Price versus Value

The Three Rules of AV Design
October 11, 2016
Choir Mic Shootout
October 11, 2016

Price versus Value

Spending more money may be better stewardship than spending less.

Last time I posted here, I preached that application should be the driving factor when selecting equipment.

Great. It turns out you found 12 options for the piece of gear that fits your needs and they range in price from $1695 to $5000. Now, how do you decide? Buy the most expensive?!?

We have all heard the sage advice, “You get what you pay for”. Like most sage advice, it cannot be taken at absolute value. Sure, usually the lowest price is the “cheapest” product. VERY often the most expensive option has features or functions that are way over the top or it may have a high priced moniker that adds no performance value. OK, maybe we eliminate the highest and lowest priced options. Now the price range is more like $2500 to $4000. Now what?

Buy the best you can afford. Note that I did not say the most expensive you can afford. I said the BEST. And what I really mean is; the best for you.

When I first started selling “stuff” 100 or so years ago, we were always taught to sell “benefits”, not “features”. “This shoe has a rubber sole and padding inside” is a fact, but the message I need to convey is, “This shoe is comfortable.”

Even very similar products may have different appeal to different users. The same sporty looking car comes with a V-8 engine or a hi-tech V-6. The V-8 benefit is; “This car is fast”. The V-6…“looks nice and has great fuel economy”. Same car on the outside – different benefits.

Would you buy a lighting console with enough features to operate 512 dimmers, 100 LED lights and 100 intelligent lights, plus operate all your other DMX devices like scrollers, hazers, and fog machines if you have 48 dimmers and no other devices, and no intention to add them? No, you would not. On the other hand, if you have 48 dimmers, and would like to add more, plus some LED lights for color, you would be wise to spend a little extra for more console than you need today so you don’t have to buy new all over again when you start upgrading.

That is “wise spending”. You save more in the long run by spending more today. Of course, you want to make certain that you are not buying technology that is already on the verge of obsolescence. Finally, you should always buy from reputable manufacturers and dealers.

When I started Vector, one of my goals was to help organizations do a better job of spending wisely. A lot of the money I see wasted is people trying to “be responsible stewards” by always selecting the lowest price point. Other times, people are attracted to a product with a wealth of features and they over spend. Most often though, poor buying decisions are a result of a lack of product knowledge, poor future planning and/or misunderstood or misleading information from places like the internet and (gasp) possibly even the manufacturers or vendors themselves.

Next time you need to spend money; have a plan, shop smart with a defined list of features/benefits you need, and then buy the BEST you can afford.