Last November I ran my first half marathon: 13.1
glorious grueling miles around Dallas’ White Rock Lake. My prize for finishing? A shiny, hefty medal commemorating my accomplishment. And, of course, the finisher’s t-shirt (thankfully minus the slogan “I ran around the lake and all I got was this stupid t-shirt.”)
I’m typically not one to hang on to mementos (clutter irritates me), but you can bet I’m holding on to this medal. It’s the culmination of an 11-month training cycle that started with Couch to 5K and represents an important personal achievement.
Yesterday I took it to a friend and client who’s also a custom laser engraver. I asked her to engrave my name and finishing time on the back. You know what? I can guarantee the cost to engrave the medal is more than the medal’s actually worth.
That’s okay. There’s an emotional value in the medal that exceeds its physical worth.
This is Not a Post About Running
While chatting with my engraver friend yesterday, she said something that resonated with me, something I’ve noticed recently in the WordPress world, but hadn’t been able to put words to.
People’s willingness to pay for aftermarket add-ons is proportionate to the cost of the original product.
For example, if a favorite beer stein cost $25 originally, the owner balks at paying 2x the cost for a custom engraving. Conversely, a shotgun with a custom-fitted stock might cost a few thousand dollars, but the owner happily pays 10% of the cost to personalize it.
It’s a simple, but astute observation about buying behavior.
This is Not a Post About Pricing
If you want some great discussions about pricing, check out Chris Lema’s e-book The Price is Right or subscribe to Curtis McHale’s upcoming series on pricing. I’ll leave those discussion to folks with more experience. I’m not here to talk about pricing.
The subject of our “discussion” was the cost (and perceived value) of Genesis Design Palette Pro, an aftermarket plugin made by Andrew Norcross for the Genesis Framework. (It’s a super cool tool that enables users to customize fonts, colors, and a bunch of other stuff on Genesis themes without touching any code, but alas, that’s a topic for another post).
The developer license for Genesis Design Palette Pro is $149 but the entire ball of awesome that is the Genesis Framework is only $59. How can something that adds functionality to a platform be worth 3x the value of the platform?
Some argue it isn’t.
— Marcus Tibesar (@marcustibesar) January 15, 2014
Let’s think about my medal again. What if, when it was originally being imprinted, the manufacturer had stamped “CARRIE DILS 2:30:40” on every one. I wouldn’t need to pay to have mine customized. Of course, that’s ridiculous, but you get my point:
There’s extra cost involved to get things customized.
This is a Post About What You Value
Do I need to have my medal engraved? No. I just want it.
Do I have the skills or equipment to engrave it myself? No.
So I’m left with the choice every consumer must make – take a product as it comes “off the shelf” or pay for aftermarket add-ons. We all have a choice. In the case of the medal, I made the choice to pay for something I valued, even if the cost was disproportionate to the original item.
Oh, and that finisher’s t-shirt I got? It’s too big. But rest assured I won’t pay to have it altered. It’s not worth it.