Pro vs Premium

How should a product be marketed? As pro, or as premium?

Just a casual observation made by rummaging through my bag….

Pro products:

  • Macbook Pro
  • Rotring Master Set
  • Letraset ProMarkers

Premium products:

  • None

In fact, I never buy anything marketed as premium. I’m far more likely to buy something marketed as economy. However, I own practically every pro product relating to my profession (engineering and design).

Why is there such a gaping difference? Pro and premium are the same right? I don’t think so - in fact, I reckon they’re polar opposites.

A premium product seems wasteful. Premium materials, premium packaging, premium bull shit. I don’t want any of those things.

However, a pro product holds a different promise. It makes me feel like a person really understands my profession, and has tailored a product specifically for it. The fact that it’s more expensive is almost irrelevant. And whilst premium products testify to a person who invests heavily in their own leisure, a pro product testifies to someone who takes pride in their work.

I don’t think I’m the only person to think this way. There’s legions of young professionals who’d rather eat beans on toast every day than forfeit their professional equipment, whether that’s a computer, camera, or whatever.

When entrepreneurs are considering which segment of the market to cater for, then the professional market is surely a desirable one. If a product can be designed which closely fits the requirements of a certain profession, then you can almost be guaranteed that there’ll be customers. Furthermore, those initial customers are likely to be copied by other professionals who also want the best quality tools.

Where does this leave premium products? They have to find a novel means of engaging with the customer. There’s no point just having premium packaging and all that crap. They have to find something which consumers find desirable (whether that’s green credentials, provenance, good design, or something else) and which they’re willing to pay a premium price for. Premium in itself is no longer enough, especially considering the economic climate that we’re in.