Creative Media Pricing Strategies

Zuora’s recent breakfast panel in New York City focused on “Real-time Offers and Promotions for Rapid Audience Acquisition” in the media space. Led by Craig Barberich, Zuora’s Global Head of Media Solutions, the panel consisted of Denise Warren, Todd Unger and Margaret de Luna who discussed how to think about your media business in real-time.

Denise Warren is on the Board of Electronic Arts, one of the leading game companies in the world and is the founder of Netlyst, a company that focuses on strategic advising on revenue strategies in the digital media space. Prior to that, Denise was responsible for much of The New York Times digital strategy.

Todd Unger is the Chief Digital Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at the Daily Racing Form. He has played a key role in bringing the 120-year old print publication into the digital age, including introducing a new betting platform, expanding premium offerings and integrating content and data across all platforms.

Margaret de Luna is the President of TheStreet. She’s transforming their strategy into being more nimble and flexible in the world of subscriptions. For many years at Dow Jones, Margaret focused on their strategy for MarketWatch and other properties.

In this series of posts, we present highlights from the panel discussion:

On Creative Media Pricing Strategies

Todd Unger: The majority of our content went behind the paywall at the end of 2013 and today, we have a number of different subscription products. We sell basic versions, upgraded database versions, picks, etc. We also have a wagering platform. Horse racing is the only form of legal online sports wagering in the country. Then we layered on a premium content subscription. So, we have this ecosystem where we’re able to layer on new products and services on top of each other to serve the player better.

Each product has a separate pricing strategy, but we bundle these products in different ways. If you are a subscriber to a data plan, depending on the duration of your data plan, you’re going to get free access to the site. If you’re a betting platform member and you hit a very low threshold, you’re going to get access to the site. The premium content subscription became a way for us to drive not only a new revenue stream, but also resulted in increases in subscribers to the other businesses and increased retention. It’s a very dynamic situation. We are constantly testing our offers and landing pages.

Denise Warren: Not enough attention is being paid to understand and optimize pricing. I’m a big believer in investing a lot of time upfront on this issue. We have to assume that consumers are really smart and have a lot of tools at their disposal and that they can really challenge and look for the best offers.

Customer segmentation is lesson number one. The only way to price a product is to understand and segment your customers. Figure out what they value. Figure out what they are willing to pay. And how many of them are willing to pay? I’d use that as a starting point and then, you can experiment.

It’s an area that people often don’t invest enough time trying to understand the buckets, the value, what elements of your product customers would be willing to pay for, and how many of them there are. It’s going to be different for every customer, depending on what is of value. Really managing that journey for each customer segment is critically important to address it.
Second is to do research and analysis to really understand the different pieces of your pie that they value. This goes hand in hand with a really robust product development approach. Being able to tier your product offerings and have some things in a package and other things out, depending upon the different markets and customers and what they value is important.

I think so many people are so intent on trying to convert that they’re at the bottom of the marketing funnel. They really need to be at the top of the funnel explaining the value and helping people understand what it is they’re actually getting, why it’s different and why you should be willing to pay for it. It’s a huge opportunity for folks to just re-frame and re-think their message.

Data, data, data – it’s all about data. That’s just the game.

Continue reading the panel’s thoughts on Media Acquisition Strategies for Real-Time Events

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