitor #1:  Textbooks used in marketing courses, as represented by: Kotler, P., Keller, K. L., Ancarani, F., & Costabile, M. (2014). Marketing management 14/e. Pearson.

The Value Plan differs from this book in that the content is accessible and easy to read by busy executives, it offers a clear framework that is founded upon the most recent research in Marketing, and it offers a clear, step-by-step guide for how to create and actual value-focused marketing strategy in any industry, company, or country.  

Competitor #2: Clearly detailed books on market/segment analysis like Winer, R. S. (2008). Analysis for marketing planning. Tata McGraw-Hill Education, and by Raisel, E. M. (1998). The McKinsey Way.

Where these types of books are excellent at providing step-by-step guidance on specific parts of the overall marketing strategy creation process, they fail to give an overall holistic view.  Therefore a reader would need to string together multiple books like this in order to come up with a comprehensive approach to building marketing strategy.  The Value Plan enables readers to avoid this, and in one book have a complete, holistic approach for marketing strategy creation optimized for 2019 and beyond.

Competitor #3: Easy to read books on Marketing theory and best practices, as represented by: Godin, S. (2005). All marketers are liars: The power of telling authentic stories in a low-trust world. Penguin.

The Value Plan differs from this type of book in that it is written not only to help working executives gain a new perspective on effective marketing practice, but also to learn new capabilities and obtain new tools to implement these.  

Competitor #4: Entrepreneurship and Business Model Creation frameworks as represented by: Ries, E. (2011). The lean startup: How today's entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Crown Books, and Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. John Wiley & Sons.

These books are written for entrepreneurs focused on building entire businesses and overlook the marketing perspective and the critical importance of value for employees, shareholders, partners, society and the planet in their value-creating efforts. 

16 publishers interested Express interest
Black Rose Writing logo Black Rose Writing

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Black Rose Writing is an independent publishing house that strongly believes in developing a personal relationship with their authors. The Texas-based publishing company doesn't see authors as clients or just another number on a page, but rather as individual people... people who deserve an honest review of their material and to be paid traditional royalties without ever paying any fees to be published.

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Koehler Books is an Indie publisher based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Our team of dedicated professionals promises you a holistic publishing experience where you'll receive our full attention, collaboration and coaching every step of the way. We offer two publishing models: a traditional non-fee model for the highest quality work, as well as a co-publishing model that includes creative development fees for emerging authors.

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Something or Other Publishing (SOOP) is a Madison, Wisconsin based independent press dedicated to publishing industrious authors in a wide variety of genres. SOOP has a unique model called author-driven publishing whereby we accept Book Idea submissions rather than completed manuscripts. Authors then work through a self-education program while getting votes. This educational experience combined with the email list built by gathering votes prepares authors for a successful pre-order campaign like those conducted on Publishizer.

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Key advantages to working with SOOP include the level of personalized care our authors receive. Although our Director of Publications worked for big New York publishing companies for over twenty five years and our Director of Editorial Services has decades of experience in print publications, both work closely with all of our authors. We have also become adept at social media marketing, harnessing the power of the crowd to promote authors and get them exposure previously reserved for big name authors published by big name publishing companies.

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Professionalism: with decades of combined years of writing, editing, designing, and publishing experience, our staff knows the ins and outs of the industry, and will be responsive and helpful. And of course, we will only publish books that truly contribute something wonderful to the world.

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The Value Plan Manifesto

The Heart and Soul of Marketing is VALUE

Your Mission: Grow it

Guiding Principles:

1.     Profitably co-creating value with our customers, employees, shareholders, partners, community and planet is required more now than ever before.

2.     Effective marketing practice requires empathy, agility and anticipation.  Taking time to focus on these is not wasted time, but rather is a necessary and important investment.

3.     Testing, learning and adapting are critical parts of this process, not enemies of it.

4.     The practice of marketing requires action.

a.     Talking about marketing is not doing marketing.

b.     Marketing does not happen in a textbook, it happens within a market.

c.      Knowing marketing theory does not mean that you know how to do marketing.

d.     Testing these theories today is the only way to prove that they are still relevant and that they still work, but offer no proof that they will continue to work tomorrow.

5.     The outcome of The Value Plan process is a beginning for delivering unprecedented value.  True value will only arise when you put these plans into action and work to endlessly improve these over time.

