Willingness to Pay Should Be at the Core of Product Design

The core thesis of Monetizing Innovation is that product failure is rooted in the failure to put the customer’s willingness to pay at the core of product design. Designing around the price—which measures value and priority—helps guide product design based on the customer. Companies often build the product and then do marketing and pricing, but that amounts to a leap of faith at best and a painful disconnect that leads to failure at worst.

See also:

  • MAP Customer Value Framework

    MAP (metrics, activities, people) is a framework for thinking about SaaS value and pricing. At least one element should anchor a product’s pricing.

  • Is Your Pricing Too High?

    How do you know if your price is too high? A few things could be happening: the product isn’t actually as valuable as you are selling, you’re talking to the wrong customers, you’re not conveying the value, or any combination of the three.

  • Maxdiff Comparison Helps Prioritize Features

    A MaxDiff comparison helps reveal the ranking of pairs of features without directly asking users to stack rank them. People have an easier time saying the best or worst item in a set than to rank them so this technique is a way of getting a more accurate idea of the relative priority of a feature.

  • Pricing the Perceived Value Gap

    Cost basis tends to get the most attention when it comes to pricing. I remember from business classes in college would spend endless hours on cost plus pricing, margins, and so on. However, perceived value—the difference between the price and what people think it’s worth—gets overlooked. If the perceived value is high relative to the price, it a no-brainer to buy.

  • Make Contact With Reality

    One of the keys to building great products is to regularly make contact with reality. Ideas rarely survive first contact with users—what we think is good might be completely useless to an actual potential customer. Regular contact with reality insulates you from the illusion of explanatory depth.