2009-02-06

When being #2 is better

Hertz vs. Avis
Coke vs. Pepsi
Pat's vs. Geno's

Those are all competitors where there's a #1 and a #2. Avis coined the phrase "We're #2. We try harder." Coke would have happily invented Pepsi for the rivalry. And the cheesesteak warriors may both claim to be the "King," but the truth is that the rivalry is as much a reason for success. All it takes is one panoramic look from the converging points of South 9th Street and East Passyunk Avenue to see that.

There's a real silver lining to being #2 that we don't automatically appreciate in full. #2 usually means you get back something for what you give up in volume. Real life is rarely a zero sum game.

For example, if you happened to be a wholesaler, and you went from being the #1 supplier to #2 for a high volume retailer, but your actual profit dollars increased, would you really complain? You might if you lost the #1 slot because your service was bad or your people were knuckleheads. That's not the case here. And it's a very odd sort of good news.

Let's see... You could make more money and work less for it. Winner!

(By the way, I've always been a Jim's guy in Philly, I prefer RC Cola and Alamo is pretty much my consistent go-to rental... but I'll save that for a "When being #3 means you're a boutique supplier")

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