Read a shocker today. While searching for some past info about the conference, I ran into an old post about a past IndicThreads conference. The post said that because the conference was priced at just Rs 1500, they were dropping their plans to attend, as they thought that the content would get diluted as the entry barrier was low.

My first reaction was “Ridiculous!”. Here we are trying hard to get great content, top speakers and initiate healthy discussions and how can someone just negate everything and say that content is diluted as the price is low. I earlier wrote on “Conference Pricing” and why we choose to keep it low priced. However this post has got me thinking. Does cost really matter so much? Would people prefer the conference to be expensive? Would the content be appreciated better if it burnt a hole in the pocket?

The conference is a business venture and we do not claim to be doing any charity by keeping our fees low. We charge what we think is a great & a fair price. However we hadn’t really factored in that potential delegates will not register because they would think that Rs. X was not a good enough entry barrier.

Laws of economics will apply to all businesses, so people wont value a pricey watch or an obscenely expensive car if everyone else around them could afford it. But would everyone think an iPhone was cool even if it was cheap or free? Or think that Google search was super even though it was free? How does one position the conference such that participation is valued while it is also perceived as  cool & educational; irrespective of the price?

I definitely do not buy the argument that low entry barrier leads to content dilution as I believe that only the really keen would spend their hard-earned money & precious time to be at the conference. Also if we price it high, we would pretty much cut out the small companies and go against the core philosophy of the conference. So although I continue to believe that our pricing structure is correct, I do wonder how we should go about convincing those who think the conference is not super only because it is not expensive.

Over the years, have learned that pricing a product right is one the toughest decisions that an enterprise has to make. Such experiences only highlight how complex and unpredictable the reactions to a product’s price can be.

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