Exec Ed Teaches How to Ensure the Price is Right, April 27-30

In the trenches of a price war, is it better to play chicken or race to the bottom? Or is it possible to raise prices and still outgun competitors?

Murray Innes, MBA 95, manager and owner of Mobile Augers and Research, thought he knew the answer. But after hands-on battle in the UC Berkeley Center for Executive Education’s pricing boot camp, he saw how his gut instinct might lead to disaster.

Pricing for Profitability in the Information Age, a four-day program led by award-winning Haas School marketing Professor Teck-Hua Ho, gives product managers, finance executives, marketing professionals, and entrepreneurs fluency in the latest pricing techniques — from the fundamentals to state-of-the-art methods. Limited space is available for the program, offered from April 27 to April 30; register at executive.berkeley.edu/programs/pricing.

"My industry is plagued by new entrants who try to skim a little business by cutting corners," says Innes, whose firm specializes in geotechnical and environmental site investigation and drilling. "Teck Ho’s program vividly illustrated the risks of racing them to the bottom, and showed me the benefit of differentiating our services instead. It’s difficult to imagine a program yielding a higher return-on-investment."

The program is taught laboratory-style, allowing students to work on their own real-life pricing problems and practice what they’ve learned in simulation games. "This is not a theory class. This is hands-on, experiential learning taught by hands-on people," says Ho, the William Halford Jr. Family Professor of Marketing, who leads a team of five marketing experts teaching the course. "I truly believe the interactive approach is the best way for students to integrate the information."

“Of all the strategic issues that come with running a business, setting, monitoring and adjusting prices can make the most difference to the bottom line,” says Whitney Hischier, assistant dean at the Center for Executive Education. Yet many businesses are unaware of the concrete pricing tools that can bring millions of dollars more in revenue.

"Especially in economically turbulent times, companies lower their prices when sales are down," Hischier says. "When the economy turns around, they can’t recover. Teck Ho and his all-star team teach participants how to remain profitable even in the toughest recession."

In addition to Ho, the instructors will be:

  •  Associate Professor Terry Taylor, recipient of the UC Berkeley Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009, who teaches creative pricing.
  • Randolph E. Bucklin, the Peter W. Mullin Professor at UCLA’s Anderson School, whose research focuses on the quantitative analysis of customer purchase behavior.
  • John Morgan, a member of the Haas faculty's Economics Analysis and Policy Group, whose research and teaching focuses on new pricing techniques that have evolved in the information age.
  • Mark Ziegenhagen, senior director of pricing at Autodesk, who has worked in high-tech for more than 20 years.

The program covers how to gauge consumer price sensitivity; how to analyze price tests; strategies such as bundling, versioning, subscriptions, and auctions; and the powerful tool of revenue management. Participants also will learn how to take advantage of the wealth of consumer data that the information age has made available.

For more information on the program, visit executive.berkeley.edu/programs/pricing.

To watch a video of Professor Teck-Hua Ho talking about the program, visit executive.berkeley.edu/news/media/vid_teck_pricing.html.

Prof. Teck-Hua Ho