The 2012 Summer Olympics are officially over, but vivid images of amazing athletes competing for medals are still stuck in my brain in addition to my DVR. This got me thinking about the role competition plays in our lives. It starts early. Moms and dads compete to see that their kids get into the best preschool. Once we’re in school, we compete for grades. That’s often followed by competition to get into band, orchestra, cheer squad or sports. Later, we compete for jobs, promotions and raises. Neighbors compete for who drives the best car, has the greenest lawn or the smartest kids.
Competition is literally everywhere around us. Here we are in the middle of an expensive, mudslinging, nationwide competition between Republicans and Democrats to see who’ll be president. Restaurants compete for diners with happy hours and promotions. Ever since Wall-Mart and Amazon appeared, there’s been a competition to determine which store or web site has the best price.
My relatives even compete for who can save the most money on a big screen TV – which, to my way of thinking, is taking competition a bit too far. Don’t get me wrong. Everybody loves a good deal, myself included. But there can be a downside to trying to get the absolute best price – especially when manufacturers or dealers cut prices to the bone and then don’t deliver the service and support that’s required.
For some products and services, price should not be the only factor in the competition. Getting the cheapest attorney or doctor, for instance, may not result in the best solution. The same is true for buying a large format printer. For a humorous look at what can happen, check out our video “Shop on the Left, Shop on the Right.” Is it really worth the trouble to find the lowest possible price and then discover that there’s no one to talk to if you have questions, or a problem comes up? Dell lost a good deal of computer market share a few years back for that very reason.
Roland could probably sell more printers than we already do if we sold them on Amazon, or priced them so low that our dealers couldn’t make money, but that would be shortsighted at best. In addition to investing in our products to make them durable and reliable, we also invest in our dealers by training them to service and sell our printers, cutters, engravers, and milling machines. We hope you never have a problem come up with your Roland, but if you do, isn’t it nice to know there’s somebody there to assist you?
And last, but certainly not least, we also invest in Roland users, providing hands-on workshops, free weekly webinars and a host of tips and tricks articles and videos to help them better compete in today’s marketplace. Because the simple truth is that the more successful you are, the more we both win.