Never call your product a “commodity”

12May10

I got a spam email the other day from some random company, in which they proceeded to give me a full overview of all the products they sell — none of which I have any use for, of course. One aspect of the email caught my attention, though: they actually described their products as “commodity” items.

From the vendor’s point of view, the last thing you want is for customers to treat your offering like a commodity. After all, that would mean potential buyers perceive the product as so generic that pretty much anybody’s version will do. When something is a commodity, customers usually shop on price alone, and things like design or durability are much lower on the list.

If the product you’re selling is at risk of becoming a commodity due to competition or other market forces, you’ll typically want to do anything you can to help customers see why your product is unique or different or just plain better than the rest. With this in mind, describing your product as a commodity is counterproductive at best, and disastrous at worst. As a vendor, you should banish the word from your marketing and advertising vocabulary, since encouraging customers to think about your products that way will do nothing but hurt you.



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