"The best book ever written about pricing is The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing by Tom Nagle and Reed Holden-these guys know their stuff and it works!" - Guy Kawasaki, CEO, Garage Technology Ventures "For more than a decade, this book has been the most influential and highly regarded reference among pricing professionals." - Eric G. Mitchell, President, The Professional Pricing Society "Most executives name pricing as their major challenge and major weakness. This book is an answer. It is full of new ideas arid insights." - Philip Kotler, S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing, Northwestern University "An investment in Tom and Reed's book will give you the highest return you've ever had. It's an investment you can't afford not to make." - Dan Nimer, President, DNA Group
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Practical in focus and lively in style, this text provides a comprehensive, managerially-focused guide to formulating pricing strategy.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
"Pricing is the moment of truth—all of marketing comes
When Raymond Corey wrote these words at the Harvard Business School in the early 1960s, marketing was just coming into its own as a strategic discipline that could drive the direction of a business. Unfortunately, few marketing practitioners actually took Corey's words to heart. Enjoying their new prestige and power to influence corporate strategy, they were reluctant to let financial considerations constrain their "strategic" thinking.
Instead, they focused on achieving market share and customer satisfaction, believing that high profitability would somehow naturally follow. Marketing academics also slighted pricing, offering little research and few courses on the subject. Whenever the subject of pricing problems did arise, professors assured their students that all could be solved indirectly by redoubling efforts to differentiate products and services.
These attitudes toward pricing changed radically when marketers encountered the challenges of the 1980s. Companies with leading brand names saw brand loyalty and their power over distribution erode from years of price "promotion" to defend market share. Even large companies often found profits unattainable, as smaller firms targeted and lured away the most profitable customers (a practice labeled "cream skimming" by the victims). Successful corporate raiders then showed that they could increase cash flow and profits, often by raising prices, even as they lost some share. In the 1990s, a brief counterrevolution took place, as e-competitors bought market share from more efficient bricks and mortar competitors. By the end of 2000, most e-competitors went bankrupt, while the remainder looked for ways to charge prices consistent with financial viability.
Not only marketing practitioners are now under the gun to show that their efforts can ultimately pay off at the bottom line. So also are marketing theorists. Companies have become almost maniacal in their focus on increasing shareholder value. Strategies defined in terms of market share or customer satisfaction alone get short shrift. For marketers to achieve respect and influence, the key is to show how their ideas can generate profitability. As a result, creative thinkers are integrating marketing thought with financial concepts.
Successfully making that integration requires understanding not only what creates value for customers, but also how and when that value can be transformed into earnings per share. This does not mean that companies should regress to the days when they naively tried to increase profits by marking up costs with higher margins. It means understanding that strategic pricing is about much more than setting prices. It is about targeting markets that can be served profitably, communicating information that justifies price levels, and managing pricing processes and systems to keep prices aligned with value received.
These are not skills that have traditionally resided in finance or marketing departments. Strategic pricing is becoming a profession in its own right that bridges marketing, finance, sales, and top management. The Professional Pricing Society reported in a survey of its members that pricing decisions were principally made by a pricing manager in 25 percent of the companies and by a cross-functional team in another 20 percent. Others cited were the marketing department (15 percent) and product manager (15 percent). Decentralized pricing by the sales organization was practiced in only 11 percent of these companies, and none had pricing principally made by finance. Although this is a biased sample, it is indicative that price in the most sophisticated companies is being proactively managed.
As in the first edition, the primary objective of this edition is to develop a practical and readable manager's guide to pricing, not a textbook. Our references are not necessarily to the seminal articles on the subject, but to those that are most managerially relevant and accessible. Professors will be happy to learn that an expanded Instructor's Manual for this edition includes new classroom exercises. We expect that the combination of clear writing and current, relevant examples will continue to make this the most popular reference on pricing for managers as well as the most popular text in the classroom.
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