Over the past five years, I have conducted over half-dozen academic surveys in the field of value and pricing management. For every one of them, I have realized that the pricing profession is not used to taking academic surveys. Pricing practitioners might not understand the need to conduct these surveys and how different they are from surveys by pricing consultants. I am writing this small essay to shed some light about the differences:
1) Academic Surveys Advance the Profession: The surveys I conduct are designed to create knowledge that can be published in books and academic publications. Why is that important? Because what gets published gets read by scholars and eventually taught in the classroom. Creating new knowledge helps pricing get more exposure among other published topics in the marketing field. Finally, adding theoretical knowledge eventually solidifies pricing theories which eventually reach the C-suite through practitioners publications such as HBR, MIT Sloan, CMR, etc.
2) Academic Surveys are Based on Perceptions: Most of the questions being asked use agreement or usage scales to be used to respond to statements. I never ask precise or confidential pricing information which might make respondents nervous. So for example, when I ask the following question “To what extend do you agree or disagree with the following statements?”, I am trying to evaluate how pricing perceptions on specific topics influence others and eventually pricing performance.
3) Academic Surveys are non-commercial: The knowledge that is being created is then disseminated back to the profession. For every survey I conducted, an Executive Summary is sent to the participants and papers are published with Professional Pricing Society. I then present findings are various conferences around the world. Consultants will require you to sign up to their database to get a short summary of their survey results. You then get bombarded with commercial emails.
4) Academic Surveys are Confidential: you have the choice to give your name or email information to receive an award and an executive summary. You can also decide to remain anonymous. All data are aggregated and used to derive trends, relationships, and statistical models. Names and emails of respondents are discarded once the reporting is done.
5) Academic Surveys are Robust: the surveys I conduct are grounded in solid research methods and are analyzed using advanced statistics. Publishing in scholarly journals requires robust methodological underpinning. That is the only way to build knowledge and advance theory. Surveys from consulting firms are a black box. No one is really sure how methods are used and how sampling is designed. The results are informative but anecdotal. The results are descriptive and not explanatory or prescriptive in nature.
We need more formal research in value and pricing management. We also need greater response rates. It is essential for the development of our profession. I urge pricing practitioners to participate more in future academic surveys while making the distinction between academic surveys and surveys from consultants. Both are useful. But they are not created equal! Thanks for the attention and thanks for the support so far in the research journey.