April 12, 2013
Yesterday I meet with a woman from my alma mater whose job is to network with alumni and fundraise. She gave me her best shot at describing what she thinks I do professionally as a “Pricing Consultant.” Her depiction was a reasonable account of Activity Based Costing, the basis of Cost-Plus pricing. It was probably a fair assessment of what some Pricers do in certain industries, and surely a more accurate representation of my job than what my mother could have come up with, but I felt slighted none-the-less.
In an attempt to employ the Socratic method, I asked her if she thought her description was the way the university determined their pricing. (It’s a more reasonable question when you consider I worked briefly for a for-profit online Higher Ed institution.) She readily agreed that University pricing was not the Cost-Plus type she had described and that there were a lot of other pricing models operating across industries she hadn’t immediately considered.
With the Spring Professional Pricing Society Conference coming up I’m sure there will be a lot of discussion around the evolution of the profession and the importance of moving up the competency curve. We’ll have to continue strive to fight the impression that we walk around with pricing guns and arbitrarily set discount thresholds. Across industries the only consistency seems to be Microsoft Excel, however much we’d prefer not to admit it.
I invite you to comment on what it is that you “actually do” and why it is an important and distinct function from finance, accounting, and product marketing.