Price points, Mark-ups and Branding

What are you willing to pay for a cup of coffee? How about jeans? Sunscreen or bug repellent? Most would answer, “It depends.” When you start throwing in brands, locations, and extenuating circumstances, you start seeing a fluctuation in price points. Starbucks patrons will pay around $2 a cup for coffee. Jeans can range from $10 a pair to hundreds per pair. We went camping this weekend, and forgot to bring bug repellent. On top of a mountain, we were willing to pay a staggering $10 for a can of bug repellent. So, how important is your brand and location? I’d venture to say it’s the difference between profitable and bankruptcy. So how can you maximize the impact of your price points, mark-ups, and branding?

I discussed knowing your customers in an earlier post, and this is key when deciding your price point. If your value-proposition is largely based on price, you need to make sure that you are targeting consumers who base their decisions largely on price.

Price points and mark-ups go hand-in-hand, as price points can change depending on circumstances. You need to understand which circumstances warrant a higher mark-up, and which circumstances will be seen as outrageously over-priced. The circumstance may be a constant condition, and it may even be integral in your value-proposition. For example, Starbucks seeks to offer a coffee experience, while McDonald’s seeks to offer convenience.

The value of your brand is much more difficult to nail down, particularly because brands stand for values. Consider the cost of a pair of jeans. If you just need a “throw away” pair of jeans, you’re not willing to pay $100 for them, and the value of the brand is generally for convenience and the lowest price. If you’re looking for comfort, you’ll pay more, and go with a brand that stands for comfort, functionality, and flexibility. Some brands offer the most trendy and stylish jeans, with higher-than-average price tags and shorter-than-average life spans. Your brand, and what your brand stands for, plays a huge role in deciding how to price and mark-up your product or service.

So what are your customers paying for? What are they actually willing to pay for? Are you maximizing your opportunities?

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