Confessions of the Pricing Man

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by Hermann Simon

The world's foremost expert on pricing strategy shows how this mysterious process works and how to maximize value through pricing to company and customer.

In all walks of life, we constantly make decisions about whether something is worth our money or our time, or try to convince others to part with their money or their time. Price is the place where value and money meet. From the global release of the latest electronic gadget to the bewildering gyrations of oil futures to markdowns at the bargain store, price is the most powerful and pervasive economic force in our day-to-day lives and one of the least understood.

The recipe for successful pricing often sounds like an exotic cocktail, with equal parts psychology, economics, strategy, tools and incentives stirred up together, usually with just enough math to sour the taste. That leads managers to water down the drink with hunches and rules of thumb, or leave out the parts with which they don t feel comfortable. While this makes for a sweeter drink, it often lacks the punch to have an impact on the customer or on the business.

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What has changed in the meantime? Managers have become keenly aware that value alone does you little good unless you can communicate it successfully. That means that customers understand and appreciate what they are buying. Remember, the only fundamental driver of willingness to pay is the perceived value in the eyes of the customer.

— Hermann Simon, Confessions of the Pricing Man