Once upon a time there
was a level playing field for all retail stores. It seemed like a
wonderful idea when suppliers told everyone selling their goods
that the price would be the same everywhere. This, they reasoned,
allowed all retailers to have the same opportunity to sell their
The outlets would
compete by demonstrating their product knowledge and offering
quality service at point of sale. The suppliers knew this would
enable them to expand their distribution network in more market
But soon some of
the retailers began to move much more product than the rest while
many outlets sold nothing. The suppliers realized that the sales
were not evenly distributed. When they measured the results, they
all came up with the same statistics: 20% of the retailers were
selling 80% of the products, and 80% of the outlets were producing
20% of the sales.
The result was the level
playing field wasnt happening. The 80/20 rule was.
Of course, the 80%
said they were losing their customers to the 20% that were
discounting. But discounting was not the strategy of all of the top
sellers. Many never mentioned price in their marketing and still
continued to dominate their marketplace.
This brings me to
the cruise-pricing level playing field most travel agents think is
going to help them sell more cruises by not having to compete
against discounters. These agencies and cruise lines soon will
realize it is not pricing that will drive new cruise clients. It
will be the agencies delivering the most powerful and consistent
marketing messages. Those are the retailers that will fill ships
and continue to fuel growth in the cruise industry.
There are many
opinions being voiced in favor of and against the new advertising
policies as they relate to pricing. Few relate to marketing. Im
betting that those retailers to which the cruise lines are
referring as selling a disproportionate number of cruises will
continue to be the top sellers. Im also betting that the majority
of agencies again will disappoint the lines with their lack of
When the 20% of the
retailers selling 80% of the product step onto a new level playing
field, they will kick up their marketing expertise and maintain
their dominant position. If youd like to join them, design creative
marketing that will motivate people to cruise.
Solve your clients
everyday problems in your marketing. When people purchase something
and say, It was worth it, you can bet your life price was not the
John Dalton is
an industry consultant, trainer and speaker. He can be contacted at
(919) 557-3844 or by e-mail at [email protected].