Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 3011
, Published on 19 October 2012
If you ask a student who has just begun his pursuit for an MBA, what comes to his/her mind when confronted with the term 'Marketing’, the most probable answer would be great advertisements and fancy promotions. A year into one’s career, after being inundated with all the possible ‘gyaan’ and if asked the same question, the more obvious answer would be-Kotler, the 4Ps of marketing and SWOT analysis.
Yes, for all those to whom Marketing is a religion, Kotler is indeed God. But that’s about it Marketing goes beyond just theories, concepts and notions. It is a constantly evolving concept. Strategies that might have worked a few years ago, could yield zero results today. The core essence of being successful now lies in utilizing the basic theories of marketing and adapting oneself to the ever changing demands of the people and the market. It’s about taking those extra risks, being ambitious, having a creative edge, constantly innovating and most importantly connecting with the target audience. So, instead of focusing on writing something related to core marketing, I felt an emphasis on the importance of new ideas and groundbreaking strategies would help stand all of us aspiring marketing grads in good stead and drive the point home better.
The last two decades have seen drastic changes in the field of marketing. The advent of digital media has added an entire new perspective to innovation, creativity and brand building. Who would have ever dreamt of using an iPod, an iPad or the more common smartphone? Not many. But that exactly what marketing has to offer to the world. Change is the only constant in today’s markets. Gone are the days when something like a computer was considered the mother of all inventions. The present has no place for perpetual ‘brand heros’. You may be a market leader today, but a few years down the line you might be struggling for your very survival.
A case in point would be RIM and Nokia. They were market leaders a few years ago but now have a dwindling market share. At the other end of the spectrum you have a ‘rising from the ashes’ company in Apple. The main reason for their exponential growth was pure innovation. It started with a bang with the release of the iPod-a ‘only one’ of its kind product, but it didn’t stop at that. Then there was the iPhone and the iPad. What Apple did is what marketing in its true sense is all about. It’s not just catering to the growing demands of the people; it’s going a step further and forecasting future needs. Steve Jobs and his team were true visionaries and the results are there for everyone to see-Apple becomes the largest company in the world by market capitalization hitting the $600B mark in April this year.Marketing-It’s All About Using Your Mind.
Another aspect of effective marketing, something which only a few big players have been successful in doing is product customization and segmentation. A ready example that comes to mind is Tata Motors. Their products cater to all sections of the people and their specific requirements, ranging from trucks to luxury cars. Tata Motors, by the start of the 21st century had already created a niche market for itself. However, two exemplary product releases redefined Tata Motors.
In May 2005,they rolled out the Tata Ace, India’s first mini truck-a hybrid between the normal truck and a three wheeler carrier vehicle.This resulted in opening up a barrage of buying opportunities for the consumers. Most of them found themselves in a dilemma. Should they stick to their old three wheeler carrier or move onto something which looks similar, priced almost the same but has all the capabilities of a truck and packs a punch? The answers all these queries lies in the runaway success of the Tata Ace .As of May 2010 Tata Motors had sold over 500,000 Aces in just 5 Years.Then it was time for another genius product launch-the Tata Nano.
Developed and sold in India, the Tata Nano is the world’s cheapest car. The launch of the Nano has its own place in history books and also the hearts of several Indians. The car was meant to target that section of customers who always longed for a car but couldn’t afford one. Also, designing something so cheap and having all the basic features of a car required cumulative effort of using technology and human intellect to the maximum. Tata, however put the interest of the people above everything else and in spite of all the odds ,went ahead with its plan and made many an Indian’s dream of owning a car a reality. Marketing-It’s All About Using Your Mind!
In a country like India, where a majority of the population lives in villages with no basic amenities, the very thought of starting a business venture seems daunting, leave alone being successful at it. But as the saying goes, Nothing is Impossible. ITC and HUL lived upto this. ITC started a unique initiative called E-Choupal to empower farmers. By giving them access to crop prices and crop information, e-choupal succeeded in giving farmers a right over their ownership and eliminating the injustice caused by the middlemen. Now one must be wondering how an initiative like the e-choupal and a concept like marketing are related? The answer is brand building. For those who knew the brand ITC earlier, post e-choupal have just reaffirmed their faith in ITC and for the rest, e-choupal served as a medium to get to know more about ITC.
HUL’s ‘Shakti Amma’ initiative was also modeled with a humane touch similar to the e-choupal initiative. This cause employs women from various Self Help Groups and trains them to sell HUL products in their own villages. Thus by doing so HUL not only helped in women empowerment and job creation but also achieved its goal of penetration into rural areas where media and other modes of promotion cease to exist. Now if we introspect, whatever ITC and HUL did, wouldn’t be found in any of the marketing books nor could be taught in classrooms. It comes from within. That’s the very premise of marketing-It’s All About Using Your Mind.
Many more examples and stories still flood my mind, but at the end of the day they remain just stories. It’s what we learn from such stories that are more important. Marketing isn’t all about politics and being able to sell yourself. It’s about customer satisfaction, innovation and constantly seeking opportunities to grow keeping in mind the needs of all the stakeholders. I hope the success stories enumerated above ignites that zeal to think differently in all of us and makes us strive to become part of future success stories.
For people who still believe that life was much better when Apple and Blackberry were only fruits, have unfortunately missed being part of something truly spectacular!