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How to Combat Commoditization with Marketing

September 7, 2023

In a world where products and services are increasingly seen as mere commodities, B2B businesses face a daunting challenge – how to stand out in a sea of sameness. 

The pursuit of lower prices has led to a marketplace where buyers base their purchasing decisions solely on cost, leaving organizations grappling with shrinking profit margins and a loss of customer loyalty. This phenomenon is known as commoditization, and it’s a force that can make or break your company.

In this post, we are discussing what it takes to combat commoditization with the power of B2B marketing. We will explore how businesses can unleash innovative tactics to differentiate themselves, captivate customers, and transcend the boundaries of price-focused competition.

Quick Takeaways

  • Commoditization occurs when products or services lack perceived competitive advantages, leading to price-based decision-making by customers 
  • Factors contributing to market commoditization include technological advancements, globalization, increased competition, and market saturation 
  • Establishing a unique, Winning Value Proposition (VP) helps differentiate businesses by showcasing unique features, benefits, value, and experiences 
  • Branding, customer relationship-building, and innovation are essential in combating commoditization and positioning a business as a leader in the market

Discover the pivotal role marketing plays in combating commoditization and find opportunities for your B2B business to gain a competitive advantage

What Is Commoditization?

Commoditization occurs when products or services become perceived as interchangeable and lacking distinct competitive advantages. 

graphic shows how commoditization occurs when businesses offer interchangeable products or services

In the average market, roughly 20% of B2B buying decisions are made according to price. When a market becomes commoditized, this percentage increases significantly. 

In a commoditized market, customers base their purchasing decisions solely on price. This  results in intense price competition and diminishing profit margins for businesses, in addition to loss of customer loyalty and limited differentiation. 

What Causes Market Commoditization?

Several factors contribute to market commoditization, including:

  • Technological advancements often lead to replication of products and services. As technologies become more accessible and widely adopted, competitors can easily replicate offerings, increasing the risk of commoditization.
  • Globalization and increased competition make it challenging for businesses to differentiate themselves. Increased competition, coupled with price-focused consumers, accelerates the commoditization process.
  • Market saturation causes customers to perceive fewer differences among offerings. This saturation further fuels commoditization as businesses struggle to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
graphic shows that a commoditized market devalues market offerings

By understanding the nature and impact of commoditization, you can be proactive and address challenges through strategic marketing approaches.  

The Role of Marketing In Combating Commoditization

In the battle against commoditization, marketing serves as a powerful way for businesses to differentiate themselves and break free from price-based competition. 

By embracing innovative marketing strategies, businesses can create a distinct identity, capture customer attention, and carve out a unique position in the market. Let’s explore the key roles marketing plays in combating commoditization:

1. Establishing a Winning Value Proposition

At the heart of combating commoditization lies a Winning Value Proposition (VP). This is the secret to ensuring you can convince clients that the overall value of your product or service is worth the premium price. 

A well-crafted VP make a business’s products or services stand out by showcasing their unique: 

  • Features
  • Benefits
  • Value
  • Experiences

A recent survey shows that 86% of B2B CMOs believe that the customer experience is becoming more and more critical each year. By identifying and effectively communicating your Winning VP, you can capture the hearts and minds of customers, and highlight distinct benefits.

Imagine a world where every product or service had a strong and well-communicated VP. Customers would no longer be swayed solely by price, but instead make informed decisions based on the value offered.

2. Targeted Marketing and Customer Segmentation

In the battle against commoditization, generic marketing strategies fall short. To succeed, businesses have to embrace targeted marketing and customer segmentation. This way, they can engage with customers on an individual level. 

When businesses take the time to understand their customers’ unique needs and challenges, they can create personalized marketing campaigns that resonate with customer needs. 

This level of personalization not only combats commoditization, but also:

  • Strengthens customer relationships
  • Fosters loyalty
  • Transcends price fluctuations

By understanding your target market’s needs, preferences, and pain points, you can tailor your marketing messages and offers to speak directly to specific customer segments.

3. Differentiation Through Branding

Branding is a powerful tool for businesses that want to combat commoditization. A well-defined brand identity resonates with customers on a deeper level through:

  • A unique story
  • Emotions
  • Values

A strong brand identity will allow you to differentiate yourself from competitors who offer similar products or services.

Think about iconic brands that have successfully tackled commoditization head-on. Their brand stories, carefully crafted messaging, and consistent visual identities create an emotional connection with customers. In turn, customers perceive these brands as elevated, trustworthy,  or even beloved choices.

4. Building Customer Relationships

In the face of commoditization, building and maintaining strong customer relationships is paramount. 

Businesses have no choice but to go beyond one-time transactions and create long-term partnerships with their buyers. Marketing plays a vital role in nurturing these relationships by:

  • Delivering exceptional experiences
  • Providing added value
  • Fostering genuine connections

Managing B2B customer relationships is not easy, but key account management can help companies build and maintain long-term relationships with clients.  Key account management creates a focus for maximizing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and profitability.

When organizations treat their customers as valued partners on a shared journey, they can use data to create personalized experiences that make customers feel seen and understood. 

These meaningful interactions build trust, loyalty, and a sense of partnership that helps combat commoditization by shifting the focus from price to the overall value delivered.

5. Innovation and Continuous Improvement

Businesses have to continuously find new ways to stay ahead of the curve and provide customers with efficient and effective: 

  • Solutions
  • Experiences
  • Benefits

Effective marketing strategies allow organizations to showcase their innovations, generating excitement and positioning the business as a leader in the market.

Be a business that embraces a culture of continuous improvement and innovation in quality, durability, and cost effectiveness. Anticipate customer needs, challenge industry norms, and consistently deliver groundbreaking solutions. Through strategic marketing initiatives, you can communicate your expertise to customers, creating a perception of value that goes beyond a commoditized technology. 

Combat Commoditization with Marketing Today

With the right strategies, processes, and an innovative approach to marketing, B2B businesses can combat commoditization and establish a unique position in the market. By developing a strong identity and building strong customer relationships, you can create a sustainable competitive advantage. 

Looking for more expert advice on how to combat commoditization with marketing? Ask about how an ISBM Membership can help your company grow now, join us at our next Member’s Only Meeting or visit ISBM today to learn more!

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