The $101 experiment!

The world around us has changed a lot in last 365 days. The way we connect, the way we meet, the way we talk, the way we travel and ALSO the way we learn.

As the ways of learning changed, it opened a Pandora’s box. Now, a trainer sitting in Bengaluru, Mumbai or Ahmedabad, could train people in Hawaii and Christchurch sitting right from his/her drawing room. But this also brought out an avalanche.

Because now, suddenly there was a flood of online classes for every topic perceivable from every trainer in the world, the only way some trainers thought they would be able to attract learners to the classes was only be lowering their price and there started the proverbial race to bottom e.g. From the peak pricing of $500 for a 2 day CSPO class, some trainers and organizations started to offer prices for as low as $150 .

As a CST and having teaching Product Management for many years now, I was wondering how do I sustain the market? Should I even be bothered about offering a class given what was happening from a price point?

I had pointed the futility of this rat race to bottom to a lot of my fellow guides online and offline but no-one seemed to be taking notice or being bothered anymore.

SO, I decided to run a marketing experiment !

I put up the lowest one of the tickets for my CSM classes for as less as $101!!! Yes $101.. This was a no frills ticket.

The others two tickets were posted at a rate of $250 and $350 and included most of amenities

The purpose of this experiment was to find out whether the lowest price is the only consideration which a learner would use to decide which trainer and workshop he/she wants to be part of. (Unfortunately, a lot of training marketing companies and trainers think so).

So after running this experiment for a quarter, I am happy to report that my original belief that rock bottom pricing for any product/ service is not the solution, stands vindicated.

Here is some of the results from my experiments which confirmed my belief:

  • During the January-March 2021 quarter, I posted 7 workshops from my ScrumAlliance offerings.
  • Less than 1% of total queries received, enquired for the lowest priced ticket.
  • Most students (close to 95%) enquired for my medium price ticket which sells for approx. $250. This is much higher than the published prices I see from a lot of trainers/ marketing companies today for a CSM workshop in Asia.
  • There was no significant uptick reported in the traffic to the registration portal because of low pricing. The number of visits more or less remained the same over this period.

I completed this experiment end of March and changed the pricing.

If you have a passion and dream to be a trainer (CST, PST, SPC et al), here is a simple advice, that I would like to provide based on the above experiment :

  • DO NOT build your sales and marketing strategy around pricing. Be sensitive to the market but do not fight the bloody war to rock bottom.
  • Increase your personal brand value. That’s what pays in the long term.
  • Last but not the least, collaborate and win with your fellow trainers. Celebrate each others’ success and recommend their good work to your students. Your students would for sure come back to you if they liked the person you recommended.

So pandemic or no pandemic, some things never change in this world: the sun, the sky, the politics AND good sales & marketing strategies. The choice is yours!!

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