Villing & Company

Adobe Taking Their Marketing Cues from the Cable Company

There are few monthly bills that people despise more than the cable bill. Not only is it expensive, but their pricing strategy makes it impossible to pay reasonable prices for the channels you want. Want HGTV and TLC? Sorry those don’t come with the package unless you purchase dozens of other channels you don’t want. These packages could only be considered a “value” if you ignore the fact that you’ll never watch half of the channels you pay for. This strategy is universally reviled and has landed these companies consistently on lists of "America’s Most Hated Companies". Comedy Central's South Park even satirized the public perception of this practice in 2013. The clip from that episode is probably NSFW, although it's somewhat tame by South Park standards.

Evidently, Adobe executives have taken a look at that situation and said, “we’d like a piece of that action!” With their new Creative Cloud pricing, Adobe is following the same strategy as the cable companies, setting the individual application pricing so high as to make it an “all-or-nothing” proposition. For someone like me who uses two programs frequently and a couple more sporadically, paying for the whole Creative Suite doesn't seem like a deal any more than paying for 5-6 home shopping channels as part of my cable package.

Adobe also seems to be mimicking the cable companies in how they utilize arbitrary and drastically different “deals”--enabling you to lock-in lower prices by signing up during specific times. The arbitrary nature of these price breaks does little but devalue the product. Why would I ever feel good about paying $70/month for software I’ve been getting for $40/month?

The bottom line is that these are, for all practical purposes, monopolies. Without fair competition, the company is trying to gouge every last penny out of their customers, rather than build good will. Sure, this strategy may work for awhile, but is the damage to their long-term reputation really worth the cost? Personally, I’d steer far clear of the strategies of the cable industry, where their customers are champing at the bit to “cut the cord.”

That’s not a marketing strategy worth emulating.

Filed Under: general

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