Pricing Fundamentalism

Pricing Fundamentalism is the belief that the first price an organization puts on its tickets is holy among all things; that lowering it “devalues” the work and raising it is “greedy.”

And that if only your Pumpkin Patch is sincere enough, your first guess at the proper price for every section of every show of your event will be the one that works best to get people in the door, drive revenue and make your patrons happy.

This may not have been impossible up to a certain point in the recent past. Prices changed infrequently because the very act of changing prices was difficult: Once something was printed physically, for example, it would be pretty hard to change without a lot of cost and hassle.

But the relationship that buyers have with prices in general has changed a lot since the advent of the World Wide Web and the rest of the network technologies that have come with it. People have come to accept and be able to cope with more complexity and uncertainty in pricing. It’s the pricing equivalent of your grandma asking you to help her figure out some computer or smartphone problem for her: She knows your age group can handle it.

The opposite of this, perhaps equally unpalatable, is the belief that however complex, however confusing and however frequently changed our pricing is, it won’t create any inconvenience or friction for our buyers. It won’t cost us anything, and everyone will just shut up and buy.

Also incorrect.

Like just about everything, neither extreme will be good for you in the long run, but most organizations I encounter have a stronger bias toward not changing than toward over-changing.

Just remember: There’s nothing magical about the first price you put on something. It was the best (educated) guess you had at the moment you set it, but it’s not a murder-suicide pact, either. It doesn’t require a constitutional amendment to change, and it doesn’t typically say something important about the organization and its values that you slightly misjudged how popular the mezzanine would be.

Trust yourself to be thoughtful about your supporters and ticket buyers. Then get over yourself. Then change prices when it makes sense.

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