An easy way to commoditize yourself is to end up on a list. If you are on a list with twenty, thirty or hundreds like you, then you have created a convenience for someone else to categorize you. You are the same as everyone else on the list. It’s a poor strategy for being picked. It is hope.
If we are looking at lists, we want the best or convenient. Those who are listed merely made it convenient for a the list owner to see choice. Plumbers, dentists, and consultants do this all time.
What they don’t realize is they have surrendered their uniqueness. What makes them special just got ignored. They have been diluted by allowing themselves to be easily compared. Their brand and their story are in the mix.
If your marketing strategy is based on where you are listed, don’t expect to be treated or approached as special. The list means you are now able to be shopped, bargained with and essentially, commoditized.
Instead of hoping to be picked, how about picking yourself? Then let the world engage your uniqueness. It takes more work and thinking. Here are some strategies to get out of the commodity game:
- Declare your best. State and plaster what you are the best in the world at. Are you the fastest? The most creative? Help the buyer understand what makes you unique.
- Frame the criteria. When considering your service or product, outline what an ideal customer should be looking for. Outline how they win and how you help them succeed. How do they grade?
- Create emotional connection. Tell stories of your customers that your ideal customer can identify with. Use imagery and presentation that creates emotion for your buyer which compels them to want to know you.
- Grow a platform. Use your own systems and processes for attracting and courting a customer. Grow it over time. Analyze it and refine it. Make it easier for someone to do business with you. Own the experience.
Picking yourself is the best strategy for avoiding commoditization. There are plenty of brokers, distributors and curators who would love to have you in their lists. Just remember the trade-off. You can either build something of your own or hope that you stand out in a sea of choices. I vote for being special.
So are there some steps you can take for your brand?