The Inflation Graph and The Mature Software Market

This week a software publisher notified their channel of either an increase in maintenance costs for customers or other policy changes that resulted in the same net result of increasing customer cost.

Rather than presenting customer benefit statements centered around how the product has been substantially improved and customers are enjoying the newest features  – they trotted out a graph of inflation to prove value.

Really? The key benefit of a product or service price increase — is that the price is growing slower than the pace of inflation?

Does this inflation statistic fool anyone? Is the marketing department out of ideas? Maybe the internal conversation is ” Gee we can’t think of a compelling justification to raise pricing — let’s just throw in the same inflation graphic across all our product lines, notify the consultants, and be done with our explanation”.

Or, as I believe,  does it signify that the product is mature, has run out of exciting new features to justify a cost increase (think Microsoft Office which in my opinion ran out of exciting new features 10 years and has been adding bloat ever since)?

Are customers really fooled by this type of graph? Do they sit back satisfied with the explanation that at least the price of their software isn’t rising as fast as milk?