Poor Publix

Deer Oh Deer

I’ve been following the recent ad war between Walmart and Publix.

I feel Publix will lose.

Apparently some genius in the Publix marketing department decided to create an ad campaign that pits Publix head to head with Walmart.

I can only imagine how that meeting must have gone,

Idea guy: “Hey guys, let’s take on Walmart!”

Marketing team: “Yeah, that’s a great idea.”

Apparently, Publix’s stance is that Walmart does not always have the lowest price. Their argument is that with their weekly offers and BOGO (buy one get one free) sales, Publix has lower prices on select items – which is ‘technically’ true.

However, Walmart campaigns are based on the fact that they DO have lower prices – all the time – and that you are free to shop the way you want to shop. One billboard boasts: “Shop your list not theirs.”

I feel Publix is fighting the wrong fight… They should really stay in their lane and campaign on the things they do best – superior customer service – their USP, (Unique Selling Proposition)

Every successful company has, or should have a USP. A unique quality that differentiates them from their competition. I remember when the Publix slogan was: Publix, where shopping is a pleasure.

This is a unique selling proposition. And, one that Walmart can’t beat. Everyone knows that shopping at Walmart is a moderate to horrible experience – misplaced items, constant musical isles so you can’t find what you’re looking for. And, don’t get me started on the checkout lines. You’d better bring a crossword puzzle or pull up Facebook on your smart phone to keep yourself busy for a half hour. This is not the experience at Publix.

Also, Publix is very big on community…whereas Walmart is constantly playing catch up and defending themselves.

These are the points Publix should be campaigning on, a battle that they can actually win.

In my industry, competing on price has been dubbed “the race to the bottom”. How low can you price your products and still stay in business. This is a horrible, horrible selling proposition and is exactly what Publix is doing.

Here are a couple of takeaways for your business:

1. Never, never, never, ever compete on price. You are only devaluing your services. There will always be someone who’s more ‘broke’ than you; willing to make less money, or, like in Walmart’s case, simply bigger than you, that will sell the same thing for less than you can afford to.

2. If you’re going to compete, compete on VALUE. How much more value can you bring to the table then your competition?

3. Your value should define your company’s USP. The thing that you do better than any other person in your industry. Once you to find your USP, set the stake in the ground and stick to your guns – always honor yourself and your company by communicating and promoting your USP.

Personally, I think you have got to be out of your mind to take on Walmart head to head – especially on price. There’s a much, much easier way.

About the Author

Antonio Thornton is a hilarious dad, mediocre Salsa dancer and business strategist with Money Mouth Marketing, a results-based marketing firm

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