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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 memorandum states the the Excelsior Company will use a temporary sales promotion to introduce its brand of coffee to an already saturated coffee market. The logic behind this decision is the success of a similar strategy adopted by Superior, a leading competitorin the segment, when it introduced it newest brand of coffee. This argument is flawed because it does not take into consideration the differences between Excelsior and Superior, both in terms of the companies' varying brands and products. These differences, that I will expound on in this essay, are consequential to the sucess or failure of the strategy about to be adopted. First, the memo indicates that Superior is an already established "leading" company in the coffee space. Unlike Superior, Excelsior is just breaking into the already saturated market. Superior may have a more recognizable brand and followership that would enable it to experiment with new products with less risk than Excelsior would. Second, the memo states that coffee is an expensive item. I assume that this observation is relative to other food and beverage products. Relatively expensive items usually play by different rules of demand. The presitge and assumed quality of the product's brand carry greater weights in the purchase decision than they would in while buying cheaper or less expnesive products. Customers might be unwilling to sacrifice familiarity with the already established brands that they consume in order to try a new product. Besides, the customer base of consumers of expensive coffee ihardly intersects with the universe of consumers who subscribe to free offerings of product samples, reduced price promotions and discount coupons. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the coffee consumption segment is relatively crowded with "many established brands", according to the memo. Ceteris paribus, the number of players in a space is directly correlated with the competition in that space. Excelsior needs to differentiate its brand and its product on some other factor other than price in order to compete effectively and survive in the market. The reason why price decreases, such as those offered by temporary sales promotions, are not a good differentiator is because they could lead to price wars which will eventually suppress profits in the long run. The memo compares apples to oranges. The success of the strategy adopted by a well established company when introducing its latest product is no indication that the replication of such a strategy will be successful for a newer company. Excelsior should perform further market research to understand the drivers of consumer's coffee purchasing decisions in order to introduce a truly different product that would be capable of selling itself to consumers without the help of free samples, price reductions and discount coupons
Total Score 5 Analyzes the issue 5 Supports ideas 5 Organizes a coherent idea 6 Language control 5
The author argues that the best way for Excelsior, a company creating a new brand of coffee, to attract customers is to mimic another well established company, Superior. The basis of the argument is flawed and is built on faulty assumptions. The author uses ambiguous language in his argument and makes a ridiculous comparison between two companies that are not equal. The argument's first error is the ambiguity in the verbiage. The author uses the word "many" to describe the market of established brands of coffee, but what does that word really mean? The authoer doesnt tell the reader. Many is subjective and can have different meanings to different readers. Secondly, the author uses "expensive' to descirbe the coffee, but, once again, fails to define the word he or she is using. Expenisve in relation to what? For the argument to be more sound the author needs to use more specific language to build his argumnet. The ambiuos terminology leaves room for critics to easily attack the argument. A more egregious error than the first is the author's assumption that Excelsior's coffee is equal to Superior's coffee. The auhtor fails to consider that Superior's initial marketing campaign was successful because their product was ultimatley superior to the competition. Excelsior can't mimic Superior's marketing strategy and expect the same results. There is a real possibility that Excelsior's coffee is subpar and that their marketing campaign will need to be creative in its attempt to earn customers. The author also curiously fails to identify the specifics of Superior's customer; maybe the two companies are after a different target audience and each company needs to have vastly different marketing techniques to be successful. Also, considering that Superior has such a successful and established brand it might make more sense for Excelsior to target a different target audience. Lastly, Superior is an established brand. It follows that their new marketing campaign's success stems from their already successful name. Excelsior, on the other hand, is a company that is new to this industry and needs to build the brand for the bottom The author makes an illogical and unfair comparison when he compares the leading company in the industry to a new upstart company. The author can't realistically expect the same results. A better comparison would be to another start up company in the industry that was succesful or by examining Superior's original marketing campaign. The original campaign might shed some light on how they became so successful. In conclsuion the overall depth of the argument is lacking. The author uses too much terminology that can be widely ineterpreted. Most importantly, though, the author uses an illogical compariosn, therefore any conlsusions that stem from the argument should be questioned.
Got a 6, despite the spelling errors towards the end. Credit to Chineseburned for his template.
