Posts Tagged ‘transparency’

What’s in Your Wallet?

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

We re-launched the website a little while back with some new whizbang graphics, product details, case studies, etc.  The web team did an amazing job (thank you!), but what I am particularly pleased with is the return of our pricing page.

Having been in the software business for the last 15 years, I’ve always been amazed at how few of the “enterprise” software companies provide pricing on their websites.  Instead, you were forced to call a commissioned salesperson who would reveal only the price for a specific configuration you specify (as if their pricing structure were a matter of national security) which included a “one-time only discount” that expires at the end of this month!  Feels more like a trip to a used-car lot than a serious business solicitation.  This pricing model at one of my former employers was casually referred to as the Capital One model because the price you were quoted was based on the popular Capital One tagline “What’s in YOUR wallet?”

Why are some companies nervous about sharing their pricing information publicly?  Because knowledge is power when it comes to price negotiation.  The more someone knows about the prices paid by other similar (and dissimilar) customers, the chance of them overpaying drops dramatically. Some companies show highly inflated list prices, but with the full knowlege that due to deep discounting none of their customers will never pay full price (think used-car dealerships).  These practices are left over from the days when information hiding was helpful in extracting every possible penny from a customer.  However, the advent of communities, the social graph, and technologies such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook have enabled prospects to quickly and easily connect with existing customers of any vendor.

So why do companies still use these ethically challenged tactics?  The same reason that pawn shops and payday lenders still exist.  To exploit an imbalance of power or knowledge with the customer for financial gain.  So much time, effort, and money is wasted in corporate America today as a result of this game.  Demand more from your vendors.  Demand fair, transparent, public pricing, starting with your marketing automation provider.  Too much to ask?  We think not.

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