Business Model Matrix™

While creating the Integrated Customer Lifecycle™, interconnecting all four front-office departments, we found remarkable similarities between a focus on sales and the traits of Customer Centricity. Similarly, a focus on marketing pointed to Product Centricity. We started to wonder: Could we match other business models to the two remaining departments of the Integrated Customer Lifecycle™, and if so, what does it mean?

Business ModelingStrategic ManagementHIGH15 minutes

Before answering these questions, let’s have a look at the Business Model Matrix™:


To understand why we mapped Product Centricity and Customer Centricity the way we did,  you’ll need to understand the destinct difference between the two. In short, Product Centricity is about growing a share of market, while Customer Centricity is about growing a share of the customer, or as we prefer to call it, a share of wallet.

Don Peppers, author and co-founder of Peppers & Rogers Group, once created a simple graph to explain the most obvious differences between the two business models, to which we added our own insights:


Peppers also came up with a neat description of each of the two business models:

“Product-centric competition is based on having a product that meets a certain customer need, and then trying to find as many customers as possible who want to have that need met. Success is measured by the number of customers reached. In competitive terms, this would represent the company’s market share.”

“Customer-centric competition starts with an individual customer and tries to meet as many of that customer’s needs as possible – across all the company’s divisions and business units, and through time. In competitive terms, this would represent a share of customer.“


In the Business Model Matrix™ we used the term ‘Exploitative’ to capture the traits of Product Centricity, which is, as suggested by the vertical axis, a growth-driven business model, used to exploit market potential. This objective can only be achieved at scale through extensive marketing campaigns.


Customer Centricity on the other hand is ‘Explorative’ by nature: it is an in-depth business model, exploring the scope of individual customer needs. Contrary to marketing communication, which addresses the market at large, sales is about building relationships, while helping customers make informed decisions. Account-based marketing, or account management as we used to call it, is the best way to explore customer needs.

Both business models are AS-A-PRODUCT, meaning, it is about getting a customer to buy a product or service, by which they obtain some form of ownership or possession.


As you can see, these two known business models match the right-hand side, i.e., the acquisition-side, of the ROUNDMAP. And we do understand why, given the focus of most businesses on customer creation, while greatly ignoring customer retention.

However, as it becomes harder and more expensive to acquire new customers, leadership is shifting its attention to customer retention. And they should, as competition is shifting from AS-A-PRODUCT business models to AS-A-SERVICE business models.

As it turned out, there was no framework to describe both these known and new models. I decided to study these new business models, referred to by popular terminology as Sharing Economy, Resource Economy, Servitization, Uberization, and Network Economy.

Then it got me thinking: Could I match these new business models to the left-hand side, the retention-side, of the ROUNDMAP. As it turned out, I could.


I found two destinct AS-A-SERVICE models: a growth-driven one, which I named Network Centricity, and an in-depth one, which I named Resource Centricity. Which allowed me to map these two models along the same vertical axis as the known business models.

However, I needed to make another distinction, on a horizontal axis, to turn it into a 2×2. By adding Number of Products Sold (r) versus Percentage of Resources Used (l) the Business Model Matrix™ came to be.


Resource Centricity is regenerative – it is about syndicating supply & demand into a resource-based service-offering. An example of Resource Centricity is an Airliner. The objective is to utilize each plane to its full capacity. It makes no sense to sell twice as much airflight tickets as there are seats available. Another example is a ride-sharing concept, like Greenwheels. Again, the objective is to maximize the use of each resource.

Resource-centric competition is based on a service-driven resource that meets a certain customer’s need, and then trying to get as much of that resource utilized. Success is measured by the percentage of the full capacity used. In competitive terms this would represent the company’s share of utilization.


Network Centricity, on the other hand, is about aggregating supply & demand into a marketplace, or a marketspace as it happens to be called in a digital world.

Modern examples of Network Centricity are Amazon’s Marketplace, eBay, and Facebook, where participants meet, facilitated by a digital platform, to exchange value. However, we’ve seen marketplaces throughout the ages, even along the ancient Silk Road.

Network-centric competition is based on a physical or digital location where participant’s fulfill each others needs, and then trying to grow participation. Success is measured by the number of participants to the network, as well as the number of transactions between them. In competitive terms this would represent the company’s share of transaction.


I guess you by now understand why we mapped these AS-A-SERVICE models as we did. Indeed, a resource-centric business model is a monitization of a service-offering, i.e., a focus on the Delivery department, while a network-centric business model exploits a company’s ability to pro-actively build lasting relationships, i.e., pointing to Success.


We assume these four business models are elemental. Meaning, there are in our opinion no other business models then these four. That’s why we refer to these four business models as the Elemental Business Models™. The figure below gives you a clockwise overview of the four Elemental Business Models™, their leverage and some of their traits.


You may be familiar with the three types of value position by Treacy & Wiersema. As it turned out, similar to the business models, I was able to map these value disciplines into the same 2×2 of the Business Model Matrix, but only after I added a fourth.

These value disciplines, as assumed by Treacy & Wiersema, are determine by the opinion of external parties of what the company is good at. To determine its value position, four rules have to be considered:

  1. Try to be the best by excelling in one of the value disciplines.
  2. Maintain threshold standards on other value disciplines.
  3. Control the market by improving value year after year.
  4. Support the value discipline you have opted for by delivering a well-chosen (operating) organizational model.

The three value disciplines are:

  1. Product Leadership – strive for product development and product innovation – try to be better, smaller, faster, trendier, cheaper, etc.
  2. Customer Intimacy – try and meet customer’s requirements and deliver mainly tailor-made work and one-on-one solutions – try to know everything there is to know about your customer.
  3. Operational Excellence – aim to provide customers with high quality products or services at competitive prices and ease of purchase – reduce flaws, increase automation, and excel at service.

If you perceive these three value disciplines in sequence, you’ll begin to see that they follow the same pattern as the four Elemental Business Models. Remarkable, isn’t it.


But there is one missing. Treacy & Wiersema introduced their assumptions in 1993, before the Dotcom boom. One of the innovations that lead to the rise of e-commerce was the ability to show how much items were in stock. Prior to this, it was impossible to combine online catalogs with the actual status of an offline inventory. This led, combined with online payment processing, to large trading platforms like Amazon’s Marketplace and eBay.

When we needed to come up with a fourth value discipline, we therefore choose: Network Orchestration. We borrowed the idea from an article on Harvard Business Review, in which research, examining 40 years of financial data, showed that “Network Orchestrators outperform companies with other business models on several key dimensions.”

Although the authors suggested ‘Network Orchestrators’ to be a business model, we believe it is a value position, which can be applied by any business model.


So, there you have it. Four Elemental Business Models™ and four value disciplines mapped in one matrix, the Business Model Matrix™, with which we can plan any strategy, any business model, and any value position. There is so much more to tell about it, so keep an eye on our newsitems to come, or assign to our newsletter and we keep you posted.


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