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10.4 The Downside of Lock-in

A consistent theme of this book is that companies must pursue innovation and differentiation constantly. Locking in your customers does not mean you can abandon innovation and let your products and service languish in mediocrity. Because consumers will eventually abandon your products and services and you will eventually fade from the marketplace. As we have said in an earlier chapter, people want to control their environment and they do not want to be controlled. Google has been very proactive on this front because they realize that lock-in is very transitory and they have attempted to engender trust through innovation.Fitzpatrick and Lueck (2010). Cable companies were able to lock-in their customers because there was very little competition. The landline cable companies avoided innovation and they treated their customers poorly. It is only recently that they have been able to shirk their earlier image and begin to engender trust and acceptance in the marketplace. All businesses must change, even if it is only in the minds of consumers, or they will eventually be abandoned.