Avoid Falling into the Commodity Trap

Aaron Montgomery has been involved with the garment decorating and personalization industry since 2000 and the digital printing industry since 1997. He has been actively involved in the industry trade shows via speaking, attending and exhibiting for the last 16 years. He also writes articles for the industry magazines and blogs on topics that include marketing, social media, the personalization market, and garment decorating techniques. He is dedicated to helping small businesses grow and succeed. You can find Aaron co-hosting the industry's oldest and most listened to Podcast - 2 Regular Guys (www.2regularguys.com). You can also find blogs about a wide range of topics on his own website at aaronmontgomery.info.

We have all been told, “I can get this from your competitor cheaper,” and if your only reply is to lower your price, you have fallen into the commodity bucket.

A mentality shift must occur. You have to rethink your policies, your outward message, how your staff interacts with your customers, and put yourself in your customers’ shoes. How do all those factors look and feel from your customers’ vantage point?

A great way to go about this is to spend some time talking to some of your best customers. Ask them either through direct conversations or surveys why they buy from you. My guess is they will not reference the type of printer you use, how powerful your laser is, or the really nice price grid you pass out. Hopefully what they say are things like: your service, reliability, speed, attention to detail, or personality. If so, focus on those things and commit yourself to owning that space, making it easy for the rest of your customers to choose you for the same reasons.

—Aaron Montgomery, MontCo Consulting, 2 Regular Guys