When Price Increases are Bad

Test results you’ll be interested in

Anyone familiar with traditional marketing knows how important the price of a product, event or service is. It is often times a deal-breaking element in sales.

As “test, test, test” is a Mequoda motto, we have just wrapped up a test involving the price of our upcoming Mequoda Summit in Napa Valley.

We went into this test knowing that the data behind it would be significant, and a focal point for any further live events. Any publishers reading this post that sell live events will surely be able to use this information while planning your next one.

The Test

For the Seventh Mequoda Summit in Napa Valley we had decided to increase the amount of content for attendees. There are so many topics that need covering in the world of content and internet marketing, and with all the guest speakers we are having join the sessions, we decided the increase in content was a worthy test.

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So we increased the amount of content for the Mequoda Summit by 25%.

With this increase in content came a slight increase in price. This price increase was mainly due to the extra time being spent in Napa Valley at the beautiful Silverado Resort, where the Summit will be taking place.

The price to attend the Summit was increased by 14%.

Finally, we calculated our attendance for the Summit thus far. After increasing content by 25% and price by 14% we discovered that our attendance rate dropped by 38%.

Conclusions of the test

A 38% decrease in attendance has led us to abort the test. So now the price of the Summit is returning to last year’s price, which is $200 cheaper. In essence, the 25% more content is free for all attendees.

The numbers don’t lie in this instance. Less people have been signing up for the Summit. The reasons behind this are most likely the price increase, confusion behind the offer, or a combination of the two. Regardless of the reasons, we are proactively restructuring the price in accordance to our test results.

And honestly, we are happy to have done this test. Sure we’d like to have more signups for the Summit, but now we have more test results to pass on to you. We now have a reduced price for the Summit, and with a 25% increase of content, it’s even more of a value. There is roughly six weeks until the Summit, so our metaphorically ‘pulling of the plug’ on the test still isn’t too late.

I have personally concluded that a raise in price is always hard for consumers to deal with, even if more content is offered. Especially now, while the economy is still not strong, it will have an impact on overall attendance numbers.

Hopefully our test results resonate with you, and you keep these numbers in mind while pricing and planing your next live event and in your overall internet marketing strategy.

Register for the Mequoda Summit now and take advantage of our great price offer.

    Robert O.

    Does this mean you will be crediting back the difference for people who registered at the higher price?

    Hampton S.

    Are you refunding the difference for those who purchased at the previous higher rate or not? Or only those who ask for such a refund? What’s the best way to handle this? Do you worry about alienating the early adopters or are price changes something that people just expect?


    Oh no you didn’t, Rob! That’s pretty low. But, I guess you might inspire Mequoda’s next post: “When Price DECREASES are Bad.” The lesson: Don’t decrease your price publicly — do it exclusively via dedicated emails instead! You’ll avoid upsetting customers who’ve already paid full price AND you’ll make your remaining prospects feel special. Of course, when you’re basically in the business of sharing your marketing approach with your customers — who are oftentimes marketers themselves — that may be easier said than done!


    We do work in a fishbowl…

    So we proactively (before the public announcement) reached out one-on-one to everyone impacted by the higher pricing and offered them either the lower price, or the opportunity to attend the Tuesday sessions for the price they paid. Of those who had only signed up for the main program on Wednesday and Thursday, virtually all took the bonus day for free… no surprise as that is the better deal. 🙂

    This did keep our Member Services team a little extra busy last week.



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