The story, and the people, behind PricingProphets
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PricingProphets, the website, started life as the worlds first crowdsourcing platform for Pricing. Launched in May 2011, it enabled companies struggling with pricing to ask a panel of global pricing experts and thought-leaders what price to charge for a product or service and why.
In its first adaptation, PricingProphets helped price a wide variety of products and services, including printed travel guides, dog minding services, online courses in Selling and Storytelling, glass whiteboards, car rental kiosks, executive toys, accounting and taxation services, landscape design services, executive mental health checks, DIY licensing services, organic green tea, golf buggies, architectural scale models and tribute stationery.
Not only did PricingProphets (Version 1) win accolades from customers and the media alike, it also finished Top 20 in the Anthill Smart100 awards in 2012.
PricingProphets, the name came from a near-miss with a road case on a baggage carousel at Melbourne Airport. The orignal name “CrowdedPrice” just didn’t feel right for some reason, and the search for an alternative name was proving long and elusive. Jet-lagged and half asleep from an overnight flight from Shanghai, Jon Manning narrowly escaped a crushed foot from a very petite lady dragging a road case off the baggage carousel. On the case were painted the words “Community Prophets”.
As they say in the classics, the rest is history. Within the hour, Jon’s baggage was retrieved, advice sought from a Muslim friend, domain names purchased and social media handles claimed.
PricingProphets, the logo You’ve probably heard sayings like “its the invisible hand” or “its the market” that determines prices. Like price elasticity and the abominable snowman, these are just myths. And as our logo suggests, behind every price tag is a real person, a visible hand, like the experts on PricingProphets, constantly searching for that perfect price for a product or service.
The idea behind PricingProphets is very simple … harness the power of the internet
to provide answers to your toughest pricing challenges
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JON MANNING, likes to think of his Pricing bio as a journey through various pricing methodologies, rather than the more traditional journey through employers and job titles. The first methodology he was exposed to was a bit of a mystery though. He started his pricing career at Mobil Oil, pricing petrol (or gas, as the Americans like to call it), bitumen, AvGas and 20W50. But after three years, he realised he was never going to understand where these prices were coming from (the industry and its customers still can’t figure that out, to this day), so he moved on to his next pricing methodology.
In Inflight Services, Jon came to grips with cost-plus pricing, as he priced catering for airlines picking up slices of olives and tiny bags of peanuts from Ansett Australia’s seven flight kitchens around Australia. Recognising that cost-plus pricing was a relic from the past with little or no future, Jon then moved on from pricing the fayre passengers eat, to pricing the fares passengers pay (and his third pricing methodology, revenue / yield management).
Following a relocation to London, and a couple of years away from Pricing, Jon started suffering “PWS” (Pricing Withdrawal Syndrome). Fortunately, a dynamic pricing opportunity (Methodology #4) was just around the corner in the role of inaugural Revenue Manager for Sir Stelio Haj-Iannou’s chain of dynamically priced internet cafes, easySomethingOrOther. In 22 months, the business grew to 22 stores, pricing 8,831 workstations in 8 currencies, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (or 1.5mill available hours / 89mill available minutes, if you like big numbers) serving 1.5mill customers per week.
Returning to Melbourne in 2002, Jon started consulting more by accident than design. Utilising Value-Based Pricing (Methodology #5), he overhauled the pricing of an online advertising portal (why should a submarine painter in Alice Springs pay the same price for their advertising as a real estate agent in Sydney?), resulting in a $A17.3mill revenue uplift in 12 months.
Value-Based Pricing has now become Jon’s standard operating procedure, regardless of the industry (and he has worked in many). Even this website, PricingProphets, applies value-based pricing, charging for the value provided (answers to your questions), rather than each and every six minutes of our time.
One thing in common: a passion for Pricing
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The experts on PricingProphets may all come from diverse backgrounds and the four corners of the globe. Some, in their spare time, like to sail yachts from Perth to Denpasar. Others make electric guitars in their basement. But the one think they do share is a love and a passion for Pricing.
Joining the exclusive panel of experts on PricingProphets is not an “open shop”. Everyone goes through a “vetting” process (sounds worse than it really is), even if they are known or referred to us. Some experts may even be peer-reviewed.
The PricingProphets business model depends on the quality of these experts, and thats why we take their pricing knowledge and expertise so seriously.