Can We Stop Talking About Price and Start Talking About Value?

Written by Travis Mlakar, President, The Millcraft Paper Company

The conversation in our industry must change from talking about price to talking about value.  What does that mean?  Let me explain…

Prices reflect the cost of a product.  What you are willing (or what you must) pay in order to get something. The price is irrelevant.  It’s the value that you perceive you are getting in exchange for the prices you are being asked to pay that matters.

Lets take paper.  The price you pay today, for offset, is the same price you paid (in inflation adjusted dollars) 15 years ago.

Source: RISI
The issue is that the perceived value end users are getting from printed material may not be as much as it was 15 years ago.  Why?  Well, that’s simple a lot has happened in 15 years and we have not done a good job of redefining the “value” that print and paper brings to the table.

Consider the fact that over the last 15 years the advertising world and the world of communication has changed dramatically with the advent of the internet.  Things today are interactive and immediate.  They weren't 15 years ago.  So, what do we need to do in order to “re-position” the value that print has in today’s new world that is dominated by interactivity and instantaneous gratification?  How about play up to print’s strengths.

Print allows you to slow the conversation down.  Take your customer out of a world full of distractions and multitasking and allow them to focus on what you are saying.

Have you ever sat with a 8 – 15 year old and had them watch TV?  If your house is like my house they have an iPad on their laps.  They are watching something on that iPad as well as watching the TV (drives me nuts)!  So, my question to you is… how much are they really paying attention?  How much are they really focused on the advertising message that is being delivered during commercials or in the margins of their iPad? Now, watch them when they actually unplug.  Watch them read Harry Potter or a magazine. Amazing they only have one thing they are focused on. One thing that has their attention. Where does your message make a greater impact? The key isn't the cost of the paper or the printed advertisement. They key is the value that your message will receive in an unplugged, focused world versus the multitasking, blinking, distracted world of technology.

So, the next time someone wants to talk about price… ask them about what they value.  Ask them about what is critical to them.  Its not what they are paying that’s important… its what they are getting.


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