Many companies find themselves in mature, highly competitive markets. Some of these arenas take on the characteristics of commodities, where products or services are largely undifferentiated by customers. Price pressure is great, product/service quality is assumed, margins are at risk. In this circumstance, a business has options. One is to resist commoditization by differentiating from competitors.
1. Make the case. Take proactive steps to create the impression and demonstrate proof points that your company’s people, products or services are different from those provided by others in your market.
2. Separate your business by means of branding. In a contemporary sense, branding is an expression of how others experience you. Brand communicates individuality in ethic, ability, and style. Express YOUR corporate brand clearly and consistently.
3. Participate in social media and social networking activities that create conversation with partners, customers, and prospects. By actively engaging your target audience in this way, you will invariably gather information that may impact product management as well which, in turn, may help you further differentiate your organization. In this way, social media and social networking can create cyclical experiences. This type of communication also has the potential to differentiate you from your peer group and encourage timely lead generation for new sales.
4. Maximize PR and industry-related interactions. Where possible, engage in public speaking or distributing news of research or corporate accomplishments. Broadly disseminate your story that conveys your industry acumen and experience. These activities tend to elevate industry stature.
How many companies do you observe that don’t embrace the challenge to differentiate in a mature, competitive market? If you fail to differentiate aren’t you a commodity business anyway? We see examples everyday of companies who work hard to differentiate and create lasting relationships with customers. Aren’t most computers more alike than not today? Aren’t most clothing stores more similar than not? Isn’t unleaded gas the same from one station to the next? Yet, some companies succeed at defining themselves in some unique way that customers appreciate.
The reality is that many businesses find themselves in markets that are truly mature, highly competitive, and have to varying degrees become commodity spaces. The opportunity and challenge is to influence the perception of those who make buying decisions. Some characteristics that can help change perception and, therefore, help you differentiate include:
- Tout your financial strength
- Discuss your stability and longevity
- Showcase your investment in technology, product development and delivery
- Demonstrate your commitment to quality of service and relationship management
- Communicate your commitment to social causes
Translation: If buyers perceive value in their relationship with you, the tiebreaker goes to you. In other words, you may sell a commodity. That doesn’t necessarily make your business one too.
For more information on my company’s philosophy and services please visitwww.GSM.Marketing. I welcome your comments.