Commoditization at work – Zero sum game??

I was changing planes at Chicago O’Hare airport and saw at least three life size ads of online web conference company Webex and thought that it’s a clever way of “target” marketing.  After a few minutes, I was at the United terminal and saw an ad that almost was a counter to Webex ad with a title “You can’t participate in life via conference call” Interesting.

Both airlines and online conference companies are in a way commodity businesses and it felt like they were competing for attention from the same set of folks. Webex urging folks not to fly and United urging folks that a handshake is better than an online conference. 

Webex won’t lose it’s customers to United or United won’t lose it’s customers to Webex. They both have different competitors. In fact, one wild thought would be – an airline partnering with an online conference company to allow users to redeem frequent flyer miles to pay for online conference calls.

I love the Webex technology but running a startup, I figured out that a combination of Glance and Free Conference will work just great and at a fraction of the cost. May be this combo does not come with all the bells and whistles but it’s almost there. Gets the job done!

Commoditization is everywhere and the only way to get off is to innovate like crazy and keep changing the parameters of comparison. It’s not easy but it’s better than becoming irrelevant.