Value for money – 2

After the initial confusion and discussion around pricing, which led to the first ‘Value for money’ post, there was one ‘Aha’ moment.

Keep it simple for the user.

As a marketer, this is generally not the first or the most important aspect of pricing. You don’t need a better example than your monthly mobile bill to see how complexity in pricing can be very useful for the service provider. Especially when the product or service is quite evolved and has a great variety of users. In fact in such situations, it becomes very difficult to avoid complexity without leaving money on the table. And that is a sin no marketer wants on her resume. So we go about breaking down the offering into the smallest possible atoms that users value and then try to group them into ‘packages’ targeted at specific user groups. Ever heard of terms like ‘Economy Pack’, ‘Power Pack’, ‘Students Pack’ etc.?

Thus in this whole rush at ‘capturing value’, it is easy to overlook the importance of simplicity. Sometimes it opens the door for innovation in pricing where a competitor eats away some part of the market simply because his offering is well, simple !

In the case of WaterMum, the product, its value and the market in itself is neither complicated nor complex. We found this when we broke down the offering into ‘valuable atoms’ that users will appreciate and realised there isn’t much disparity in what different groups of users would find valuable. And for a product trying to disrupt an existing market by providing a much better alternative, having too many variations (or ‘Packages’) to start with didn’t seem like a good idea. We definitely do not want a customer to not buy our product just because there were too many options to surf through !

Another important aspect came from being a mobile app: If you are serious about getting to at least a million downloads, you got to have a Free version. It allows people to try out your app without the pain of parting with ‘wallet share’, however small it may be (most apps are either $0.99 or $1.99). But there’s a catch. Advertising. Most free apps are inundated with adverts. It is a common route for developers of “Free” apps to make money. Now, we HATE ads. They just ruin the experience, especially when it is a ‘useful’ app that is solving an important problem for the user. So, unless we are down to the last dime in our pockets, we don’t want to take that route.

So, how do we make money? It is true that we are not in the game just to make our millions and retire rich. We really want to solve a problem that matters and solve it well enough so that a large number of people can benefit from it. We also want it to be self-sustainable so it gets a life of its own and continues to grow with independence. That’d be a legacy worth leaving behind. And to do that, we’ll have a paid app. It’ll probably cost not more than a water bottle, and would probably also allow users to stop paying us if we are not doing a good job. That will ensure we keep getting better and leave a legacy we are proud of !!

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