Hatchett PR

creativity, culture, community

THE ART OF THE STEAL: Are You Giving Everything Away?

With all the deals of the day, slashed prices and hottest buys of the season, have you succumbed to discount fever and are practically giving your goods or services away?  I’m all about getting a great price, but as a marketer, I also feel companies (including my clients) deserve to make a fair profit. 

When I worked for a well-known theater company we often discussed ticket pricing and strategies to attract and keep customers.  We agreed that we should reward people who bought tickets to more than one show, so we offered lower pricing for season tickets.  And we had a wonderful group sales office who sold discounted tickets to groups. We also decided that if people bought early, like those who buy advance seats for airline flights or book advance reservations at hotels, they would receive an excellent price.  Then we would sell all other tickets at regular price.

But everything changed the last couple of years, leaving most of us in a quandary about how and when to discount.  Some companies are practically giving away their goods, while others appear to be jacking up prices so they can afford to offer deals.    

A new industry of online discount marketers like Groupon, Scoutmob, Goldstar and Travelzoo have sprung up just to help businesses send out deals.  What most people don’t realize is that these discount marketers are taking a large slice of the profits.  So how are businesses able to stay profitable?  This is a good question. Part of the answer is that some companies who are giving everything away are going under.  Maybe we need to re-think the “slash and cut” mentality, re-think positioning and the power of our brand, and re-think our relationship with customers.

In the sea of discounting, what is your strategy not only for surviving, but for thriving?  It’s good to offer occasional specials, but why train your customers to wait for a deal? In order to stay in business and keep staff employed, companies must make a profit. Here are a couple of ideas to to help companies encourage their customers to pay a fair price.

Emphasize Quality

  • Make sure your product is the best it can be. 
  • Use all of your resources to show the quality of your product.   This means updating your web site regularly and having professional photos. Perhaps you post a demonstration video on your web site or YouTube so potential customers can see the value of your product. 
  • Create partnerships with other companies or organizations to co-promote each other’s quality products or services. (like a hotel and restaurant which would have a similar clientele)
  • Apple I-Pad does not get “discounted.”  People are happy to pay the asking price because it’s the best quality and the price is fair.

Offer Something Unique

  • What can you tell your potential audience about your product that sets it apart from your competition?   

Find Your Audience

  • Not everyone on the planet wants what you have to sell. Seriously.  So stop acting like every breathing soul is a potential customer. It’s your job – working in harmony with management and your fabulous sales, marketing, advertising, PR team and other staff – to identify who would like to buy what you sell, and then let them know that you have just what they want!

Know Your Product

  • Make sure your entire team is up to date on what you are selling and that they are properly trained.  I am amazed at how many warm leads a business loses because various staff members do not have the latest information.

Sell A Premium Experience

  • A few ideas are: Sell a limited edition or deluxe version of your product. Offer a special experience for “insiders” that only an owner or user can get, like being invited to attend an event early to see “behind the scenes.”  Send special updates (i.e. in the theater we would give the scoop on new shows or let subscribers know when actors/celebs were joining the cast).  Allow premium customers a chance to preview the newest version of your product, or help you name a new product.

Offer Sterling Customer Service  

  • How often have you been somewhere and you are dying to buy something and there’s no one to help?  Or maybe you’ve purchased something and you have a question and you can’t get in touch with anyone?  Make sure you have well-trained staff and that you are giving customers excellent support.

What are your ideas on discounting?  Have special offers brought your company more profits, or have they created more work with minimal results? I’d love to hear from you.



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This entry was posted on August 11, 2011 by in Brand Management, Business, Discount Pricing, Marketing and tagged , , , , , , .
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