The Top Pricer Tournament™

Much of this description comes from “A Tournament Pits Strategies Against Each Other to See What Works”, by Mark Chussil, Harvard Business Review, June 8, 2015.



It is hard to study competitive strategy. As a result, we don’t know much about what actually works.


It’d be helpful to run experiments. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a double-blind randomized controlled trial in business. What placebo would businesses take? What businesses would sign up to take it?


I’m Mark Chussil, SCIP Fellow, Founder of Advanced Competitive Strategies, Inc., 40-year veteran of competitive strategy, Adjunct Instructor at the University of Portland. I’ve been working on a different approach. If we can’t experiment on real-life strategists running real-life businesses, how about if we experiment on real-life strategists running simulated businesses?


I wrote and conduct the Top Pricer Tournament™. Over 1,800 people — executives, managers, consultants, professors, students, around the world — have entered pricing strategies for realistic, simulated businesses.


SCIP and I are running the Tournament at the conference. Will you be the winner?


The Tournament simulates three generic industries: Ailing, Fast Growth, and Mature. Each industry has three businesses that start out identical in every way. Each entrant designs pricing strategies for one of the three businesses. The other two businesses are played by all combinations of all the other entrants.


I know that sounds like a simple problem. It is, and it isn’t. With the current 1,835 entrants, the Tournament simulates 1,682,695 what-if scenarios for each entrant’s strategy in each industry.


The only way to outperform the other entrants is to outthink the other entrants. That’s your challenge. By the way, the current champion is not a professor or a top executive. The current champion is not even me. The current champion is a tie between a youngish market researcher and an undergraduate business student.


The person at the SCIP 2019 Conference whose Tournament entry performs best will be announced at the Conference to wild applause and serious professional acclaim.