The argument claims that the best way to gain customers to the Excelsior brand of coffee is to mimic what Superior did and introduce the coffee with temporary sales promotion that offers free samples, price reductions, and discount coupons for the new brand. While the argument may have some merit; Stated this way, the argument reveals examples of leap of faith and poor reasoning while failing to mention several key factors on the basis of which it could be evaluated. The conclusion of the argument is unconvincing and has several flaws. First, the argument readily assumes that by mimicing Superior, the leading coffee company,Excelsior can attract customers to its brand of coffee. This statement is a stretch because unlike Superior, the Excelsior is not well established in the coffee making industry. Superior may already have a customer base, a planned marketing theme and resources that allow them to promote their new brand. There is no evidence that the Excelsior are able to execute a promotion like Superior were able to do. The argument could have been much clear if it explicitly state that the Excelsior are in a similar situation as the Superior were when it was first being established. Second, the argument once again assumes that the Excelsior Company can complete with Superior in terms of marketing and resources. The argument does not mention the budget constraints of the Excelsior company and whether or not they can afford such a promotion. In fact, it is not clear if the Excelsior company can survive a sales promotion that offers free samples, price reduction and discount coupons for their coffee. If the argument had provided evidence that the Excelsior Company has the resources to pull of such a promotion, then the argument would be much more convincing. Finally, the argument fails to address the quality of the coffee that the Excelsior Company is trying to sell. There are many types of coffee and although the argument states that coffee is an expensive food item, it failed to establish what type of coffee the Excelsior Company is trying to sell. There is no evidence provided on whether or not any market research was done. What if the coffee is is similar to the brands that they are competing against? Perhaps even with the promotion, the Excelsior company will be unable to sell the coffee because there are no customers that want their coffee. Without convincing answers to these questions, one is left with the impression that the claim is more of wishful thinking rather than substantiated evidence. In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the above-mentioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. It could be considerably strenthened if the author clearly mention all the releveant facts. In order to assess the merit of this certain situation, it is essential to have full knowledged of all contriubting factors. In this particular case, factors such as budget constraints, market research and quality of the coffee are all necessary information. Without this information, the argument remains unsubstanitated and open to debate.
Total Score 5 Analyzes the issue 5 Supports ideas 5 Organizes a coherent idea 5 Language control 5
This argument claims that Excelsior company plans to launch its own brand of coffee and to be successful in this venture it should emulate the practices of the leading coffee company Superior and conduct temporary sale promotions, have price reductions and offer discount coupons. Stated this way this argument fails to mention several key factors on the basis of which it could be evaluated. The conclusion is based on assumptions with little evidence and hence the argument ends up being weak and flawed.
Firstly, the author assumes that since the current leading coffee company provided promotions and reduced coffee prices, Excelsior should be adopting a similar strategy.However, the author fails to provide any conclusive data that these promotions were the key factor for the success of Superior,maybe it just had to do with the quality of the coffee that people likedand Superior's current success had nothing to do with their initial promotion of the product. This argument could be strengthened by providing such quantitative data or market analysis of how promotional marketing can lead to a brand's success.
Secondly, the author also alludes to the fact that since coffee is expensive and since many brands exist, Excelsior should be following in the footsteps of the leading coffee company i.e. Superior. The cost of the product has little bearing on this argument since it does not justify a product needing promotion. This point is unconvincing also due to the fact that, since there are already many coffee brands in the market , the author should have taken this premise to point towards a more logical conclusion such as Excelsior should differentiate themselves in the market space to be a leader rather than following the strategies of an already existing competitor.
Finally, the author is comparing two non-analogous situations in the argument. Excelsior company is planning to launch its own new brand of coffee whereas Superior ran the promotion while introducing a new line in their existing coffee. It is very much possible that the promotional sales worked for Superior since they already had previous coffees and the promotion was to promote a newer flavor or type of coffee which is very different than introducing a new brand of coffee altogether. This comparison is a stretch and the author could have strengthened the argument by providing a more accurate comparison.
In summary, the argument fails to mention the aforementioned facts and hence is unconvincing. It could be strengthened by providing more relevant data. In order to assess a situation, it is essential to have the complete knowledge of all the contributing factors.