After Chennai, it was Mumbai’s turn to play host to Philip Kotler. The marketing guru was in the metro to unveil the 12th edition of his book ‘Marketing Management’. Speaking at the launch, Kotler put forth his views on new age marketing and India’s position in the current marketing scenario.
Commenting on the new age marketing techniques, Kotler said, “Any company that stays in an old marketing atmosphere is missing an opportunity. Today, online marketing is used only to sell, but it could be used in various other ways – like using it to find more about your competitors or having an online customer panel that is a focus group, which could provide the initial feelings about an ad campaign they can see on the Net.”
Kotler further said, “But marketers aren’t using the Internet in the way it should be used. Though there are other technological tools like podcasting and blogs that marketers are using today, blogs are not quite a legitimate tool to use. You can influence a blogger to talk good about you, but after all he has a mind of his own. There is also the fear of being influenced by your competitors, therefore, you need to keep a close eye on the blogs to keep people from talking negative about you.”
Commenting on the current scenario in India, Kotler said, “I want to see Indian products going global. Japan has done that, I see no reason why India can’t do that. The ‘Made in India’ tag should be recognised for other products as it has been for IT. Japan has been able to make its products like automobiles, motorcycles, electronics, etc., global. India has potential for products like garments, fabrics, leather goods, etc. India has to process its own food and not send their grapes to other countries to be made into wine. Also, retailing is coming up in India in a big way and will have a profound effect providing consumers with lower prices and more assortments.”
Other things that Kotler spoke about included the changing rules of marketing. He said, “Rules of marketing have changed so much since my first book written back in 1967. Even if anybody comes to me with the book, I even refuse to sign it because it lacks so many aspects like positioning, segmentation, etc. Back then, marketing was all about mass marketing and heavy advertising. But it has moved towards identifying the segment you want to serve and about catering to a niche market.”
Re-emphasising the importance of the customer Kotler said, “The whole idea of sales was to be a transaction, but today marketers are more concerned about keeping a customer. It is five times costlier to attract a new customer than to maintain one. So now sales are moving from transaction to relationship. It is all about customer satisfaction and creating some thing which is called ‘customer life time value’. A customer is your biggest advertiser.”
Another important aspect of new age marketing that Kotler pointed out was that marketing had shifted from being product focussed to being service focussed. He said, “To keep your services from reaching a parity level, study your competitors and innovate.”
Kotler also spread some light on the concepts of product development and brand extensions and revivals to overcome brand fatigue.