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Contextual Pricing: The Death of List Price and the New Market Reality (Business Books) Hardcover – 1 Nov 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education (1 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071772464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071772464
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.1 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,078,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Robert Docters is the managing partner for Abbey Road, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in pricing strategy. He previously served as a senior vice president of strategy and pricing at LexisNexis, and before that was an SVP at Ernst & Young.
John Hanson is a partner at Accenture, where he leads the North American Pricing and Profit Optimization strategy practice.
Cecilia Nguyen is a senior manager with Accenture’s Pricing and Profit Optimization strategy practice.
Michael Barzelay holds the London School of Economics’ first professorial chair in public management. He codirects the Department of Management’s new MsC Public Management and Governance, and serves as the founding executive director of the Center for Transformation and Strategic Initiatives, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Regardless, of the size and scale of your business. Or even the typical price of your products and services. This book is an essential compliment to tactical and strategic trading. The section on price bundling is especially good!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.9 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understand one of the most important and least understood decisions every company has to make -- Price 12 Nov. 2011
By Mark P. McDonald - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Pricing is one of the most important decisions companies face. It is also one that is often reduced to a simple set of list prices, predefined bundles and reactionary policies. It does not need to be that way as the authors of Contextual Pricing share in their book. Rob Doctors, John G. Hanson, Cecilia Nguyen and Michael Barzelay have collaborated to create a highly informative, accessible and book that provides actionable advice and examples. They have created a book that is much more than the normal business book and more accessible than an academic look at the complex issue of pricing.

Highly recommended as a comprehensive, business focused and readily accessible discussion of this critical decision. The authors point out the importance of pricing when they discuss the observation that less than half of customer defections are price driven, yet when customers threaten to leave. They also point out that the idea of price elasticity is fundamentally flawed and how to reform this through a combination of segmentation and elasticity.

The authors point out that pricing decisions need to be driven by customer context rather than simple list prices. Pricing is more than just an issue of margin and production costs, but rather a complex set of contextually heavy factores. The authors go on in 17 chapters to explain exactly what this means. The chapters are listed at the end of this review.

This book is highly recommended to every manager and executive who is interested in driving greater success from more successful pricing decisions and programs. CMOs and CIOs should pay particular attention as Contextual Pricing covers the interaction and interdependencies between Pricing, Segmentation and Information.


The book is comprehensive in its treatment of the issues of pricing as it covers the impact of marketing, segmentation, bundling and other pricing strategies. Each topic is covered from the central ideas to illustrative case studies.

The book covers emerging and new issues, reflecting advances in ideas around digital pricing, revised bundling strategies, and managing prices in tough economic times. All of these topics lead this book to go beyond just simple notions of price elasticity.

The case study examples cover a diverse range of industries from manufacturers to service companies from long established players to relatively new technology companies. The range of case studies reflects the full range of situations most companies will face.


The book is not for the faint of heart. It deeply discusses topics in a significant way that makes the book one that needs to be read, reflected upon, and thought through to see how they apply to your situation. There are few books that have as much underlining and comments in the margins as this one.

The book covers significant ground related to pricing which limits the depth at which it can go into any one topic. Read this book to get a strong understanding of pricing and its role in management. Use that understanding to investigate specific pricing issues.

Here is the list of chapters that give you an idea of the books contents without giving those contents away.

Part 1: The Journey from Product to Context
Chapter 1 - Context and the Death of List Price
Chapter 2 - Why Value Matters Less than Competition
Chapter 3 - Which Context Matter to You?
Chapter 4 - Living in the Digital World
Chapter 5 - Antidotes to Prices Pressure

Part 2: Pricing for Poets and Profit Mazimizers
Chapter 6 - Price Structure
Chapter 7 - Scientific Bundling and Tiering
Chapter 8 - Dangerous Ways to Reduce or Increase Price

Part 3: Pricing Programs and the Marketing Mix
Chapter 9 - Segmentation, Context at Time
Chapter 10 - The Hinge of Fate: Pricing Strategy
Chapter 11 - Higher Return: Introductory Pricing Strategies
Chapter 12 - Brand, Messaging, and Competition

