Saturday, September 24, 2005
Giving Customers What They (Don't) Want
Recent changes over at the New York Times, specifically their moving editorials into a "for pay" category while adding additional services for paying readers, reminds me of a place I used to work. They had two subscription products, one of which ("Product A") was popular and lucrative, the second of which (("Product B") was a big money loser. They got the brilliant idea of eliminating both products and replacing them with a single new product - giving buyers less of "Product A" at a lower price, and throwing in "Product B" for free. But the customers weren't thrilled, pointing out that had they wanted "Product B" they would have signed up for it in the first place. After about four years, the combined product was changed to offer all of both the original products; but at a lower price than the organization had been able to charge for Product A alone before making the changes.
Let's just say, I'm not convinced that the best way to convince customers to pay for a product they want is to add features that the customers haven't previously used or requested. If the editorials themselves aren't expected entice people to sign up for Times Select, perhaps the pricing model (or subscription model) should be reconsidered.
As they say, time will tell.