Friday, 25 May 2012

Cost, value and worth - becoming ever confused

Two words seem to be very misunderstood out in marketing land - "cost", "worth" and "value".

I have to smile when I see the advertisements, most noticeably from the phone providers or phone bucket shops, for the "New super-duper Acme phone" which includes "free acme headphones worth £199".

Er. No.

Sorry chaps.

The headphones are not in any way "worth" £199. That £199 would be the "cost" of them in rip-off Britain. Not their worth. They are actually "worth" about £25, if that!

Oh! And they're not "free". The price has been factored into your phone contract. Which would be a few quid less a month if it didn't include the "free" headphones. Those that are worth £25.

Supermarkets are increasingly coming under scrutiny for their special offers that have been discovered to be not all that special after all. The buy one for £2.50 or two for £4 type of thing, when they've not really been on sale for the required previous period of time at £2.50, and were in fact price-hiked from £1.85 prior to the offer anyway.

The management trot out the not-unbelievable excuse that they have thousands of items on sale at any one time and mistakes do happen.

Well, a well-organised and rather simple spreadsheet would take care of that! You list your products down the left of the spreadsheet. You then list the prices across the top of the spreadsheet with the statutory date range and relevant prices. You then place your spreadsheet within easy access on your content management system and hey presto! The perfect mechanism for all management to monitor your prices.

Simples, and hardly rocket science!

And talking of "simples", although not the one that accompanies that phrase, one insurance site is offering a staggering 1,000 Nectar points if you take out an insurance policy with them. So you pay your several thousand pounds to get your car insured against someone looking at it, and immediately run up and down the street in joy clutching your 1,000 Nectar points...........worth £5.

Almost as bad as taking out one of those coffin policies clearly marked "you may not get back the sums you have paid in premiums" where they give you an incredibly cheap and nasty flat-screen tv as an incentive. Some "experts" have worked out that it may be better just to plonk your £5 a week into an ISA. Or under your mattress.

And talking of coffin policies. If one of the main ones in the North West can afford to let one of the big four supermarkets sell their policies, wouldn't it be more equitable and honest to stop and offer their existing customers the commission they are paying the supermarket, as a reduction. Then customers might just "get back the sums they have paid in premiums".

It really is appalling that consumer watchdogs and programmes on television such as "Watchdog" and "Rip-Off Britain" have to constantly monitor companies on our behalf, if only to overcome their sheer greed cleverly disguised as administration errors.

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