Separating Price from Products

Separating Price from Products

Just recently, Marathon’s Mark Weber and I recorded an upcoming podcast, and I talked about Beverly and Tim Walden’s goal always to create a memorable experience for each client. They’re not selling portraits but an entire event by working with them.


Well, to Bev’s point in this recent Tuesday Tidbit, what are you doing to elevate the experience for each client? What makes the experience of working with you different from other photographers in the community?


From your business cards to your style and attitude, to your website, blog, and delivery of the finished print or prints – are you Nordstroms, Macy’s, or an old Kmart? Everything is included in establishing value – from how you dress to the finished packaging in which you deliver the final product.


So often, I’ve heard photographers talk about wanting to land jobs in high-profile zip codes, in other words, wealthy communities, as if there was some magic in working with people with more money. Here’s my point –


“People don’t buy what they need; they buy what they want!”

Seth Godin


You can justify higher pricing if you’ve done your homework and understand what your target audience values the most. It’s like a great recipe, loaded with real and emotional ingredients. But the bottom line is it all starts with you!






What the product is…isn’t what the product can be priced at once you add experience and put it in the correct context.


We have always taught about creating an amazing experience for your clients. This thought process takes it to a new level and it forces me think about what the next level is for us at Walden’s as we continue to work on our business.


Let’s first look at Jeff Ruby’s, a new steakhouse here in Lexington. We were recently given a gift certificate to have dinner there and our expectations were high…very high! Valets parked our car and we were escorted in. Of course, reservations were required.


The interior of the restaurant was glitzy and glamorous (a la Las Vegas), the servers perfectly dressed and well spoken and the meal was presented beautifully. The food was great too! And expensive, but we were paying an elevated price for the experience and pampering.


NOTE: We have purchased filets from Costco that were just as tasty and at a much lower price point. However, cooking it ourselves, making the sides and cleaning up the dishes afterwards is a different experience:-)


The experience and pampering liberated the price from the product.


Let’s contrast the Jeff Ruby experience with Texas Roadhouse Steak House.


You park yourselves (no valet) and you step in on peanuts scattered across the floor. Country music is blaring as servers dressed in jeans and t-shirts escort you to your table after waiting in line for 30 minutes or more. No mood lighting. No glitz and glamour. Similar food. But at a much different (lower) price. The price is tied to the product.


Each restaurant is very much on brand.


Texas Roadhouse cannot charge the same price as Jeff Ruby’s or they would have NO business!

Another example…when is a peanut more than a peanut? A plain peanut in its shell is not worth much, maybe pennies, but a peanut dusted with Starbucks mocha latte powder and packaged in a fancy tin is worth a whole lot more.


The luxury and pampering allows a higher price point!


The question is this…which restaurant do you want to be?


Can you find ways to alter/enhance the experience you provide and will it be enough to untie your product from the price you are now charging and let your price float upwards? Can you find new and innovative ways to pamper your clients?


We are constantly working on this very question.

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This article was written by
Beverly Walden

Beverly, along with her husband, Tim, took over Walden’s Photography in 1980, taking the studio in an entirely different direction when they developed their trademark “Relationship” Black and White Fine Art Portraiture. Today, they run a high-end studio, providing beautifully crafted portraits with impeccable customer service, along with Walden Coaching ( helping photographers build a stronger brand and business.

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