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A pricing manager determines pricing schemes for a company’s products and services. This includes coordinating with production departments to learn how much they cost to make, as well as working with staff in marketing on appropriate campaigns and promotions. Requirements to work in this field can depend on an employer, but a bachelor’s degree in marketing, business, or a related subject can be very helpful. Some companies prefer job applicants with a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
As companies prepare to roll out new products and services, the pricing manager evaluates them to set policies on pricing. These include the base price as well as discounts that may be extended to specific retail partners and dealers. For example, wireless phone companies often provide discounts on their handsets when they are purchased with a phone plan. The pricing manager needs to decide on appropriate pricing for plans, as well as the level of discount to offer on individual phones to appeal to customers.
Pricing managers consider the costs of production, including not just the actual manufacturing but also marketing, shipping, handling, and related expenses. They want to make sure the pricing helps the company break even and ideally earn a profit, unless a product is specifically designated as a loss leader. Such products are sold at a loss in order to generate more profits by appealing to customers, encouraging people to buy accessories, or building loyalty to a specific brand.
This also requires thinking about the going rates for similar products in the industry, in order to remain competitive. Two car companies offering similar vehicles shouldn’t have wildly different pricing, because customers may preferentially buy the less expensive car, for instance. The pricing manager may also think about what kind of message the company wants to project with pricing, and how the marketing department will handle promotional campaigns. Small adjustments to pricing can be important for marketers; for example, setting the cost at 19.99 rather than 20.99 can feel very different for customers.
Job requirements can include attending conferences, product launches, and other events. A pricing manager needs to keep up with the competition, which can involve some field research; for example, someone who handles pricing at a supermarket might visit a rival store in the area to check prices. Marketing and public relations skills are also important, as is a familiarity with the industry as a whole and an employer’s specific lineup of products and services.
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