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Pricing - the link with business objectives

Author: Jim Riley  Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012

The pricing objectives of businesses are generally related to satisfying one of five common strategic objectives:

Objective 1: To Maximise Profits

Although the ‘maximisation of profits’ can have negative connotations for ‘the public’, in economic theory, one function of ‘profit’ is to attract new entrants to the market and the additional suppliers keep prices at a reasonable level. By seeking to differentiate their product from those of other suppliers, new entrants also expand the choice to consumers, and may vary prices as niche markets develop

Objective 2: To Meet a Specific Target Return on Investment (or on net sales)

Assuming a standard volume operation (i.e. production and sales) target pricing is concerned with determining the necessary mark-up (on cost) per unit sold, to achieve the overall target profit goal. Target return pricing is effective as an overall performance measure of the entire product line, but for individual items within the line, certain strategic pricing considerations may require the raising or lowering of the standard price.

Objective 3: To Achieve a Target Sales Level

Many businesses measure their success in terms of overall revenues. This is often a proxy for market share. Pricing strategies with this objective in mind usually focus on setting price that maximises the volumes sold.

Objective 4: To Maintain or Enhance Market Share

As an organisational goal, the achievement of a desired share of the market is generally linked to increased profitability. An offensive market share strategy involves attaining increased market share, by lowering prices in the short term. This can lead to increased sales, which in the longer term can lead to lower costs (through benefits of scale and experience) and ultimately to higher prices due to increased volume/market share.

Objective 5: To Meet or Prevent Competition

Prices are set at a level that reflects the average industry price, with small adjustments made for unique features of the company’s specific product(s). Firms that adopt this objective must work ‘backwards’ from price and tailor costs to enable the desired margin to be delivered.

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