Chapter 1

Introduction to Pricing and Profitability Management

The moment you make a mistake in pricing, you're eating into your reputation or your profits.

—Katie Paine, founder and CEO of KDPaine & Partners

There is an old joke about a businessman who loses margin every time he sells his products. A customer asks, “How do you make money?” The businessman answers, “I make it up in volume.”

A company that routinely sells products below its margins would hardly seem likely to remain in business for long. Nonetheless, many firms follow this approach today. In some cases, this approach is an unintentional move, which results in the company losing money on every transaction. In other cases, it reflects a carefully considered decision to maximize profitability across a portfolio of product offerings. However, in other instances, this approach is adopted by business leaders who simply misunderstand which of their products and customers are actually generating margin and the factors that truly determine their company's profitability.

The field of pricing management has been growing steadily in recent years. If you mention the subject in a group, many people will assume the ensuing discussion will be limited to price setting. But the discipline involves much more than just prices themselves. Pricing management is a strategic competency that involves people, processes, technology, and information. Its reach extends into virtually every corner of an organization (i.e., marketing, sales, ...

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