February 22, 2018

No One Will Ever Thank You for Keeping Prices Low

I was in a Board meeting last week (not Return Path’s), when one of my fellow directors came out with this gem:  “No one will ever thank us for keeping our prices low.” When I first heard this, as is the case with most great quotes, I was drawn to its wit and simplicity. But then I started thinking – is it true?  My mind first went to retail.  Having a reputation as being a low-cost provider can be in and of itself effective marketing – if that reputation is strong enough and your selection is wide enough, at least in retail-oriented industries, customers may consistently buy from you even if you’re not ALWAYS the low-cost provider.  Wal-Mart and Amazon prove this one out every day.  That’s the economic equivalent of customers thanking you for keeping your prices low.  Or pick an even more extreme example – gas stations, where there’s even more limited brand loyalty and even more product commoditization.  There’s really no reason to buy gas from a station who charges more than a couple pennies more per gallon than its neighbor.  No, thank you. But in a B2B environment with smaller numbers of customers and smaller numbers […]


June 16, 2011

Keeping It All In Sync?

Keeping It All In Sync? I just read a great quote in a non-business book, Richard Dawkins’ River out of Eden, Dawkins himself quoting Darwinian psychologist Nicholas Humphrey’s revolting of a likely apocryphal story about Henry Ford.  The full “double” quote is: It is said that Ford, the patron saint of manufacturing efficiency, once commissioned a survey of the car scrapyards in America to find out if there were parts of the Model T Fird which never failed. His inspectors came back with reports of almost every kind of breakdown:  axles, brakes, pistons — all were liable to go wrong. […]