Taking the easy option

One way to price your digital content is to give it away, for free. After all the marginal cost is $0 and there are competitors who are willing to give away for $0 what you are trying to monetize. Since information wants to be free, do not try to control it, give it away and try to monetize something else. If you are switching your offering from traditional media like print to digital, some describe you as out of touch and irrelevant trying to charge for digital content. This is the Free argument  and it is wrong. It is based on costs and competitor and completely ignores  customers  and their value.

The right marketing strategy approach is to understand your customers, the different segments and the relative utilities of different components of your offering, differentiate your offering from those who are willing to give it away and price your offering based on the value created. The problem is this is  hard, it requires truly differentiated offering to begin with and then considerable marketing research, customer conversations, plenty of data collection and analysis. There are no ready answers, no complete data and the models you build come with confidence intervals and uncertainties.

Compared to this trouble, popular fads that give simple and confident answers like “give it way” do seem attractive.

Every problem does have a  simple, attractive, confidently stated, comforting and wrong solution.