“The most interesting thing about price is the wide range, from very low/cheap to very, very high/expensive there is for just about every product and service.
For every price, there seem to be buyers. One of the most important truths about that variance in price for the same product is that it is greatly affected by things other than the product.
One of these factors – available to just about every marketer – is The Principle of Association.
You are probably well aware that TV and movies are, today, much about what is called ‘product placement.’ If Shrek drinks a particular brand of soft drink or James Bond drives a particular automobile in the movies, interest in that product soars and sales increase usually follows.
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It’s not foolproof, but it’s real, and hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on it. When a celebrity is seen wearing certain apparel, even a shade of lipstick, or using a product, again, sales often benefit.
Sales of both shoes and sunglasses that Sarah Palin was seen sporting during the 2008 Presidential campaign got a huge boost. This associative effect on sales is well known. What you may not have been as aware of is that association can affect the price as well.
There are many ways to develop these associations. Obviously, you can make a point of pursuing influential customers or clients. Create a ‘top 50’ list of local celebrities, owners of well-known and respected businesses, influential civic leaders, and the like, and keep them on your mailing list, invite them to every even your business hosts or sponsors, send them articles that may interest them; make yourself and your business visible to them, persistently.
You may be able to volunteer your services as a resident expert to some organization, charity, or event, that provides promotable bragging rights or good networking opportunities.
By all means, be alert for opportunities. One year in one of the cities that the big seminar tour I mentioned went every year, a young limousine service owner was in the audience. Afterward, she wrote to the seminar company owner and many of the speakers, offering to provide free limousine service the next time the tour came to town.
My client, who owned the company, took her up on her offer. The next year, she chauffeured many of the celebrities appearing on stage with us – they’re a blur, but I believe that time, in that city, that included Mary Tyler Moore, George Foreman, Larry King, the famous defense attorney Gerry Spence, and the famous business speakers Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, and me.
She got her photo taken with each of us, standing by her limo, with its logo on the side door visible. She used this to get some very good publicity immediately: a feature story with the photos in the local newspaper, and an interview on a top radio program. It all migrated to her website and brochure.
Instantly hers became ‘the limousine service of the stars’ in that city. On my advice, she raised her prices to a point above all competition.
Another friend of mine, Jordan McAuley, is an expert in connecting entrepreneurs and marketers with celebrities. In his outstanding book ‘Celebrity Leverage‘, he explains exactly how even small companies can, for very modest sums, get their products in the backstage gift bags given out at Hollywood award shows, given out in celebrity gift suites at various events, and otherwise put into the hands of celebrities.
This tactic has helped unknown, small jewelry and fashion designers, cookies and cupcake bakeries, children’s product inventors, and many others leapfrog to prominence. Keep in mind this all impacts on price as well as demand.
Jordan tells, for example, of jewelry designer Amy Peters succeeding at getting her jewelry worn to a movie premiere by an actress in the movie ‘2 Fast 2 Furious,’ having several ‘Survivor’ contestants seen wearing her jewelry in photographs in a number of magazines and having her jewelry worn on the TV show, ‘The OC’ – all thanks to sending out gift baskets direct to celebrities, exactly as described in the book.
When she migrates that to her website, catalog, and blog, and provides it to retailers who might carry her line, it not only spurs interest and demand but tends to make price a non-issue.
In almost every case, fame not only fosters interest and spurs demand, but also diffuses or negates price or fee resistance. Fame is a price strategy.
You can get this benefit by making yourself famous or by association with other famous people, companies, organizations, or brand-names.”