6.     Creating value is a world-changing exercise, and more than ever before, now is the time to help change the world for the better.

Preface

Is Marketing Bad?

As news headlines about climate change, over-consumption, trash vortexes in our oceans and affluenza grab our attention, The Marketer is coming center stage as the bad guy in the story.  Marketers make people buy what they don’t really need; they mess with our minds; they create products that waste precious resources and can’t be properly disposed of; they trick us with sexy ads that hide faulty products; all the while making increasing profits for their shareholders.  

But when we study marketing in classrooms or textbooks, it all seems so positive, rational and clear.

Is it possible, then, that there is a difference between what marketing is all about and what people tasked with doing marketing actually do? 

After years of teaching and conducting research in this field, it is clear that:

The Marketer ≠ Marketing

Since moving from being a marketing practitioner to a marketing professor, I’ve learned that marketing as a field of study is often far removed from the actual practice of marketing.   Professors are considered to live in calm and peaceful Ivory Towers, far removed from the hard fought battles waged by marketing practitioners.  Thankfully, more and more academic researchers are descending from these towers, and at the same time many marketing executives are outgrowing their battle mentality. 

As we’ll discuss in more detail in Section 1, until very recently, the foundation of what marketing is defined to be has focused academics and executives alike on solely making more and more profits through the sales of more products.  But thanks in a large part to the pioneering work of Steve Vargo and Robert Lusch, a new logic for marketing that transcends the idea of box moving has been formulated.  Vargo and Lusch’s Service Dominant Logic (SDL) argues that VALUE is the main currency and focus of marketing, which is delivered through SERVICE.  Products, while fundamentally important to the practice of marketing, are platforms for the co-creation and delivery of value through service.  We will cover this in much more detail shortly, but for anyone learning about or practicing marketing today, this means that we are now in the midst of an important shift in this underlying logic of marketing from the previous PROFIT-centered motive to a much more workable VALUE-centered motive.

Guided only by a profit motive, it is easy to focus on “moving more boxes” at increasingly higher profit margins while laughing happily to the bank, ignoring all those trash pits, affluenza attacks, income inequalities, and warming temperatures that we regularly read about in the news or personally experience. 

It has become abundantly clear that selling more products is not the end goal of business, nor of marketing, although hundreds of textbooks have tried to convince us otherwise.  Obviously, we must sell products profitably to even qualify as a business, but that is only part of a much bigger, more vibrant picture that I hope to paint in this book.

While many other practicing marketers, researchers and professors around the world have written excellent books on marketing, I have chosen to write this book for three reasons:

Reason #1 -- To Increase the Value You and Your Organization Create

I’ve become increasingly convinced that the sole executive focus on profit is flawed and incomplete.  Profit-focused marketing is outdated. Value-focused marketing is the future. With a value focus, by definition your company will achieve profits. In addition to this, value will flow for customers, employees, partners, society and the planet. This mindset is the next level of marketing, and something many executives globally have yet to fully understand. I’ve written this book to help reinforce this important shift in logic from the Profit Motive to the Value Motive for marketers globally.  To enhance the ideas that Vargo and Lusch have brilliantly written in their Service Dominant Logic articles and books, I strongly believe that the products that we create, sell, service, collect and recycle are platforms for service delivery.  They deliver something valuable that allows us to be beneficial in ways that we hadn’t been before.  This value symphony that we orchestrate has multiple key actors with whom we work together to co-create value. 

Because of this, my first goal is that this book will provide you with a clear, step-by-step, easy-to-follow process that anyone with interest in business and/or marketing can implement. This book and everything that I’ve built around it is my best effort to change this understanding, and by doing so, help you to create products, services and solutions that generate unprecedented levels of value for all of these key stakeholders.

Reason #2:  To Save Your Countless Hours of Time & Energy in Creating Marketing Strategy

While I learned a variety of important skills and ways of thinking when I went to business school, the approach to collecting information and writing reports that seemed in style at the time was what I now lovingly call the BRUTE FORCE approach.  Basically, my team members and I would spend countless hours before an important course deadline collecting and analyzing as much data as we could possibly find.  We would then synthesize this data into the best possible report and presentation document and breathlessly submit it minutes before the deadline, still warm from the printer, but missing out on sleep, proper meals and quality time with other friends and loved ones during these marathon sessions.

