I purchased the GMAT Write product from MBA.com. Here is my essay, followed by the analysis of the computer. This is an AOA Essay.
Read the argument and the instructions that follow it, and then make any notes that will help you plan your response. Begin typing your response in the box at the bottom of the screen.
The following appeared in an Excelsior Company memorandum.
"The Excelsior Company plans to introduce its own brand of coffee. Since coffee is an expensive food item, and since there are already many established brands of coffee, the best way to gain customers for the Excelsior brand is to do what Superior, the leading coffee company, did when it introduced the newest brand in its line of coffees: conduct a temporary sales promotion that offers free samples, price reductions, and discount coupons for the new brand."
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
The argument claims that by mimicking the business plan of a competitor, Excelsior will successfully introduce a new coffee product into a crowded marketplace
. Stated in this way, the argument fails to mention or examine several key factors on the basis of which it could be better evaluated. The argument also makes a leap of faith in assuming that Superior's plan succeeded for reasons other than pure luck. Hence the argument is weak, unconvincing, and has several flaws.
First, the argument readily assumes that Excelsior Company and Superior Company are marketing similar coffee brands to a similar populace. If this is true, then it likely strengthens Excelsior's claim that the plan will work. However, if this is not in fact the case, the argument falls apart. For example, perhaps Excelsior has designed a specialty coffee that is composed of highly rare and valuable spices and ingrediants. Consequently, this coffee is extremely expensive and will appeal to only the most discerning coffee drinkers or perhaps those with a significant disposable income. If this is true, Superior's business plan will likely fail in this instance. Coupons, price reductions, and free samples will not make up for the fact that the vast majority of average coffee drinkers will ultimately choose to spend less money on an average and less expensive coffee product that adequately meets their needs and tastes and saves them a small fortune in the process. The argument could have been much clearer if it compared and outlined the similarities and differences between Excelsior and Superior's coffee products.
Second, the argument assumes that Excelsior and Superior as companies are similar in structure, financial status, and market influence. The argument states that Superior is the leading company in the coffee industry, but it fails to mention Excelsior's own rank in the industry. This is information that could be vital to the assessment of the claim. While the claim might be reinforced if Superior and Excelsior are two dominant industrial superpowers consistently vying for the top spot in the industrial food chain, the argument could be considerably weakened if Excelsior is a fledgling company with little disposable income and significant debt due to startup costs and overhead payments. A company like Superior is likely flush with capital and has the economic wherewithal to incur the short term costs involved by handing out free samples and providing deep discounts. Such a company knows that in the long term, once customers gain an affinity for the product, the company can return to its original pricing plan and profit margins will grow in turn. While this is true for a large and powerful company, many small companies lack this luxury. If Excelsior is losing money and nearing bankruptcy, it is likely that this plan ultimately will not be sustainable. The overall goal of gaining customers for Excelsior's new product cannot be met if the company itself goes out of business due to overstretching its limits on a marketing scheme. If the argument had provided a clearer picture of the corporate similarities and differences between Excelsior and Superior, its validity would be much easier to assess.
Finally, there are several unanswered questions and glaring vacancies in the argument that simply are not addressed and have likely been overlooked. For example, the argument assumes that Superior's plan worked, and therefore Excelsior's will as well. However, the author fails to examine the reasons that Superior was successful. Perhaps Superior took advantage of a temporary economic downturn that caused the general public to spend less on coffee. By offering free samples and cheaper products, Superior helped to generate significant customer loyalty that extended beyond the recession and into the subsequent economic boom. Without such an external factor, Superior might not have achieved the same level of success. Without a perspective of the argument in its social and economic context, one is left with the impression that the claim is the result of wishful thinking rather than based on substantive evidence.
In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the above-mentioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. It could be considerably strengthened if the author clearly mentioned relevant facts, provided a more distinct comparison of the two companies involved, described the two products in question, metaphorically speaking, painted a picture of the economic situation involved in both Superior and Excelsior's instances. Without this information, the argument remains unsubstantiated and is open to debate.
Total Score 6
Analyzes the issue 6
Supports ideas 6
Organizes a coherent idea 6
Language control 6