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Businessweek Archives

Two Tier Marketing: There's More To The Story

Readers Report


Very interesting, your article on "Two-Tier Marketing" (Cover Story, Mar. 17). Now, what we need is an explanation of why the U.S. is becoming a two-tier society, where a small percentage of people own most of the wealth and a larger group of people are becoming poorer.

Corporate America might want to consider its role in all of this and begin to assume greater social responsibility. How about making major investments in local communities with some of those huge, unprecedented profits? How about extending profit-sharing to employees who are not executives or managers? Creative two-tier marketing and advertising campaigns are not answers but symptoms of a problem. Preserving America's precariously balanced experiment in democracy and capitalism is possible only if those with wealth and power recognize their obligations to society beyond reverence for the Almighty Buck.

Yvette N. Tazeau

San Jose, Calif.

Your story on two-tier marketing is excellent. It emphasizes the need for companies to target their markets more selectively--specifically their product and service offerings. Each market segment has its own needs and requirements, and a company's marketing efforts must vary according to those customer needs. That includes price structures for the various products and services.

I would like to have seen more references in the story to how small-business owners and entrepreneurs can apply these concepts. Not everyone can identify with a Bloomingdale's or with commercials on Roseanne or Seinfeld. Yet the concepts are just as valid, or even more valid, for small-business owners. They, more than anyone else, must be able to segment and target their markets very specifically in order to stay in business.

Richard F. Gerson

Clearwater, Fla.Return to top


At the time of the fire in which Sumner Redstone was injured ("Sumner's Last Stand," Cover Story, Mar. 3), I was chief of Massachusetts General Hospital's Burn Center. As someone with considerable knowledge of the incident and the subsequent serious injuries to Mr. Redstone, I am troubled by your version of the particulars of the "tale" surrounding the fire.

The distribution and depth of his burns--solid facts--are not consistent with your published comments. Having already sustained severe burns to his legs, he managed to get to a window, open it, and climb out--supported only by a ledge. The reason his right arm was burned from fingertips to shoulder and his left arm was unhurt was because he clung to the window sill, with his right arm remaining in the fire, until help arrived.

During a four-month period under care, he underwent five operations lasting up to 7 3/4 hours. The treatments, which are extremely painful, included skeletal fixation of damaged finger joints as well as dressing changes, skin harvesting, and skin grafting.

Mr. Redstone's experience on that ledge, in the hospital, and in his generous support of Massachusetts General Hospital's Burn Center, is--in my opinion and the opinion of others--most extraordinary and a tribute to the irrepressibility of the human spirit.

John F. Burke, M.D.

Harvard Medical School

Massachusetts General Hospital

BostonReturn to top


Paul Craig Roberts ("Why big government should stop picking on big oil," Economic Viewpoint, Mar. 10) is correct to project a sharp increase in energy demand in the 21st century. A large share of this increase will be in the rapidly growing economies of the developing world.

However, his suggestion that new oil reserves are needed to prevent widespread reductions in living standards ignores the environmental implications of fossil-fuel use. Any significant rise in the use of fossil fuels will increase the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. The potential consequences--erratic weather patterns, crop failures, and rising sea levels, to mention a few--would have serious economic and social consequences in the 21st century.

Recent advances in renewable-energy technologies and improvements in end-use efficiency offer alternatives to expanded use of today's inefficient technologies. We need to ensure that investments made today, especially in developing countries, are in energy systems that are sustainable throughout the next century and beyond.

Anders Wijkman

Assistant Administrator

U.N. Development Program

New YorkReturn to top

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