Seth Godin, a favorite author of mine, in his recent post “Proximity to pain” gives us some real world examples of how companies can charge higher (premium) prices when clients are in crisis (pain), but begins to compare apples with oranges, when he uses Yellow Pages and Google in the same light.
Execution over Pain
Yellow Page advertising and Google are successful because they have a business model that works given the current environment they are in. They do not charge more, as with Seth Godin’s other examples, when you are in crisis mode and using their services. Yes, they are positioned well for consumers to use, but no, the can’t capitalize on the great positioning in times of crisis.
Anonymous web sites level the playing field
Search engines or e-Yellow Pages have no way of knowing why you are using them. And even if they did, can you image the up-roar if they charged 300% for ads that had the words “emergency towing service” in it because they assumed you were in crisis or ‘felt your pain’?
Better Web Examples
I would drop Google and YP and focus on web services that charge a premium for their services because they are associated with someone in crisis and they are respected enough (branded) that someone off the street would not perceive another viable choice given the need for expediency. If you can create a web property that meets this requirement, you should have no problem charging a premium. Here are some of my thoughts of companies that might make it to this level:
- Crisis PR Firm
- Disaster Recovery Firm
- Immigration Legal Firm
- Specialized Health Group (Rare or Time Sensitive practices)
- Green PR Firm – just wait if the Cap and Trade stuff hits us.
If your web property can position itself close to the pain of your clients, you can charge a premium. I agree with Seth Godin on that, I just don’t see YP and Google in the same light as an emergency road side towing service.