Marketing-From a Non-MBA’s Perspective.

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 2829 , Published on 07 February 2012

Marketing may have been amongst the oldest profession in mankind. Unfortunately most people fall prey to the misconception that Marketing is only for the MBA graduates. This is a seriously wrong notion many people in and outside the industry have. But a more careful insight can help us find out that Marketing has always been happening around us, and we have been deeply involved in marketing at various junctures either directly or indirectly, either consciously or sub consciously.

Marketing- From a NON-MBA’s perspective.

No matter which profession you are in, you need to have a good marketing mind to sustain in that profession. May it be a marketing executive for an MNC, a doctor, a medical representative, a charted accountant, or for that matter any other profession, they all need marketing to ensure that their earnings flourish. When I put the above statement forth, many people find it a little had to believe that people with such varied professions need Marketing. Take the case of a Doctor. A statistic available from ‘The medical Council of India’ states that 40,335 medical seats are available in India per year. Considering that at least 80% of them successfully complete their medical course, we have approximately 32,200 doctors passing out in India every year. So you can imagine the number of doctors we have available in India as of now! Arguably each doctor is just as good as the others in his profession, with probably a similar amount of experience. With a finite number of patients available, how does one doctor prove to his customers, his patients that they should consult him in case of need rather than any other doctor in the vicinity? You will observe that marketing does have a role here.  Doctors nowadays advertise, take utmost precaution of the atmosphere in their clinics, are involved in tie-ups with medical companies, etc. All these are marketing gimmicks to ensure their sustenance in the medical industry, else they will be lost in the pool of lakhs and lakhs of doctors who are actually considering different career options now.

There have been many instances wherein people with least or almost no marketing knowledge have been able to succeed in their business. Does one really need to have and MBA to know and apply the marketing concepts? This article substantiates the perspective of Non-MBAs and how they knowingly or unknowingly use marketing concept.

Something as minor as giving an interview also involved marketing indirectly. Basically the purpose of giving an interview is to prove your worth to the interviewer. You need to convince the interviewer that you are the right candidate the interviewer needs. Or in other words you need to market yourself in the eyes of the interviewer. In most cases all the candidates attending the interview are equally qualified and equally efficient at their work. What distinguishes one from another is how well an individual is able to market himself. Generally the person who is able to do the best self-marketing gets through the interview.

So now that it has been established that marketing takes place in all professions, the next question arises, do I really need a formal management education or more popularly known as MBA in today’s world, to succeed and become a good marketer? If you just look around you, and analyze carefully, then you will be surprised to observe how many marketing concepts actually are applied by people you least expect, or the people who are completely oblivious to the fact that a thing like marketing even exists. There is a Chaat vendor who sells all kinds of chaats near a beach in my vicinity. He was amongst the first vendors to start operations there, and his business flourished very well. Unfortunately as years passed, more and more new vendors started their operations around his shop, thereby seriously affecting his sales and profits.

What he did next to save his business was highly unexpected out of a rather less literate individual. He observed that all his competitors selling who had opened chaat shops around his shop, sold only chaats. He took the bold step of introducing Pav bhaji, ice creams and cold drinks apart from his regular chaats. And instantly his sales grew tenfold. His step was well thought out, and came after a lot of observation. He knew that if a family visited a beach, not all the family members were lovers of chaats, and some of them preferred to have other kinds of dishes which were not available anywhere in the vicinity of the beach. If we ponder over the step the chaat vendor took in this case, then it is a classic example of BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY! It was well thought out and applied by an individual who did not even go to college.

Another example of how Non MBAs use marketing concepts can be from an entrepreneur I knew. He was barely 18 when he decided that he would drop out of college and start his own business of selling Electronic items. Unfortunately at his tender age, he had a plethora of decisions to make. To assimilate all the decisions he had to make into one, “Which PLACE should I start my business operations, such that most PEOPLE find my shop accessible and they buy my PRODUCT at the PRICE I intend to sell it for”. When he posed this question, as a part of his thought process, I was spellbound. A young man, in a completely oblivious manner was actually evaluating the 4Ps of marketing. His business not only did well, but he went ahead and started a chain of electronic sale shops all over the state.

I often visit a barber shop in my locality. As time evolved and the era of hair stylists emerged, the barber decided that he had to change his methodology of operations to survive. He reworked his entire shop, introduced hair wash, body massage, and various other offerings. However his sales did not increase as anticipated. When he further investigated a reason, he found out that there existed a organized player who offered all these facilities at almost double the cost, and was perceived to be a specialist in these operations. I opened the newspaper one day and found a printed booklet along with the newspaper. The booklet consisted of various offerings at the barber shops along with various package options and attractive discounts. This actually helped people realize that the barber made the same modernized offerings as the organized player did at a far cheaper rate. He also extensively exploited the Indian consumer’s mentality to run behind discounts. This step increased the barber’s revenue to a very great extent. And I can see that as he owns a sedan now, as opposed to the rusted old cycle he owned before this transformation. It really makes me wonder, how was this barber able to use, CUSTOMER VALUE PROPOSITION CONCEPTS so well without any knowledge in marketing?

All the examples cited above just make me realize now that marketing exists everywhere. An MBA or a formal marketing education is not necessary to do well in your business or career. You just need to have an eye to detect what your customer wants and how you can deliver it your customer in the most profitable manner. Marketing is no longer an aid to succeed, it has now become a necessity to exist in this competitive era.

This article has been written by Sanil Pai from Goa Institute of Management.

Image: tungphoto /


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