Part 4: Tools for Management
Chapter 13 - First Steps and Missteps
Chapter 14 - Cheap and Cheerful Pricing Tools
Chapter 15 - Key Contextual Data is Not in Your Company's Database
Chapter 16 - An Enabling Systems Architecture
Chapter 17 - Creative Pricing
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An in-depth guide for optimizing your pricing strategy 28 Nov. 2011
By Deni Kasrel - Published on
Format: Hardcover
There are plenty of books that can tell you how to market products and services, but few give much attention to the art and science of pricing, even though price is often a critical factor in a buyer's decision-making process. Contextual Pricing fills that gap with detailed explanations of the multitude of variables that go into creating effective and profitable price strategy and tactics. Using research and case studies the authors illustrate how varying circumstances influence buyer mentality and behavior toward a price or set of prices, such as bundles and tiers. The overall tone is much like a textbook, however the many real-life examples add an entertaining quality to the academic content, as do chapter footnotes, which are often humorous (so be sure to read them). You'll learn the how's and why's of price sensitivity that enable you to successfully charge higher prices in certain circumstances, as well as find out how to avoid common pricing mistakes that can cost you big bucks. There's also good advice on how to overcome internal obstacles within a company's operational structure that can impede your ability set optimum prices. A revealing read, this book covers the gamut on pricing and is worth its own cost many times over.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must buy for sales and marketing leaders. 9 Mar. 2012
By Reg Nordman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
New, exciting , easy to read and useful but not trivial. This is a resource for anyone working with pricing in any industry. I have been working with value pricing for a year now and was wondering about a hybrid response to pricing. This book has given me a big chunk of the answer. If you are finding that cost based or competition based pricing does not give you the tools to get out from under discounting, than value pricing is one step. Now coupled with contextual pricing you can take some great big steps. Value pricing shows your sales guys how to explain to customers how all your products values/attributes/benefits add up to more than the price asked. Contextual pricing helps you gain understanding of buyer context. This allows marketing/sales to develop pricing scenarios for common market situations (rush, size, market power, geography, competition, trade show). These become part of a salesperson's toolkit, reducing complexity while speeding responsiveness. And, I love it, increasing prices while increasing speed, shortening cycles, thus reducing sales costs! A must buy for sales and marketing leaders. You will thank the author( the case studies are worth the book) - but it will take some work to get this going.
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally, the proof I was looking for! 5 Feb. 2012
By Tony J. Ridley - Published on
Format: Hardcover
For many years I have been involved in debates, disputes and out right shouting matches with sales and marketing representatives around outdated and poor pricing models. While I had the experience and evidence to change our approach, I lacked the objective comparisons to add weight and validate my views. This book achieves that, over and over again.

Contextual Pricing moves from the problem, the reasons and the solution in a simple and highly practical manner. While others have touched or driven the topic of value based fees or other contextual pricing topics, the authors have done an excellent job of providing multiple case examples, from numerous industries and markets, to cement the reasons behind having scalable and flexible (otherwise known as context) pricing solutions for customers.

I found great value in the offering around identifying and prioritising the real contextual influences, to apply to our markets, customers, competitors and product/services.

I recommend the book for general managers, directors and CEOs, alike. I also recommend it for the more adventurous (and likely to be rewarded for such vision) sales and marketing professionals that deal with selling, servicing or delivering products and services.

The book provides insight and solutions for all likely scenarios, from downturns, market dominance, new entries, old products and complex service/support offerings. Each with it's faults and best practice solutions.

Save yourself the cost of a consultant that may or may not deliver results for your pricing and competitive pricing objectives and invest in the book and time to understand the value it delivers, at a nominal cost to all.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old News - 11 Mar. 2012
By Loyd Eskildson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The authors tell us that identical products can sell at radically different prices to the same target customer if context is strategically managed. Coca-Cola, for example, incorporated 'temperature' at the point of sale in its pricing, 'rush' orders of plastic command higher prices for packing manufacturer Paktiv. Another example - Coca-Cola can charge more for its products when placed near sports clothes than when amongst competitors' offerings. The authors contend its possible to achieve 1 - 7% price gains using just a few simple rules of thumb, and 10 - 12% with improved processes and systems.

Duh - anybody with a pulse knows this, thanks to the airlines (prices vary as to whether on-line or walk-up, time of day, and distance out in the future), movie theatres (higher prices in the evening, lower for seniors). Even the Coca-Cola example has been fairly well publicized already.

And then there's the increased costs of more complex pricing.

Bottom-Line: OK read if you don't have anything better to do.
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