Yesterday I attended the MassTLC annual Innovation unConference with hundreds of other professionals from the region’s high technology community including luminaries like Dan Bricklin and Bob Metcalfe. The principle behind unConferences is self-organization; rather than have a pre-defined agenda, participants develop the agenda dynamically at the start of the meeting. I’ve attended 3 of these so far and find them amazingly effective. Participants tend to be more engaged and approachable than in traditional gatherings.
This time around I took a chance and pitched a session called “Talking about your Pricing Strategy.” Admittedly my topic was different from most others, which were heavy on themes around cloud computing, venture funding, green technology, and the like. Since people vote with their feet at an unConference, I wasn’t sure if anyone would even show up, especially for a non-luminary guy like me. So I was pleasantly surprised when about a dozen or so folks came by – and then doubly pleased when a dozen more appeared for a late afternoon encore.
We had a good mix of individuals from start-up and established firms. Both product and service-based companies serving a variety of b2b and b2c markets. Young just out of school entrepreneurs and seasoned veterans. Yet there was one common denominator: everybody has a pricing problem. To be precise: a large array of thorny pricing problems … here is just a sample of the multitude we captured on the whiteboard:
- Having a new solution without a clear competitive point of reference
- How to best use the “freemium” model
- How to charge different pricing for different segments
- How to deal with aggressive purchasing agents
The flipside to “everybody has a pricing problem” is that many have developed innovative pricing insights and tactics. Several best practices were shared – too many to include in this blog post (but stay tuned). Let me share one that is a good general rule for us all to follow: Understand that your pricing strategy is part of your overall service offering, so design it around your customer’s needs and give them clear, transparent choices.
Director of Products, LeveragePoint Innovations