Open Letter to Pope Francis: Let Me Fix Your Pricing Strategy
Thursday, September 10, 2015
I hope that you enjoy your upcoming trip to Philadephia. As you know, you have many followers who eagerly await your visit. Unfortunately, there are few venues large enough to contain everyone who would like to hear you speak.
You are a man known for his generosity of spirit. As such, I was not surprised to learn that you had given the tickets to your upcoming speech away for free. It also did not surprise me to learn that all of your tickets had been claimed (I won't use the term "sold") within five minutes - a great many of them now being resold by scalpers.
While your reputation precedes you as a kind and caring man, I suspect that your decision to give away free tickets was not intended to help those looking to profit from their resale.
Here are three strategies that you might want to consider for distributing tickets to your future events:
- Auction - Many people are willing to spend significant sums of money to hear you speak. You could allow those willing to spend the most to buy tickets directly from you. Although you might not like the idea of preaching to only the wealthiest of your followers, the proceeds could be used to provide free food for the starving people of the world. Wouldn't you rather direct proceeds from ticket sales to the needy rather than to the scalpers?
- Free tickets with no transferability - If you believe that everyone should have an equal opportunity to hear you speak, you can distribute them at no cost. However, I would strongly suggest that you require each attendee to demonstrate that he was the initial owner of the ticket. Many events now require those in the audience to present identification that matches the names printed on their tickets. While this strategy would prevent scalping (by reducing the resale value of each ticket to zero), it might also reduce the number of folks in attendance. Many folks might run into unexpected schedule conflicts and find themselves unable to give their tickets away to other interested parties.
- First come, first serve - You could avoid tickets altogether and simply allow people to line up and wait for you to speak. Those who are willing to wait in line the longest obviously care the most about hearing your message. This method would have the added benefit of helping to increase the visibility of your visit. Reporters love talking about people who wait in lines for tickets, gadgets and other products. Of course there is a downside as well. Folks who wait in line, but are not granted admittance due to capacity concerns, may harbor some resentment.
No system is perfect, but I believe any of the three above would be preferable to the system used for your upcoming speech.
Are you the pope? You'll probably want to contact me for a consultation. Not the pope? You'll probably benefit from my help too. Oh, and my software pricing book is still for sale. If you haven't read it yet, you should!