Foreword by Prof. Tim J. Smith

Tim J. Smith, PhD. | Founder and CEO of Wiglaf Pricing and Adjunct Professor of Pricing Strategy at DePaul University Chicago

As a professor and consultant in pricing, I often am invited to review or contribute to work by others in the field. When Nicola Scirocco first approached me regarding Pricing INside OUT, I was immediately impressed by his disciplined effort and exceptional enthusiasm. Here is a pricing practitioner, not a consultant or an academic, writing to make the world a little better by sharing the knowledge he has gained from the school of direct experience. When he asked me if I could contribute to this effort, I considered it an honour to have the opportunity to write this foreword.

Nicola and I have known each other for a long time. Our relationship developed out of our mutual engagement in pricing conferences and workshops, myself as an Academic Advisor and speaker and Nicola as a practitioner and leading executive in the field. Over time, we have both been working to develop our craft, him by developing pricing processes and teams and mine by researching, teaching, and consulting on pricing. It has been a pleasure reviewing an early manuscript and understanding his world a little better.

The field of pricing is growing rapidly and yet the professional preparation most pricers currently receive to manage pricing challenges is minimal at best. To address this shortcoming, Scirocco et al have produced Pricing INside OUT, an honest and clear description of what pricing encompasses and the challenges it must address in order to drive organizations towards pricing excellence.

Companies are increasingly acknowledging the value of pricing and striving towards the position of pricing excellence. While academics and consultants have provided directionally useful insights and advice to reach that goal, it remains the responsibility of practicing pricing professionals and their executive peers to implement these insights and realize pricing excellence. In Pricing INside OUT, Scirocco et al methodically examines the practice of pricing to enable others to learn from their experience and accelerate both their own growth and the growth of their companies.

Scirocco et al are professionals in pricing working in various companies and industries. Their companies have made strategic investments in pricing excellence and these contributors are the individuals that have been charged with making those strategic investments pay off. From their first-hand experience, they report back what it takes to drive an organization from concept to practice.

Often, pricing books focus on developing a singular and cohesive paradigm or methodology, yet pricing stretches across many domains. Organizational strategy, pricing techniques and analytics, product development strategy and sales strategy are all areas of challenge that pricing professionals must address.

Pricing professionals in companies are not constrained to a singular paradigm. In practice, pricing professionals will adopt approaches from multiple paradigms to develop a process that works for their company and their situation. Moreover, pricing professionals are required to operationalize pricing paradigms within their company. They must drive the organization forward from strategy to execution.

Scirocco et al appropriately acknowledge many of these pricing paradigms and freely depart from standards to describe what worked for their specific circumstances. The results are refreshingly insightful.

For instance, while many engaged in new product development will have heard of the Phase-Gate approach, Scirocco et al provide a far more detailed understanding of the overall innovation process with the concept of an innovation funnel and a clear exploration of contrasting innovation strategies being either market-led, technology-led, or design-led.

Elsewhere, Scirocco et al adroitly compare multiple sales methodologies to lead the reader towards approaches that worked at specific companies.

When it comes to pricing analysis, the myriad methods of analysis Scirocco et al provide far exceed any short encapsulation.

And that is appropriate. Pricing within a company is not a simple nor a singular exercise. Pricing as a field has been built upon foundations in marketing, finance, economics, sales, innovation, data analytics, computing, artificial intelligence, leadership, teamwork and more. As a practice, it has become its own unique organizational function with unique organizational requirements.

Communication and teamwork are fundamental to achieving pricing excellence. Scirocco repeatedly returns to this issue in discussing pricing’s interaction with data, sales, marketing, innovation, and most critically, the CEO and senior executive leadership.

Pricing INside OUT is a great resource for professionals entering pricing practice, current pricing professionals, or senior executives seeking to driving pricing excellence within their firms. Well written and broad in scope, Scirocco presents a comprehensive playbook for driving pricing excellence.