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Master of Agribusiness

Strategy for De-Commoditizing a Commodity: Focusing on Replacement Filters

Nate Smith, Lenexa, Kan., defended his thesis, “Strategy for De-Commoditizing a Commodity: Focusing on Replacement Filters,” on June 9, 2011.  He is a Manager of Parts and Service Sales with John Deere Company in Lenexa, Kan. He will graduate from Kansas State University in August with a Master’s in Agribusiness (MAB). 

How do firms capture additional market share of a product that is considered a commodity? Smith analyzed options for de-commoditizing replacement filters for his Master of Agribusiness thesis.

“If a company can differentiate their product from the competition, they may be able to capture additional market share,” Smith said. “Companies must know the market that they compete in before they can determine how to differentiate their product.”

Smith reviewed the replacement filter market and then conducted surveys of John Deere dealers and customers regarding their purchasing practices. After analyzing the results, Smith was able to make marketing recommendations to his company.

Kevin Gwinner, Professor of Marketing and Smith’s thesis advisor, said, "The applied nature of the MAB thesis continues to be a win-win for both students and their companies.  Nate's thesis is a great example of this as he was able to take insights gained from his MAB course work and apply them in a data driven project that provided significant insight into his firm's agricultural filter business and has the potential to substantially improve their operations."