I remember the first time I heard about HDTV back in 1998 during a broadcasting class I took in college. The picture was amazing and the television was huge. It was a prototype being shown at the film department. It was amazingly sharp and we all knew the future of this technology was going to be incredible.
More incredible than the picture quality was the price. The model on display at our campus was over $15,000! Even as the technology slowly started to emerge into the marketplace, the price remained over $10,000. It was a product for the elite few or the aggressive early adopters.
Manufacturers of the product knew however that better pricing would introduce a whole new customer base. They knew that lower prices paired with amazing resolution and advanced image and sound would be a winning combination. It was only a matter of how it needed to happen.[su_quote]A silent auction that raises at least $2,500 can fit the cost of our software comfortably within the average 30% increase we’ve seen from paper events.[/su_quote]
Pricing The Product Right
In the early and mid 2000’s TV manufacturers introduced newer models and lower prices – seemingly every week. Soon, you could by a 50 inch for $3,000 or a 19′ inch for $500 and everything in between. I remember buying my first HDTV for a project I was working on. When I plugged in the video camera and started watching the footage from a trip to Turkey and Egypt I was blown away. The image was easily better than anything I had ever seen and I felt like I could pause the video and put the TV on the wall as artwork. This remarkable technology that originally cost $15,000 was now $800.
We know the rest of the story. Today, you can get a free HDTV with the purchase of a mattress or couch! In nearly every home there is a’ beautiful and crisp picture to watch the Superbowl or World Cup. The quality you can achieve has driven demand and manufacturers have found the way to make the technology affordable to nearly anyone.
Now It’s Our Turn
This historical journey is the same journey we have been on with mobile bidding. In 2002 we conducted’ our first electronic auction event for Hospice of Michigan. The price tag was over $15,000 for software built from scratch. By’ today’s standards, this event was “old school” with desktop computers as bidding stations, internet cables, printers, etc. It was however a great success and became the starting point for the thousands of events that would flow through our evolving software.
This is the driving force behind our company. We aim to follow the same pattern as HDTV makers did over’ the past two decades. When we priced ClickBid in 2003, we started with a flat fee of $13,000 which we quickly learned wasn’t worth the investment to non-profits. Simply, the cost outweighed much of the increased profits. Silent auctions have been proven to perform better with paperless or mobile bidding. However, to be really valuable to our clients, we needed a service that fit well within the increased profit. So we continued to chip away the price and build a software package that works with any sized event. We learned that the simpler the software the more efficient it is and the less support that is needed. Moving into the mobile bidding space puts the auction onto the devices people use every day. This makes it easier for guests to engage and bid, resulting in less hassle for charities during the event. Using cloud based services also allows us to increase resources without expensive overhead costs.
Since our first event cost of’ $15,000 in 2002 we have been able to work our pricing down to $500 which includes all the features you need to run a smooth, fun and simple silent auction event. That means, a silent auction that raises at least $2,500 can fit the cost of our software comfortably within the average 30% increase we’ve seen from paper events.
We’ve learned that any event, regardless of auction goal, benefits from mobile bidding technology. The key has been to make the technology affordable so the increased profit justifies the investment. And now it does. It has been a fun journey moving this industry forward toward a more affordable and profitable fundraising experience for any charity.