Production Costs Influence Intelligent Pricing Strategy

Last time, Marka and the FEI tribe discussed how understanding price inelasticity can help businesses arrive at an effective pricing strategy. This week, Marka discusses the role costs should play in determining product pricing. Remember, fire = print.

“If demand sets a ceiling on the price FEI can charge for matches and other products, costs set the floor,” Marka explained to the tribe. “If we don’t charge a price that at least covers the costs we incur by producing, packaging, distributing and selling the product, we will simply be unprofitable.”

“Not an option,” Numo said emphatically. “I don’t agree with a predatory pricing strategy.”

“Predatory pricing?” Zoot asked.

“Predatory pricing is when marketers price products below their costs to clear out competition,” Marka said.

“Businesses that engage in this kind of pricing may be breaking the law,” Org added.

“Let’s take a look at two types of production costs and see how each affects pricing decisions,” Marka said, steering the conversation back on track by writing on the whiteboard:

Fixed Costs

“Also known as overhead costs, fixed costs do not vary based on how much we produce or sell,” Marka explained.

“Examples of fixed costs?” Zoot asked.

“Facilities rent, liability insurance, management costs and similar expense items,” Numo offered.

“Because fixed costs can’t be avoided, they must be factored into any price we set,” Marka continued, and gong back to the whiteboard she wrote:

Variable Costs

“Variable costs are directly correlated with levels of production,” Marka pointed out. “These include the cost of materials and workforce labor used to make our products or deliver our services.

“Fixed and variable costs together comprise total costs,” Numo said.

“Do per-unit variable costs change based on production quantities?” Zoot asked.

“Not in the short run,” Numo replied. “Over time, per-unit costs will decline as production becomes more efficient. Fixed costs, however, will definitely be spread across more units, lowering total manufacturing cost.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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