Thursday, May 10, 2012

Commoditization Commode

What makes you or your company unique? What services or products do you provide that are really different? Have you added products and services just because the other guy has them? What makes you stand out from the herd?

I have noticed a trend in the IT Services/Managed Services space that I find disturbing. Not disturbing like childhood obesity, disturbing like we are making it harder for the consumer to tell us apart. It is a bad case of the me toos… You do that? Me too! You sell that? Me too! You have a widget? Me too!

I understand that imitation is the highest form of flattery and if something is working for one vendor in the industry, it should work for another, however... If you are adding a marketing plan, Facebook page, Google+ page, Pinterest, training, or anything else because the other guy is doing it, you need to stop, take a breath, and make a good business decision for your own business.

Maybe following the herd leaders isn’t the right thing to do, and maybe is. They may have discovered the tried and proven path to market. If so, still try and be unique. Do not become a commodity. When you buy milk, do you always buy the same brand? 2%, organic, in a paper carton, but whose? I don’t generally care, and that is their fault for not making me care, or telling me why their milk is better and worth the extra 45 cents a gallon.

So what is the real issue here? Money. It is easy to extract higher profit from a client when you wrap products and services together is an easy to pay subscription model. Unless, brand X seems just like yours and it is 15% less… Once you are perceived as a commodity you will be shopped.

This is the huge trend in IT Services and the rush of products moving into the cloud only makes it easier. Bad news, all the major players are spending millions marketing their solution to your clients via mass media. Your solution is being compared to what they think Microsoft, Cisco, Apple and Google can offer them, how are you different? Better? You better have an answer when your prospects ask you.

Don’t allow you and your company to be flushed with the other companies acting like commodities out there. Know your clients, know your products, know your services, know your costs, and know your uniqueness.

1 comment:

  1. Steve, great post....

    Here are my thoughts.

    I am first instructing all of my MSP Coaching clients to turn off their email and just delete the noise. If they need something bad enough, join a peer group like HTG or get a consultant like me to help them.

    Next, find out what makes you different. Working World in Brantford, ON offers IT Training (end user and technical) and it makes them gobs of cash. Syndeo in Oceanside California offers virtual office services as a value added service.

    Then look at your website. Do you look like the guy down the street. Get a life people and inject some personality into your website, social media and marketing. It isn't that hard to stand out. I have to say this Steve...STOP IT. Do it for yourself or get my team to do it...we are small and offer customized services and not every MSP is a good client for us.

    Just my 2 cents Canadian...

    Stuart Crawford

    Check out Working World at and Syndeo at Yes they are MSPU sites but they have my Ulisticized :-)