This blog post was originally written by Mia Iverson.

Over at AdAge, contributor Al Ries raises a serious thought on a particular “disease” that appears to be “sweeping the marketing community.” He’s dubbing it, “Discountitis.”

Discountitis, the technical name of course, is the disease where a brand or company focuses its advertising and marketing goals solely on the ideas of sales and discounts. Everywhere you go you see sales – 25 percent off this. Have an extra $5 bonus here. Happy Hour sale today only. And even, first month free. Sound familiar?

Ries uses the airline industry as a valuable example. He writes, “Take airlines. Yesterday, airline companies competed on the basis of who could build the better brand. Today, airline companies compete on the basis of who can offer the bigger discounts. No wonder Southwest Airlines is a big winner, and most airline customers can’t explain the difference between American, Delta and United.”

But how are these sales and discounts distinguishing your facility/company/brand from that of your self storage competitors? How will potential and existing customers react to your marketing tactics when pushed to choose between your brand and another? While some consumers will stay loyal to a brand they are familiar with, others will pick the best deal no matter what.

As the article goes on, Ries poses two potential cures (or solutions) for discountitis – both for you and your competitors.

Launch a new brand in a new category

This can either work for you or against you. When Apple introduced the iPad, it became a market leader. Even though Pepsi introduces new products seemingly every year, they consistently fall behind their biggest competitor Coca-Cola.

Lower the boom on price

Apathy can be your biggest ally. It was once said that a person in control of a relationship is the one that cares the least. The same goes with brand identity and products. Play off the price point; it doesn’t matter. Instead, your brand matters and what you represent. As Reis has pointed out with the iPad, “When rumors of Apple’s imminent launch of a tablet computer circulated on the internet, the pundits predicted the product would be priced around a thousand dollars. Apple surprised them with a list price of $495. The company lowered the boom at a level that competitors had difficulty getting under. Today, you find the table-computer market remarkably free of discountitus.”

At the end of the day, you’ll have to decide which marketing and advertising tactics you want to use to lure in potential customers. Will you step up the marketing game and be a leader in the self storage industry or will resort to a lifelong love/hate relationship to discount marketing just like everyone else has done? The ball is in your court. Now’s your time to shape the future.

Read the full AdAge article here.

photo credit: jfcherry via photopin cc