At the age of 12, I was sitting in the front lawn of my childhood home in Columbus, Ohio wondering … “Why do prices always seem to end in 99 cents? We know that $2.99 is almost $3.00. Do companies think we are stupid?” Fast forward 20 years to a Marketing Models class in the doctoral program at UC Berkeley. We were playing around with some scanner panel data (purchase data from grocery stores) and “Aha!” I suddenly had the chance to figure out if this 99 cents thing has any effect. (Yes it does.)
My curiosity about pricing turned into an obsession. I went from needing to understand everything about pricing to wanting to share what I’ve learned. Through speaking, writing and coaching, I do my best to transform pricing from a dry and complex topic to one that’s simple and fun.
As a speaker, I deliver 30 to 90 minute keynote speeches to audiences who laugh and learn. Everyone enjoys knowing how companies price, but the people who gain the most are those who are trying to capture the most value from a product or portfolio. I also teach one and two day pricing courses with practical exercises that help entrepreneurs and product managers use pricing to make more profit.
As an author, I wrote “Impact Pricing: Your Blueprint for Driving Profits” because I couldn’t find a book on pricing accessible to business people. The reviews on Amazon indicate I succeeded. Here’s one of my favorites: “Dr. Stiving knows his stuff and knows how to communicate it.” I also write a weekly blog called Pragmatic Pricing and often write articles and blogs for other companies. My free monthly newsletter lets readers see what was published the previous month.
As a coach, I help people and companies solve pricing issues. As the Director of Pricing at a large corporation (my current full time job) I work continuously with marketing, sales and operations to make sure we create as much value as possible, we price to capture that value and we communicate our value to our customers. In the past I’ve worked with many large and small companies to help them with their pricing. Although I do not currently take on consulting projects, I do offer 1 hour consultations which have always been enough to point companies in the right direction. Hearing about how I helped small business owners be more profitable is one of my biggest thrills.
Enough about me. Let’s talk about pricing.
Pricing is so much more than putting a price on a product. Pricing provides clarity on your value. Pricing guides you to develop more value. Pricing should drive your product portfolio. Pricing informs you about your customers and your markets. Pricing keeps you efficient and effective. Pricing is a magnifying glass that looks closely at so many different parts of your business. As you learn more about pricing your perspective on your business will change.
Once you’ve seen enough of the power and beauty of pricing, you too may one day say, “I love Pricing!”