Competitiveness can be a positive thing. It inspires companies of all sizes to innovate and improve over time, and the constant push to do better can lead to some creative, outstanding results. However, because most markets are growing increasingly competitive, it’s getting harder to sort excellent goods and services from the rest, leaving a lot of voices drowned out by the noise. In the end, it all goes back to showing what you know, and adopting thought leadership as a key part of your strategy is key to distinguishing yourself from your competitors. Many think thought leadership is just a marketing ploy, but manufacturing companies stand to earn many long-term benefits by posting blogs and other pieces of content that draw back to your expertise. Even if you’re in a niche market, demonstrating awareness of what’s going on in your industry/sector goes a long way; in fact, 93 percent of respondents in a 2016 Bloom Group study said high-quality thought leadership content improves their opinion of the company producing it (while 94 percent also pointed out that poor or no content lowers their perception). But what can you do to ensure the content has good return-on-investment and gets you more
Do customers consider your products commodities? Nearly two-thirds of companies report that their products or services have fallen into commodity traps, as customers assume that there’s little or no difference between vendors. This puts tremendous pressure on pricing - with both customers and suppliers - a third of manufacturers find themselves stuck in price-centric, buy-and-sell relationships with customers (an even higher percentage of SMEs are stuck). Unfortunately, commodity-based, transactional relationships almost always lead to limited bargaining power and low margins. According to marketing expert Andrew Thomas of the University of Akron, current marketing and distribution notions have wrongly convinced thousands of U.S. innovators that the sale and distribution of their products and services is better left in the hands of outside forces. But there's good news: breaking out of the commodity trap can re-energize your organization — and your profits. In doing this, focus on three commodity-trap escape routes: Innovate: If competitors copy your products, make your own versions obsolete. Few products retain popularity forever (Twinkies excepted). Nothing drives new margins like new products. Differentiate: Add value to existing products — via enhanced service and support, embedded intelligence, extended warranties, etc. — that distinguishes your offerings from those of competitors.