Pricing Propheteer: Time for a pricing spring clean?

Pricing Propheteer: Time for a pricing spring clean?

Last weekend was the first of the spring, and right on queue, Melbourne turned on the sunshine. All over the city, lawnmovers were heard and barbecues had their winter cobwebs blow away, in anticipation of more sunny days just around the corner.

These activities obviously beg the question: what would a pricing spring-clean look like? Here are five suggestions.

#1. Revisit your market segmentation

Many companies miss the point of market segmentation. They give their customer segments great names and descriptions, but if market segmentation is not actionable (ie, you advertise differently to them, or you price differently to them), it’s not worth the paper it is written on.

Take a moment to rerun all your customers through your market segmentation model and recalibrate your segments. This is an exercise the Royal Bank of Canada does every month: actioning the results with segment-specific offers, marketing collateral, and the like.

#2. Optimise discount schedules

Customers these days, in both B2B and B2C markets, love a bargain (and accompanying bragging rights) just as much as they love the hunt for that bargain.

There’s no point optimising list prices when no one is paying list price. Instead, take a look at (and finetune) your discounting schedules to maximise revenue.

#3. Get ready for summer

Many businesses have a seasonal element, often most pronounced over the summer. What are your forward bookings or reservations like? Do you have to prepare for the obligatory Boxing Day sale? What are you going to do if your competitor launches their Boxing Day sale earlier than you?

These are all contingencies that leading lompanies should start planning for now.

#4. Scan the competitive market

Winter is a time when a new competitor may have been preparing their assault on your market, or existing competitors have been working on a new product initiative.

Do a quick but thorough scan of the market for new or potential competitive threats, be they companies or products.

#5. Go on a ride-along

As I mentioned in my last column, pricing is not about economic theories: it’s about human (customer) behaviour, and you can’t see that behavior from your corporate headquarters.

Spring is a great time to be out and about. Go down to the call centre (if it’s still in Australia) and listen in on some calls by the telesales staff. Better still, jump in the car with a sales rep and go visit a customer. See how her business is fairing in this tough economic climate. Better still, spend a day in the life of a customer.

As with a spring clean at home, once you get into it, you find there is so much more you can – or have to – do. Your pricing spring clean won’t be any different.

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