Firms have a problem and it's a marketing problem. Marketing 101 taught us that Price was one of the 4 "Ps" of Marketing. Funny that most firms don't "let" marketing stick their noses in the pricing strategy and process.
Firms seem to think marketing and pricing aren't related. But they are.
Yesterday, Seth Godin picked on accountants in his post "We're the Same. We're the Same. We're the Same." He refers to their websites and says:
Sometimes, we try so hard to fit in we give consumers no choice but to seek out the cheapest. After all, if everything is the same, why not buy what's cheap and close?
Did you "hear" that? Seth explains that we CAUSE buyers to compare us on price, alone. And he is exactly right.
When marketers are tasked with building websites, or anything that has to do with positioning, partners are prone to killing innovative ideas that would lead to true differentiation. Instead, they want the assurance their peers would say or do "that"—they want PRECEDENT. They want to know what their competitors are doing. They want "best practices."
Guess what??? If someone, ANYone, is doing it, it's not different.
On May 17, Rick Telberg posted 12 Hot Growth Tips for CPA Firms that mentions some of what I'll be talking about June 9 at the AICPA Practitioners Symposium. Here's a snip from Rick's post:
“Without other distinguishing factors that buyers can readily see and know, clients resort to looking mostly at price for making their decisions,” she says. “This, in turn, drives down the firm’s revenues, which impacts the attitudes of those performing the work.”
Furthermore, “Without high enthusiasm for the engagement, customer service is not at its highest and this, in turn, reduces the quality of the customer’s experience, which makes them less likely to rehire the firm, and certainly less apt to refer the firm to others.”
“It’s a vicious circle,” she says. “Ironically, while the opportunity for firms to articulate and convey their distinctions via the Internet is more ripe than ever and costs almost nothing, especially relative to advertising, it is unfortunate that most firms are reluctant to embrace the advantages that the social media and an improved Web presence afford them.”
Here's a diagram I developed to illustrate the cycle.
What do you think? Does this convince firms to let marketing into the pricing conversation?
Does it compel firms to look at better, more visible ways to show their distinguishing characteristics (i.e. their PEOPLE)?
Will firms be more to exploring what social media can help them achieve if they really understand how much it can help them in these other ways?