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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Coke, Pepsi, and Jeffrey Gitomer

Do you agree with Jeffrey Gitomer's point of view here?

I'm going to disagree. He advocates giving clients a choice -- in this case, for restaurants and hotels, to offer both Coke and Pepsi. But I advocate a simpler attitude -- on minor matters, do we need to have more choice than necessary?

If we passionately believe one brand of soft drink is more important than another, we will vote with our wallet books -- we will chose to stop patronizing one restaurant chain or another because they are selling one brand or another. But clearly we don't. It is easier to have a simple one-size-fits-all answer, and since the difference between the two products is marginal, except if you have a special interest in the matter (like you are a Pepsi employee, or you are one of the majority in Atlanta, GA), then who cares which brand they sell.

How is this relevant to AEC marketing? If you take Mr. Gitomer's usually wise advice seriously, you are going to give choices to your clients on visibly high profile but objectively unimportant issues. That, may of course, may make sense. But if your 'one and only' choice is because of the quality of your supply chain relationship -- in other words, you have trust and respect for your supplier -- the equation definitely shifts to the 'exclusive choice' model -- especially if your key supplier is helping you out on the marketing. Of course, if the matter is objectively truly important to your client, then you need to be more careful -- a little choice here can go a long way, I believe. (So don't serve Pepsi to a client whose home base is close to Coca-Cola's headquarters, unless of course you know the client loves Pepsi!)

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