Some vendors seem to all be the same. They offer strikingly similar services, features, and price. My fiance and I felt this way about music for our wedding. While bands are inherently differentiated by nature (think about different voices, instruments, etc), our decision to go with a DJ came with some problems – they seemed to offer the same exact darn thing. So how can you possibly decide which vendor to go with when your typical criteria (e.g. service, features, price) are the same?
My strategy professor provided a frame work that business savvy brides can use. He argues that when companies make their services different from others, they receive better profits because they can:
- increase the customer’s willingness to pay more while keeping the company’s costs the same,
- decrease the company’s costs while keeping the customer’s willingness to pay more the same, or
- do both.
Flip it, turn it, reverse it: let the MBA Bride show you how to use it for your benefit.
Choose A Vendor Based on Willingness to Pay
Let’s continue with the DJ example. If there is no discernible difference in service, features, or price, perhaps you’d be willing to pay more for some aspect that you can’t quite put your finger on. If you hit it off with a particular MC, perhaps you’d be willing to pay more for him/her. My fiance and I did just that…we are not about MCs that yank people out of their seats and touch people when dancing. We found a DJ whose style is much more kicked back and relaxed with no touchy feely. We’d be willing to pay more for that, even though we don’t have to.
Note that you do not have to pay more, but you know you would pay more in order to get the intangible elements of the service that you value.
Choose Based on Decreasing Costs
If there is not price difference between vendors themselves, perhaps they can help you to reduce your costs in other ways. If you are deciding between three locations for your ceremony and one provides an organ player at no additional charge, that will help you to reduce our overall wedding costs and should influence your decision.
Note that you do not pay less, but you know it will help you pay less in another wedding expense category.
Strike Gold with Both
If a vendor offers something you’d be willing to pay more for while also decreasing your overall wedding costs, you’ve scored big. Don’t deny and go for it.
The MBA bride takeaway: when there aren’t obvious ways to decide on any vendor, put on your “willingness to pay more and decreasing costs” glasses to see if you can view a vendor’s value from another angle.
The DJ we selected, Tommy Tunes, was a pot of gold for us.
Is there a vendor that you see this framework helping you with? Share in a comment to this post.
Picture Source: 123RF