The following was used as part of an internet advertising company’s appeal to businesses: Furniture Depot employed our internet advertising company to help. Since then its sales increased by 10% over last year’s totals. Furniture Depot’s success demonstrates how using our internet services can increase your profitability.
Describe how well reasoned you find this argument. In the discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the argument’s conclusion. You may also address possible changes in the argument that would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
In the statement above, the author argues claims that using his or her internet advertising company’s services can improve profitability for any company. This claim is supported by evidence that one client, Furniture Depot, saw increased sales of 10% after using the author’s advertising services. There are many issues with both the claim the author makes and the evidence used to support it. These issues, which are outlined below, make the author’s argument weak and difficult to accept.
The first and most obvious point of weakness in the author’s argument arises from the evidence provided. The author claims that Furniture Depot experienced a 10% sales increase after employing his or her advertising services, but provides no evidence to establish a causal relationship between the two events. There are numerous other reasons Furniture Depot might have experienced increased sales, and if any of them are true, then the author’s argument is weakened. For example, Furniture Depot might have employed other advertising services or pursued other forms of advertising such as print or TV advertising, which might have contributed to the increase in sales. There could have been company-wide price increases on furniture, or even inflationary pressures on prices, that led to an increase in sales figures. Perhaps Furniture Depot invested heavily in increasing its sales force or
training them better, leading to improved sales. Furniture Depot might also have launched new product lines or entered new markets, thereby encountering new sales from these products. If any such factors exist that might have increased sales for Furniture Depot, then the author’s claim is significantly weakened because the implicit assumption that the 10% rise in sales is attributable to the use of his or her company’s advertising services is rendered invalid.
The second assumption that author makes is that results for companies would be similar regardless of differences in industry, geography or target market. There is no evidence provided that a shoe company or clothing retailer would experience similar sales increases, or that a company operating in a different part of the country than Furniture Depot can expect similar results. Therefore, even if it was proven that the 10% sales increase was directly attributable to the usage of the author’s advertising services, there is still some doubt regarding the effectiveness of the advertising for other types of businesses. If the author had provided some background on how his or her services works to attract customers, or perhaps some additional data for different companies across various industries, then the argument could be strengthened.
A third point of weakness in the author’s argument lies in the claim made that using his or her internet services can increase profitability. Not only has the author failed to establish a causal link between Furniture Depot’s sales increase and its usage of the author’s services, but he or she also failed to state the claim accurately. increased sales do not necessarily lead to increased profitability. If a company were to employ the author and the cost of using the author’s services exceeded the resulting increase in sales, then profitability would actually be lowered. Therefore, even if the author had successfully proven that using his or her services increased sales for Furniture Depot, and that other companies could expect similar results regardless of the business they were in, there is no evidence that profitability in the author’s clients actually increases. This point renders the claim absolutely invalid and makes the author’s argument very weak. Replacing the word ‘profitability’ with ‘sales’, and addressing the other weaknesses outlined above would go a long way to strengthen the author’s argument.
The author claims that Furniture Depot saw an increase in sales because of using his or her internet advertising services, and that any company can experience an increase in profitability by using his or her services. This argument is weak because a causal link between Furniture Depot’s sales increase and its usage of the author’s services is never properly established. In addition, there is no evidence provided that Furniture Depot’s success can be replicated by any company in any industry by using the author’s services.
Lastly, an increase in sales does not always equal an increase in profitability as the author appears to claim. These weaknesses render the author’s claim invalid, and need to be addressed in order to strengthen the author’s case.