Unfortunately, this same work ethic stuck with me in my early working years at American Express. But I soon began to notice that about 90% or more of the hard work that I had done on these reports was typically removed from the final presentation given to my boss’s boss days or weeks after my first submission.  All the precious time and energy that I had dedicated to the Brute Force approach resulted in me developing reports that were deemed to be (1) not interesting to my superiors, or (2) in need of constant revisions because the questions that they asked when I presented my work often required me to abandon my previous ideas and begin an entirely new search somewhere else.

Maybe you are better at report generation than I was, and maybe you don’t find yourself in such frustrating situations.  If this is the case, then I envy your natural talent to avoid such missteps.  But in my experience, the unfortunate reality seems to be that even students from the world’s top MBA programs, and executives who have graduated from them (and even those without MBAs) similarly seem to suffer from the affliction of the Brute Force approach.

After repeated bouts of wasted time and energy that I had put into my reports during my early American Express days, I sat down with myself to review my situation and came to realize that I had a box problem.  I had heard my professors and superiors regularly talking about “thinking outside the box”, but it just didn’t dawn on me until then that traditional marketing textbooks often convince their readers, both teachers and students alike, to ignore most of the probing, exploring and thinking that is required to create real value, and just fill in the appropriate boxes.

Now that I am a professor, I’ve come to realize that it is much, much easier to correct test answers placed into empty boxes than free-form answers and creative thinking from my students.  But those days as a Marketing Manager at American Express showed me in living color the problems of this mentality in the real world of a marketing executive.

I’m not sure if you’ve seen these types of books yourself, but the ones that I had read tried to get me to think like this:

Philip, do you have a detailed situation analysis?

If so,  [fill in this box]

How about a complete Competitive Analysis?

If so, [fill in this box]

How do Porter's Five Forces apply here?                                    

[fill in this box]

Did you include a SWOT Analysis?                                            

[fill in this box]

Ok. Maybe my textbooks weren’t written exactly like that and they definitely weren’t personalized with my name pre-filled inside of them. But hopefully you see my point. There seems to be a hidden code in the minds of marketing students and executives that goes something like this:

If: Empty Box ------------------>  Then: Fill in the Box

It took me many, many failed reports, presentation and meetings before it sank into my thick skull that there had to be a better way.  This way began with four (technically three) letters, “M.E.C.E.”.

Popularized and championed by McKinsey Consulting, and explained in great detail by Barbara Minto in her book Pyramid Principle, M.E.C.E. approaching my marketing challenges with a M.E.C.E. mindset completely changed my understanding about how to get work done effectively, and the results of switching from the Brute Force approach to the M.E.C.E. method were astounding.  I was able to ask relevant and timely questions about the projects I was asked to do BEFORE I began data collection.  I was able to save countless hours of my time and energy and still deliver results that received warm smiles and positive feedback from the very bosses I had previously cursed as being horrible people.  Rather than finishing my work in the same hour that it was due, I actually could finish days in advance, have time to polish my presentation and get a good night’s sleep before important meetings and presentation days.

After teaching world-class MBA students and executives from around the world, I have learned that most of them also have never been taught anything but the Brute Force approach combined with some version of the Fill in the Box method, which in combination result in the waste of incredible amounts of their own time and energy.  This is because doing so makes them “feel” like they are doing the best work they possibly can, when in fact, they are not.

In reality, the best work is done when it feels fun and like an adventure, or as a mystery that we help to unravel.  When work feels like WORK, I’ve found that it very likely does not result in creating real value.

It is still an amazing feeling for me to watch the lights turn on behind the eyes of a student or executive as the understanding takes hold and the “AHA” moments of “Hey, this makes sense” and “Hey, this just saved me incredible amounts of time and energy” sink in.  So, the second reason that drove me to write this book is to help save you the time, energy and emotions that come with implementing the Brute Force approach.  By doing so, I am convinced that you will be able to move from agonizing about value-based products and the service that flows through them to co-creating these plans far more smoothly and effectively than ever before.

Reason #3:  To Help you move “best”


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  • Anonymous
    on Dec. 10, 2019, 9:10 p.m.

    Search engines tend to choke on it.