An EPIC Pricing Challenge

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CASE STUDY. This case recounts a real-life situation in 2020 when EPIC (a not-for-profit organization) decided to replace its usual in-person conference with a virtual conference in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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An EPIC Pricing Challenge: Abstract

In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EPIC (a not-for-profit organization) decided to replace its usual in-person conference with a virtual conference. After outlining the challenge, the case recounts the history of EPIC and its conferences (including earlier pricing changes and their impact), the progression of the pandemic in early 2020, the process resulting in the March 30 decision to go virtual, and the efforts launched in late April to decide how to price a virtual versus an in-person conference. Various factors and considerations are presented, including the conference’s pricing changes over the years, other conferences planned for 2020 that had been changed to a virtual format or cancelled, and a survey of EPIC members to determine their price sensitivity. Excel spreadsheets of the survey data are provided for students and professors.

Learning objectives

  • Understand the logic behind value-based pricing and why beginning with perceived value is always the optimal approach for setting prices.
  • Understand the limits and issues related to status-quo pricing, competitive-based pricing, and cost-based pricing.
  • Understand that event pricing has a number of unique attributes that limit managers’ ability to engage in market tests or A/B testing.
  • Understand how to use survey data to estimate pricing sensitivities and compute the price/volume trade-offs and related revenue levels across a number of participant attributes. Understand price signalling and its limitations.
  • Understand that pricing decisions should not be based solely on maximizing revenues for specific purchases but should also consider the lifetime value of acquired customers and non-financial considerations such as participation and outreach related to the organization’s mission and strategy.

Main themes covered

  • Pricing

Concepts and theories related to the case

  • Pricing analysis

Additional information

Teaching notes are available for University teachers only. Please contact HEC Montréal Case Centre to request them.

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