A past issue of the Sunday New York Times included this article, headlined:
IS THIS CREAM WORTH $500.00?
Although I’m sure it was not the reporter’s purpose she prepared a marvelous marketing tutorial.
What’s in a name?
The company behind Deep Repair Facial Serum, Z. Bigatti, “a name that might conjure images of Milanese scientists…” – the owner, feet firmly planted in St. Paul, Minnesota, says his business partner just made the name up, because it sounded exotic and sexy.
Later in the article, a plastic surgeon, Dr. Brown, named his skin care company Re’Vive, which he admits is a contrived, bogus French name. He and his glop are from Louisville, Kentucky.
I have quite frequently spent large sums of time and mental energy to come up with good names for companies, product lines and products. Too many marketers give too little attention to this. I believe I even address this in my second book, ‘The Ultimate Marketing Plan.’
I also think geography is important. Platinum Members T.J. and Eileen Rohleder have made much of their company’s location in heartland-of-America small town Goessel, Kansas, and often include photographs of the town, the town sign, etc. in their direct-mail pieces. In the opportunity business, marketing to middle-aged and up Americans, many of whom living between the coasts, being in Goessel makes them more believable. Being in New York City would not.
However, were they selling $90 an ounce skin creams to “sophisticated” women, Goessel, Kansas dare not be on label or advertisement. A Hollywood beauty secret is sexy, a Kansas beauty secret is not.
Again, a lot of entrepreneurs ignore the impact of their business address, even though it can quite easily be anywhere it needs to be, merely by renting a small office or using a mail forwarding service. On the other hand, few national marketers make as good use of their location as the Rohleders do, even though many could. This is called “under-utilization of assets”, and it’s wasteful.
Next, consider the ingredients of this very, very expensive glop. The $500-per-1.7-ounces stuff has 62 ingredients on the side of its label. Let’s see, 1.7 ounces divided by 62 equals, well, literally only a pinch of this, a pinch of that. Not enough of anything to do anything.
Not that the 62 are evenly proportioned. They’re not. And by law, the ingredient of highest proportion must be listed first.
In this product, that’s ‘water.’ And you thought Evian was expensive.
The Deep Repair stuff includes alpha lipoic acid, green tea, and grapeseed extract, none of which can be absorbed through the skin; they must be ingested. Tea bags under the eyes will temporarily reduce wrinkles, but you can’t get $200.00 for tea bags, and it’s hard to see to dial your cell phone and drive with them stuck on there.
Point being, the long, long list of ingredients is a form of ‘magic’ in and of itself. Most marketers do not make enough ado about the component parts of their products or services. Joe Polish teaches the carpet cleaners to break out and itemize all the steps involved in their far superior preparation and cleaning process, superior because there are more steps.
Finally, the prices. The New York Times reporter seems surprised that such products can command such prices in a “drooping economy.” There will always be buyers standing in line to pay extraordinarily high prices for the exotic, the foreign, the imported, the unique, the sophisticated, the trendy – for anything that may make them younger, thinner, more virile, more appealing.
In fact, the ultra-premium priced businesses are much, much more stable than the low price businesses. To her question, is this cream worth $500.00? – the answer is obviously no, if intrinsically speaking. The jar costs the manufacturer about 1000% more than the glop inside, the whole thing has a hard cost of under $5.00.
If ever there was demonstration of liberation from “cost plus” pricing, from any relationship between costs and selling prices, thar she blows. Learn from it.
Is this legalized robbery?
Think of it that way only if you get a little tingly thrill out of being Jesse James. But these folks are not robbers in intent or outcome any more than the restaurateur who charges $40.00 for a meal you could prepare at home for $8.00, or the car-maker who sticks Jaguar gingerbread on the Taurus and charges $40,000.00 for a $12,000.00 car, or the, well the list goes on to include just about everybody merchandising anything, from sin to salvation and everything in between.
If we all bought and sold solely based on actual, intrinsic, unembellished value, our lives would be very boring, and unemployment would hover right around 60% or 70%. These marketers need feel no guilt about their $500.00 an ounce prices or their successful romancing of their goop to obtain that lofty price.