We have a treat for you today. It’s a guest post from the highly respected global expert on customer centricity, Alan Hale of Chicago.
He writes about the importance of getting pricing right and generously shares twenty-four (!) factors to consider when pricing your product, service or solution.
Over the past several decades, I have managed over 250 projects, and am currently serving as the President of Consight Marketing Group. During that time, I have noticed that some of these clients experienced customer erosion or profit sub-optimization due to poor pricing practices. The following article discusses some of the issues seen, as well as other pricing challenges described in other marketing journals and textbooks.
- Pricing needs to cover your costs. Pricing needs to cover COGS (cost of goods sold), and contribute towards an allocation of fixed costs like rent, utilities as well as profit. Selling a high volume of products does not guarantee a profit. “We will make it up in volume” does not make sense.
- It is related to capacity, the economic supply and demand. If you have strained capacity like oil pipelines, prices are substantially raised. Conversely, if a contractor has no backlog, they might be willing to discount prices. For you econ majors, it is the intersection of the Marginal Revenue and Marginal Cost curves.
- Price according to the Market Lifecycle. Early adopters in the growth stage pay more than laggards in a mature or declining market. A major computer manufacturer used to price their line of PCs 10% higher than the competition due to their brand, perceived status and support. As PCs became more commoditized, the pricing premium came down. If you have a well-known brand name with a high amount of loyalty, you can charge a premium. If it is a mature/commodity item it is difficult to charge more. Would you pay 50 cents more for a pack of nails on the retail shelf?
- Price insensitivity is positively correlated with ROI. Cost is not as important in the business arena if there is a high ROI. Look at ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems that can cost millions upfront over the first few years with consultants and implementation. But it saves the organization tens of millions over many years.
- Pricing depends on the amount of the cost of the components versus the total cost of the product. Bottling companies fill bottles with cola or other liquids. These polypropylene bottles are significant to the costs, and contract prices are negotiated heavily every year or contract period.
- Pricing is dependent on selling to the MRO (maintenance repair and operations) channel or OEM (original equipment manufacturer). Because of volume OEM’s can demand much lower pricing. Car manufacturers can buy tires at a much lower price than the customer off the street for example.
- Pricing is related to value. I have been privy to many research and consulting proposals. Some companies do a cost-plus calculation, the labour will cost so many hours, at an average cost plus markup for profit is the price for the proposal.