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Price setting and price getting require discipline — not luck. Almost any business can improve its pricing performance, provided it approaches pricing in a structured way. While competition, costs and price sensitivity within a market affect the parameters within which companies set prices, superior pricing is almost always based on skill.
The companies we found that had achieved better pricing all had top managers who championed the development of skills in price setting price orientation and price getting price realization.
Without managerial engagement, companies typically use historical heuristics, such as cost information, to set prices and yield too much pricing authority to the sales force. For this purpose, we contacted the Professional Pricing Society to conduct research on its membership base.
To capture contrasting perspectives on pricing within companies, we narrowed our search down to businesses with at least three respondents at three different management levels — at least one respondent from top management either a CEO, managing director or member of the board of managementat least one respondent from middle management either a business unit manager or a head of a functional unitand at least one respondent from lower management a functional manager.
Of the 36 companies meeting these criteria, 15 agreed to participate in this research project. At least three interviews were conducted at each company. Respondents included 15 CEOs or top executives, 18 sales and marketing managers with full or partial responsibility for pricing and 11 finance and accounting managers with decision-making authority.
Seven companies were small as defined by the U. Small Business Administration size standards by industryhaving between 50 and employees and eight were medium-sized, with between and 2, employees. Six companies 18 interviews adopted cost-based pricing, five 14 interviews used competition-based pricing, and four 12 interviews relied on customer value-based pricing.
Participants in these companies were interviewed with open-ended interview questions that asked them to describe in detail pricing decisions and processes at their respective organizations.
Consistent with a grounded theory approach, data analysis commenced simultaneously with data collection. We listened to the audio recordings of each interview several times, and we read the transcripts of each interview repeatedly.
Three stages of rigorous coding then ensued: The process resulted in several hundred pages of transcripts and more than 2, codable moments. The Pricing Capability Grid View Exhibit To gauge the degree to which the companies we interviewed had developed their pricing function, we created a pricing capability grid.
We categorized pricing abilities into five major categories: We also observed companies that were able to learn their way to superior pricing and saw a number of them undergo a transformation that enabled them to evolve from traditional, cost-based pricing toward higher-margin pricing with more disciplined pricing execution.
This article will first discuss the two dimensions of the pricing capability grid: It then describes the characteristics of the five zones of the pricing capability grid and discusses the transformation process through which companies can improve their pricing capabilities.
Price Setting How can companies achieve better pricing? Findings Businesses vary significantly in their capabilities in setting and realizing prices.
Companies that attained better pricing had top managers who championed pricing skills. Implementing customer value-based pricing is a long journey of organizational change. Price setting, or more formally, price orientation, concerns the methods that companies use to determine final selling prices.
Companies differ wildly in their approach to this. Although companies that sell services to individual end-customers, for example, may be radically different from companies that sell jet engines to sophisticated purchasing centers, and although pricing approaches in India may differ considerably from pricing approaches in Italy, academic research and our own findings conclude that pricing approaches across industries, countries and companies usually fall into one of three buckets: Here, pricing decisions are influenced primarily by accounting data, with the objective of getting a certain return on investment or a certain markup on costs.
Typical examples of cost-based pricing approaches are cost-plus pricing, target return pricing, markup pricing or break-even pricing.
The main weakness of cost-based pricing is that aspects related to demand willingness to pay, price elasticity and competition competitive price levels are ignored. The main advantage of this approach is that the data you need to set prices are usually easy to find.
This approach uses data on competitive price levels or on anticipated or observed actions of actual or potential competitors as a primary source to determine appropriate price levels.
The main advantage of this approach is that the competitive situation is taken into account, and the main disadvantage is that aspects related to the demand function are again ignored.The Architectural Review is the only global architecture magazine for the 21st century.
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