Differentiating a commodity

Everybody has a flash drive or memory stick; in fact, most of my friends have many. Flash drives are frequent giveaways at trade shows and conferences. They're wonderfully cheap and come in many sizes. So why buy one brand over another? Pexagon offers flash drives in 14 colors (in 512M, 1G, 2G, and 4G sizes) and they will engrave the drives FREE--no minimums; no setup fee. I'm thinking I'll buy a few for my backback with my name and number on them.

Seth Godin shares another commodity story in when the copy doesn't match the story. He notes that the copy leads off with, "The Bissell Healthy Home Vacuum is built like no other vacuum." Well, not really; the Bissell is just a clone of the Dyson but cheaper.

When your product category becomes commoditized, you can go cheap or you can go custom. Which makes the most sense for your business and for your customer?

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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