Home > Best Practices, Branding, Business Strategy, Marketing, Sales, Unique Selling Proposition > The Short Journey from Commoditization to Obsolescence

The Short Journey from Commoditization to Obsolescence

December 29, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Let’s see how good your memory is…do you remember any of the following ten products/brands?

Pan Am



Compaq Computers

Wachovia Bank

Woolworth’s Department Store

Cingular Wireless

Diner’s Club

Levitz Furniture

Tab (soft drink)

Pan Am logoCompaq logo Tab image



Do you know what they all have in common? They were all once iconic/recognizable brands that no longer exist!  So why do successful brands become commoditized?  Here are the top twelve reasons:

  1. Market saturation/Too much supply
  2. Lack of perceived value/Inability to articulate value
  3. To many competitors
  4. Inability to differentiate product, service or Brand
  5. Competitors offering discounted pricing
  6. Internet providing “free” or “low cost” solutions
  7. Market believing they can get the same products from someone else
  8. Maturing market
  9. Lack of innovation/product development
  10. Ignoring trends, market place conditions, competitive forces, etc.
  11. Reacting to competitors (or the market) versus being proactive
  12. Rapidly changing technology/innovation

So what actions should a company take to avoid commoditization? Here are tried and true ways to avoid the commoditization trap:

Find your voice…your unique market message (Leverage your Brand Positioning Strategy)

Understand how your customer defines value (Quantify the value you bring)

Be an expert on the unique needs of your customer (Offer solutions to address their needs)

Better leverage social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube)

Become the subject matter expert

Weave a web of influence…avoid single-point failures

Sell value…not price

Assess and focus on your strengths…not your weaknesses

Provide quality products at a fair price

Deliver customer service excellence

Make complex solutions less complex

Create visions for new ways of doing things

Don’t let your competition define you…increase your feet-on-the-street

Happy New Year!

  1. Bill woods
    December 29, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks John very valuable! We need to heed this advice

  2. Molchan, Nathan
    December 30, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks B!

  3. January 1, 2014 at 11:47 am

    No one can predict the future. All businesses eventually fail and they should because it stops stagnation and complacency. The trick as a sales executive is knowing when to cash in your chips and move on to your next challenge. In other words, roll with the punches, be flexible, work at acquiring as many diversified experiences as possible, never stop learning, don’t assume your current employer will be around when you retire and be conscious that your are working towards achieving financial independence.

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