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Smart Pricing: How Google, Priceline, and Leading Businesses Use Pricing Innovation for Profitability by Z. John Zhang, Jagmohan Raju

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4. Thinking Small

“Many a pickle makes a mickle.”Anonymous

People get annoyed when someone fusses over pennies. Even most of the phrases we have that concern pennies are filled with contempt: penny-pinching, penny-wise and pound-foolish, penny-ante, a penny for your thoughts—almost no one has a good word for the lowly cent. But it would be a mistake to overlook the penny. Some of the most innovative pricing strategies—and biggest business opportunities—of our time are, quite literally, penny-ante plays.

The experience of Muhammad Yunus is a good lesson in the value of pennies. The Bengali development economist won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for an insight he had in 1976. While a lecturer in economics at a university in Bangladesh, the American-educated ...

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