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Chapter 10: Summary
Much of pricing theory is derived from economics, especially from supply and demand theory. This information is encapsulated in the famous demand and supply curves. The price is set by the point where the curves intersect. The degree to which demand is susceptible to price changes (price elasticity of demand) is another concept borrowed from economics but very useful to marketers.
Again in theory, but rarely in practice, these curves can be obtained from statistical analysis of historical data, survey research, and experimentation. Rather less theoretically, factors affecting the pricing policies of a specific organization include organization factors, product life cycle, product portfolio, product line pricing, segmentation and positioning, and branding. Factors derived from customers are demand, benefits, value, and distribution channels. Of these, perceived value is especially important because it defines what the customer should be prepared to pay.
Pricing new products offers a different set of challenges. In general, the two main opposing strategies are
• Skimming—High price, to skim off the short-term profit
• Penetration—Low price, to maximize long-term market share
Practical pricing policies for existing brands may include cost-plus pricing, target pricing, historical pricing, product line pricing, competitive pricing, market-based pricing, and selective pricing. The price can also be a major factor in determining a product’s or service’s image, ranging from quality-price to budget-price.
A wide range of discounts may be offered: trade, quantity, cash, allowances, seasonal, promotional, and individual.
Prices may also be set at levels that are judged to be “psychologically” appropriate ($9.95, for instance). Other ways of achieving a price effect may lie with other parts of the offer, such as product bundling, at one extreme, and charging separately for “options,” at the other. Alternatively, price may be negotiated, as it often is in capital goods markets.
Organizations may resort to price competition for several reasons, including volume sales, other stimuli, and minor brands. On the other hand, the dangers of initiating a price war include low-quality image, temporary advantage, and profit loss.