Differentiate or be commoditized

This is the second in a series of short posts related to The CMO Agenda research. Informed by recent CMO conversations and CMG Partners‘ collective experience helping top marketers develop marketing strategy, we have compiled a list of seven ideas or jump starters for further conversation. These are meant to spark discussion, ideas, and action as we all enter a difficult 2009.

True differentiation is increasingly hard with faster moving markets and better-educated shoppers. This means the task of constantly exploring whether your products and services stand out in the mind of the consumer is critical.

How will you differentiate for the long-term?

Forecasting the “death of the American Brand” as one CMO said, forces you to think about the private label explosion and house brand strength by the likes of Target and big chains. These house brands are successful because very little separates them from the old standards.

This trend is happening in everything from CPG to Computers to Insurance. Dell rode the wave as it commoditized the PC market, which now tries to find a sure footing again. Even service markets like insurance are seeing this trend as GEICO and Progressive lead the charge to commoditize auto insurance and drive down prices — even large cost-ridden competitors are following them in this practice.

In this tough economic market, for many the first reaction is to discount or attempt to push value and rationale messaging, but marketers need to understand the long-term impact. It is time to reassess the market and understand current strategic impacts to make decisions and trade-offs on how your company can differentiate in a unique way.

Mirror post at cmgpartners.com/blog

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