Pricing & Promotion

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When Customers Help Set Prices

To many managers, the idea of involving customers in pricing decisions seems counterproductive. For most companies, pricing is a sensitive, private affair. But it may be time to reexamine those ideas. Letting customers have input on prices provides opportunities for customization and can promote greater customer engagement. Opening up customer participation also offers a way for companies to create a new sense of excitement.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Roy Luck.
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Ethnography in Action at Wells Fargo

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

How do companies gain value from ethnography — the in-person study of how people actually use a product or service? Wells Fargo Bank commissioned an ethnographic project and found out for itself. The bank was able to determine that customers approach retirement with three styles: they were either Reactors, Poolers or Maximizers. The bank learned, for instance, that the language of customers who were Maximizers would not resonate with Poolers — and so it developed new kinds of messaging for each.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Sjors Provoost

How to Win a Price War

There are usually no winners in price wars. But under the right circumstances, it’s possible to win a price war by leveraging a specific set of strategic capabilities. These include the ability to read how things are changing, the skills to analyze data to identify trends and opportunities and the wherewithal to implement organizational changes both internally and across the value chain. Albert Heijn, a Dutch grocer, started and won a price war through its strategic capabilities and skills.

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Should You Punish or Reward Current Customers?

Should you offer your best prices to new customers or existing ones? Recent research suggests that the answer depends on customers’ shopping flexibility and the degree to which customers’ value varies. When consumer preferences are highly fluid and the highest-value customers are much more valuable than others, then companies should reward their best existing customers. But if either of those characteristics is not in place, companies should offer their best prices to new customers.

Andreas Hinterhuber
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Setting Prices Based on Customer Value

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

Andreas Hinterhuber and Stephan Liozu write that pricing scholars lean toward recommending customer value-based pricing. They provide a mini case study of how to use this method to make sure that you don’t leave money on the table.

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Is It Time to Rethink Your Pricing Strategy?

Companies differ in their approaches to price setting, but most fall into one of three buckets: cost-based, competition-based or customer value-based. Customer value-based pricing uses data on the perceived customer value of the product as the main factor to determine prices.

However, implementing customer value-based pricing is not easy. Developing a customer value-based pricing program is a multiyear project demanding executive attention and requiring substantial changes in corporate processes.

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When Should You Nickel-and-Dime Your Customers?

When should a company “nickel-and-dime” customers by charging separately for various extras, and when is it better to combine all of the charges into one total price? It depends on a variety of factors, such as whether customers comparison shop, whether they are more sensitive to the prices of some components (delivery) than to others, whether the price of one component is small or large relative to the others, and whether the company controls the costs and quality of a particular component.

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Why the Highest Price Isn’t the Best Price

There are several questions an organization should ask to improve its pricing strategy, including: What is the marketing strategy in this segment? What is the differential value that is transparent to target customers? What is the price of the next best alternative offering? What is the customer’s expectation of a “fair” price?

By asking these questions and others, an organization can choose a price point that provides the largest long-term value to the supplier.

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Discounting Do’s and Don’ts

Marketers cannot avoid discounted sales, and consumers have come to expect them. The average shopping mall, grocery store or online shop is littered with discounted products: Tide detergent is 10% off; books are sold with free shipping; Nike sneakers are buy-one, get-one-free.

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Does Promotional Pricing Grow Future Business?

Do big discount strategies really prompt new customers to buy more items, more often? Or does promotional pricing actually undermine attempts to increase future spending among existing customers? A recent large-scale study of a U.S. catalog retailer investigated how discount promotion strategies ultimately affect the bottom-line business.

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Smart Pricing

The past decade has seen a virtual explosion of information about customers and their preferences. Many companies have the ability to gauge customers’ willingness to pay for their products and can determine with some accuracy the effect of price changes on sales volumes.

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In Praise of Honest Pricing

Companies should spend less time trying to fool customers with hidden charges and devote more effort to competing on differences that really matter, say the authors. Imaginative managers may want to consider how a move toward honest pricing in their industry — such as unit pricing at supermarkets and the U.S. government”s Energy Star program — could help sell more and better products to a loyal customer base.

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Pricing as a Strategic Capability

The ability to set the right price at the right time, any time — the very definition of a pricing capability — is becoming increasingly important. Based on their work with dozens of companies, the authors explain how investments in human capital, systems capital and social capital come together to form a pricing capability that competitors will have a hard time imitating.

Showing 1-20 of 24