Monday, August 11, 2008

More Value

We bought a tube of kids shampoo that says "Limited Time Value" on it. I think the idea is that we're getting extra shampoo for free. Am I? I'm not sure I can believe that. All the tubes of that brand were the same price and had the same amount of shampoo. Is the price going up soon? In that case, I'm not getting more now, I'm just being informed of getting less in the future. What the heck does "Limited Time Value" mean? It doesn't make any sense.

When Hidden City Games launched Clout (a collectible poker chip game) a few years back, we had two products.

  1. The Starter Game - 30 chips, rules, and tape measure for $15.
  2. The Booster Pack - 2 chips for $2.50
The idea was we'd give the players a price break on the starter so it'd be easier to get into the game. The response was exactly the opposite. Everyone figured that if we could afford to sell 30 chips for $15, there's no reason at all that 2 chips should cost over a buck each. We got asked over and over again, if the chips are .50 each, why not sell 5 for $2.50.

Truth was, we couldn't sell the boosters for cheaper. The booster price is where we planned to make our money, and the starters were selling at about cost. While we could explain that to people one at a time, and they'd usually get it, the organic story that took root was that Clout was a rip-off based on the booster prices. That (along with it's crappy name, problems with distribution, rulebook issues, and million other sad mistakes) eventually sunk the game. I'm not sure if making the starters cost more would have helped, but minimizing the disparity would have solved that one problem. The value problem.

Value isn't something you label a product with it. Value is the feeling a customer gets when the experience with the product meets expectations and turns out to be worth the money that was paid. More value means the feeling is stronger. No value means the money was wasted in the mind of the customer.

Put value into your product (or game, or service, or whatever you do) rather than on the label. THAT is what makes sense.


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