"Is there a way out of commodity-market quicksand, where companies get so caught up in cost-cutting?" That's a question on many minds these days, and it was addressed in a recent column on BtoBonline.com by Kay Plantes, co-author of "Beyond Price: Differentiate Your Company in Ways That Really Matter." Plantes sums up the problem very well in her column:
The Internet demolished barriers to entry and made price comparisons and auctions relatively easy. A rapidly growing and strong business services sector helps companies copy competitors' offerings. Finally, disruptive innovation -- finding a lower-cost way of performing a specific job -- has become the flavor-of-the-day strategy. Excess capacity makes matters even worse.She offers a list of ways that business-to-business marketers can combat the discounting trend:
- Offer something that gets customers excited. Can you increase your customers' revenue? Lower their costs? These are the benefits that matter, not your quality or features, she writes.
- Communicate the value promise first and individual products second.
- Don't forget to communicate with your own employees. They must understand the value promise so they can help deliver it.
- Make sure your marketing department is part of the team that sets your strategy.