Price - Confusion Between Prices and Costs of Production

Confusion Between Prices and Costs of Production

Price is commonly confused with the notion of cost of production, as in “I paid a high cost for buying my new plasma television”; but technically these are different concepts. Price is what a buyer pays to acquire products from a seller. Cost of production concerns the seller’s investment (e.g., manufacturing expense) in the product being exchanged with a buyer. For marketing organizations seeking to make a profit, the hope is that price will exceed cost of production so that the organization can see financial gain from the transaction.

Finally, while pricing is a topic central to a company's profitability, pricing decisions are not limited to for-profit companies. The behavior of non-profit organizations, such as charities, educational institutions and industry trade groups, can be described as setting prices. For instance, charities seeking to raise money may set different “target” levels for donations that reward donors with increases in status (e.g., name in newsletter), gifts or other benefits. These targets can be seen as prices if they are interpreted as specifying a cost that must be paid by buyers (donors) in order to obtain something of value.

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