Archives Addresses Pizza Expose Ordeal

On management guru Tom Peters’ blog, he points out that one of IBM founder Thomas Watson’s Golden Rules was “Though shalt never badmouth a competitor.” Peter’s adamantly agrees, stating “…when one badmouths one’s competitors or tries to limit their activities, the ‘word gets around.’ And one develops a reputation as prickly and egocentric—and, well, as a selfish jerk.”

The folks at pizza industry trade magazine Pizza Today and publisher Macfadden Protech LLC might want to spend a little time on Peter’s blog. Seems in October they had too much time on their hands and produced and circulated a negative “expose” accusing competitor PMQ (Pizza Marketing Quarterly) of, in essence, inflating their circulation by junkmailing their magazine indiscriminately to pizza companies who could care less about getting it. [interpretation mine]

The Pizza Today “expose” is written in a pseudo-folksy style in which publisher Pete Lachapelle answers questions posed by an imaginary pizza industry member who speaks in italics and uses words like “amongst” in everyday conversation. At one point, the incredulous mystery reader asks Are you saying that amongst all the copies PMQ sends out each month… no one receiving it requested it… no one?

Lachapelle, like a dad telling his two year old there’s no Santa Claus – for his own good – replies solemnly, “…those are the facts… no one receiving their publication requested it. Furthermore, no one receiving their magazine is as a result of a company asking PMQ to be sent to some of its employees.”

No one? I requested my subscription to PMQ many years ago, and call to request another if I don’t receive a copy. My employees have also requested subscriptions, and I know of numerous clients who contacted PMQ directly to request subscriptions.

I’m sure Lachapelle’s “expose” turned off many who, like I, read and like both publications. PMQ has a very loyal following among independents, as evidenced by their active web forum. Not only does his “report” undermine the credibility and character of Pizza Today, it gave PMQ the chance to take the high road, and to point out that they have virtually the same circulation as Pizza Today, yet their ads are about half the cost of PT’s.

So remember these lessons: Don’t badmouth competitors. If you do, have your facts straight. If you’re a publisher, use your copy editors (”…no one receiving their magazine is as a result of a company…” ?!)  And remember, it’s not always a smart strategy to come on like Goliath… especially in an industry of Davids.

See PMQ’s Pizza Expose website by clicking here.