I love it when...I love it when my work and home lives collide around a lesson. In my free time, I like to run. When I get the chance, I read a number of running blogs and magazines. I recently ran across an article that discusses how specialty running shoe stores have had to evolve to survive. At the time, I couldn’t help but think how well it synced up with the commoditization post I wrote a few months ago. Here is a completely different setting, but the message seems to ring true − commoditization forces service providers overall to tune their solutions to meet the needs of the target audience.

Tuning an offer to meet a target audience is never simple. Information is never perfect and time is always a factor. Broadly, though you can establish a framework. The running shoe article establishes a spectrum of price versus service. I don’t think that’s unfair way to look at differences. Price always seems to be on one end of the spectrum and service/quality is a fair stand-in concept for the other. I make that same decision in almost everything I do in every aspect of my life every day. It influences the car I drive, the gas I buy, the television I watch, etc.

It’s an incredibly personal thing. I remember an article in Outside Magazine where Laird Hamilton remarked something about how amazed he was how many people sat down in front of a $3000 TV and ate a $3 cheeseburger.  Vastly different priorities rule our world. For me, the more central to who I am that a thing is, the more critical it is to me, the more time, research and ultimately, money, I spend on it. So when I think of my target audience for colocation services, it’s the people who are serious about their business; the people for whom availability is critical; the people who intend to grow; the people who understand that when I started talking about my target audience actually being people, they appreciated it.

What was the big differentiator for you in your last IT purchase?

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