Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 1302
, Published on 20 November 2012
Post-graduation in Business Administration has transited from a special professional course to a fad fascinating thousands of individuals to take up the course. So what does it offer? Generally, a future in Finance, Marketing, Operations or HR. More than 80% of the students joining these courses come from an engineering background of which more than 60% are fresh graduates out of college. Operations and HR are the fields mostly associated with the experienced “soldiers”. And if you are not inclined towards Accounting and Commerce-related subjects (you cannot blame the science-loving engineers for this) Finance is also ruled out.
So freshers, like me, are left with only one specialization and that is Marketing- considered easiest in comparison to others (as you can ‘globe’ around), yet so few people who actually succeed in understanding the basics itself. So where does one start from? The modus operandi, I feel, should be through observing everything around us because marketing is completely real-life and dynamic, a field which cannot have one set pattern of methodology to achieve success.
This pops up another question. Whom do we observe? Though many marketers have brilliantly marketed their products and services, none of them provide us as explicit an understanding of the different forms of marketing as does the champion amongst them- the premier B-schools in India i.e. IIMs, ISB, FMS etc. A close observation of these reveals they have aced all the departments of marketing to their target consumers- “the top-grade bright minds of tomorrow”. Let us begin with the aura these b-schools have created around their brand.
Apple, Coke, Google etc are names with which consumers have a very strong if not life-long connect. Similarly the brands IIM, XLRI, FMS etc are powerful enough to drive the cream of the society towards them. These brands have been built by persistent efforts over periods of decades by attracting the best of the faculties, establishing close relationships with the best of the recruiting companies and continuously producing competent managers. These institutes promise impartment of world-class learning to the customers along with lucrative job offers at the end of the course. However it does not stop there only. The various guest lectures by imminent personalities, the intensely engaging management fests and are also aimed at improving their visibility.
You do not always have to pester your prospective customers with the frequent irritating TV commercials, online advertisements or useless SMSes. At times these tactics also cause repulsion amongst the consumers. Hence the elite b-schools practice inbound marketing i.e. they entice the customers to gather more data about them rather than thrusting information on the customers. Adoption of this policy also brings in a steep reduction in the costs for advertisement and marketing the brand.
Majority of the CEOs and successful managers in India are products of one of the premier B-schools. They relate to their institutes even years after passing out and acknowledge the importance of the valuable inputs from these schools in shaping their career. Thus the actual experience of the strong alumni base contributes in leveraging the brand image and awareness of these institutes.
More importantly these institutes have a challenging structured process (eg. CAT followed by Group Discussions and Interviews) in place for the customers to achieve the brand. This makes the entire journey and experience of accomplishing the mission all the more fulfilling for the customers. This in turn escalates their perceived value of the institute.
The leading b-schools indulge in gathering and processing of customer data like academic track records, work experience etc to narrow down the list of potential consumers amongst the top-performers in the exams.
If u appease one customer be rest assured he/she will get you one/two more at least. Every student eager to join a b-school would double check to ensure he chooses the right institute. This is where the individuals already pursuing the course or those having completed the course play a major role in shaping the aspiring candidate’s opinions. It often happens that the collective opinion of your closest friend, guide, parents and other influential persons in your life overrides all other logical criteria in moulding a strong image about the particular institute.
How many times have we heard people talking about the “amazing” campuses of the b-schools? The exquisite stills of the campuses, infrastructure, activities, available facilities etc on their respective sites never fail to entice the visitors, who immediately develop a very hunky-dory imaginative picture of the institute. In fact these are the central topics of discussion amongst people eager to join these institutes. Even the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc, blogs and websites like Pagalguy act as collaborators helping them propagate the buzz about them. Thus these b-schools manage to keep their target customers hooked up to their product.
Search Engine Marketing basically refers to the visibility of the company/brand on search engines. Try typing names of cities like Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Indore, Kozhikode etc in Google and you will find the answer amongst the top 3 search results.
Print Media Marketing:
Any hike in fees, any mishap in these schools, any initiative taken by them is regularly highlighted in the top news section of the day. Every now and then reputed magazines and newsletters come up with the list of top-20 b-schools in India, thus keeping these schools in the consideration set of the customers and increasing their brand recall.
All these b-schools encourage their own participants to write articles, come out with bulletins and weekly/monthly magazines. This helps in improving the credibility and perception of the institute’s “brand”.
All the top-notch b-schools follow the golden principle -whatever happens within the campus should be kept “confidential”. Thus the ones outside are always curious to know what is happening inside the campus and how happening life is, at a premier b-school? This mere curiosity adds wings to every step they take towards unravelling this sought-after secret. Moreover most of the premier B-schools in the Indian cities are located remotely away from the city almost alienating the participants from the outside world, adding to the ‘suspense’ quotient of the institute.
These institutes also share close relationships with other international b-schools outside India, which are facilitated through the student exchange programs embraced by these institutes. Thus majority of these Indian b-schools have stamped their presence on the global map too. This can help them in future diversification like setting up off-shore campuses to attract a totally new pool of customers.
Thus in a nutshell these b-schools have covered all the different forms of marketing and it can be safely concluded that they not only teach marketing but also practice it religiously.
As Kris Ravichandran, Advisor to the Chairman- Aditya Birla Group, puts it, “History has shown us that most of the best marketing brands have been successful because of sticking to one target group.” The premier B-schools in India have done just that by constantly alluring the cream of the society to join them- and they have been outright successful!!!
This article has been authored Krit Doshi from IIM Indore.
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