Successful Reverse Innovation Strategy Explored At Tuck Executive Education
Mahindra USA is now showcased at Tuck Executive Education as a case study on successfully implementing reverse innovation. Mahindra USA (MUSA) entered the U.S. tractor market in 1994 and proceeded to establish itself as a successful niche player using innovative marketing and sales strategies.
Mahnidra USA’s successful entry into the U.S. marketplace from an emerging market is featured by Vijay Govindrajan, Professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, USA in his book, Reverse Innovation: Create Far from Home, Win Everywhere (jointly written with Chris Trimble well-known innovation speaker and consultant and also on the faculty at Tuck) which profiles companies that have pioneered Reverse Innovation.
“Leveraging a great product in a new market required a thoughtful and deliberate strategy to encourage trial and capture mindshare with both dealers and customers," said Mani Iyer, President of Mahindra USA. “Staying true to our Rise philosophy and core values has led Mahindra to an industry-leading 97 percent customer satisfaction and 98 percent brand loyalty.”
“The Mahindra USA case study is one of the excellent examples whereby senior leaders at our Executive Program can understand the challenges as well as the frustrations they will face on the road to innovation, said Prof. Govindrajan. “The Mahindra USA story shows executives that in the pursuit of reverse innovation’s rewards, one can be both disciplined and flexible.”
Rather than trying to develop a product that could compete with bigger brands, MUSA targeted a smaller agricultural niche, hobby farmers, landscapers, and building contractors. This strategy, coupled with personalized service, building close relationships with dealers, customers and the community at large, proved highly effective. MUSA’s sales grew an average of 40 percent per year from 1999 to 2006.
“At the heart of our success is Mahindra’s dealer-first, customer-focused strategy. Our customers are now our biggest advocates, helping to build the brand to become a premier player in North America,” said Cleo Franklin, Vice-President, Marketing and Strategic Planning. “Growing our market share in an industry of well-established brands required us to get creative and approach the market from a different perspective to stand apart from the competition and Rise.”
Prof. Govindrajan defines reverse innovation as “any innovation that is adopted first in the developing world.” This is contrary to the dominant innovation pattern which dictates that innovations typically originate in rich and developed countries and later flow downhill to the developing world. Prof. Govindrajan describes Mahindra as one of several “emerging giants, the rising generation of multinationals headquartered in the developing world.
Mahindra “Rise” is a culture and philosophy of Accepting No Limits, Driving Positive Change and Alternative Thinking.
Mahindra became the #1 selling tractor brand in the world in 2010 by providing consumers with value-packed, high-quality tractors. Mahindra is the only tractor manufacturer in the world to win both the Deming Application Prize and the coveted Japan Quality Medal for excellence in Total Quality Management, awarded by the Deming Prize Committee care of the Union of Japanese Scientists.