Trends & Lessons of Marketing in 21st Century


Dr. Manoj Kumar Trivedi
Assistant Professor
MBA Department
Maharana Pratap Engineering College

People say marketing is as old as the Mankind. Marketing came into existence when the first barter took place. Barter later on evolved into the art of selling. According to some, Marketing first came into existence in 17th century in Japan. Peter Ducker believes that marketing was invented in 1935 in Japan by the Mitsai family who settled in Tokyo as merchant and opened the first departmental store offering a large assortment of products to their customers. They had only a vague idea of quality, product category or process of marketing.

Lot of water has flown down the Ganges since then and marketing has evolved as a major discipline over the years. It all started with the production concept, evolved as the selling concept, graduated into the marketing concept and post graduated into the social marketing concept. Each phase of evolution brought along with it various marketing concepts and strategies befitting the dynamic needs environment and market situations prevailing. The organization, which adapted to changes, survived strategies over the years and which failed to do so succumb to the competition. The marketers have evolved various strategies over the years essential for the survival and success of their organization.

The post liberalization world has become place where there is a cut throat competition between the organizations and only the fittest is going to survive. This makes marketing more special & the Marketers have the tough task ahead, they will have to workout strategies for marketing the offerings of their company to much aware, more knowledgeable customer having so many alternative offers from the competitors, thus marketing strategy has today become the lifeline of any & perhaps every business, it is the ultimate battlefield for any company to prove their endurance in market. Eventually the companies with-planned & strategically designed marketing strategies emerge as winners.

The following are the major trends, shifts & challenges that the marketer and business people will need to take into consideration for formulating the Marketing strategy.

Operational Symbiosis of Marketing with other Functions:

At the operational level after a series of clashes with production and other functions, marketing is gradually getting integrated with other Major function that are responsible of creating value for the customers. In the current situation, R&D, Design, and production should work in collaboration with marketing to assess. Customer needs and deliver products/services to satisfy the same. This simply means that marketers will have to have a good understanding of the functioning of other departments as well.

Be Different/be what you are:

The future will belong to those who manage uniqueness in their projects by being different. There is no point in trying to imitate others, in the past; avenues were limited for advancement in life. In the age of the individual, it is enough to be what you are and bring out the best in you. In the same way, companies that are different and innovative will be successful.

Discount Effect:

Promotions, discounts are now known as the basic workhorse of marketing programme. Price promotions can increase sales in only three ways: Growing the category, switching & purchase acceleration. Price promotion can indeed benefit total category sales through brining down prices & added visibility through displays & other marketing activities. Consumers today seem to have a plethora of options to buy into, amongst products and services of every kind. Choices so unlimited, that brand need to shout high above the decibel levels of parity product advertising. Parity distribution and 'Just-There' display and Merchandising. Price seems a key "P" to use. Using it innovatively makes it that much more of a creative exercise to lure in the customers. The available price to discount is the same in the hands of every competitor in the organized segment. How you get a better "bang for the buck" is the important issue to consider. How you spend that money to create that much, more excitement in the heart of the consumer to loosen his purse at your outlet instead of in the den of your competitor. Discount & offers plays a major role to attracting customer throughout the year especially on festivals. The offers that worked well were the offers that had the consumer drooling and itching to run out and make that necessary and unnecessary purchase on festivals and occasions.

Profit from Complaints:

No one likes to hear complaints, but in this era of cut-throat competition effective handing of complaints can be the life blood of any business. Complaints can be the educators of your business. Most dissatisfied customers do not complain. Complaints are not made because people think it is not worth the time & effort. They do not know how or where to complain or they believe the company would be indifferent to them so a company needs to welcome complaints as a second chance to keep a customer. Keeping this in mind most of companies are now searching for effective customer satisfaction performance program where they area take opinion of customers, finding out what were the causes of the dissatisfaction, if any and what it would take to put things right. 

Plethora of Ps:

As the four Ps (Price, Place, Product, Promotion) was found inadequate to meet the new developments in the market place, a plethora of new Ps was added to the marketing strategy literature. Boomes and Bitner added the following "3Ps" to the traditional "4Ps" of marketing to make them relevant specially for making of services. There 3 Ps are

    * Participants or People
    * Physical Evidence
    * Process

This fifth "P" People is also relevant to industrial products. Philip Kotler added the following "2Ps" for entry into restricted markets.

In present scenario, multinational companies had to manage public opinion and local politics to enter restricted market like China, Russia, India etc.

According to the opinion of some marketing strategist in this present era of globalization some other 'P's are also relevant, these are.

    * Position
    * Profit
    * Plan
    * Performance
    * Pace & Passions
    * Patience

Customer Satisfaction to Customer Value Management:

The word value too often means cheap. It should mean satisfaction .Value should always measure in terms of total benefits & total cost. Value for money is cheap but added value is expensive. The meaning of term Value Marketing is more than the price cutting, low margins, giving extra quantity & low budgets. Increased international competition makes the market wider but tougher & marketers are continuously trying for enhancing the customer value. Customer satisfaction typically used to be monitored by the marketers and they used to take the credit when it wept up and had to accept the blame when it went down. But the fact is that consumers will choose that company which offers better value for their money. Providing better value to customers is the job of the whole organization. This is a function of strategic importance, which cannot be left in the hands of a few marketing people. This has been managed by a team of cross-functional experts and monitored the top management.

The Rise of Sports Marketing:

With television broadcasting and savvy sports agents as allies, sport has become an important vehicle for marketers to hawk their products. The sports marketing industry that includes broadcasting, endorsement, sponsorship, merchandising and ideas is growing in stature and relevance. Sport marketing is a sub-section of advertising, assimilating the use or association of sports with brands to promote the brand. It includes creatively using sports to promote recall, use or brand attributes, as per Pitch Group M estimate, the annual size of sports marketing business in the country is Rs. 900 crore. Sportspersons display attributes that people & brand would love to stand for. Determination, humor, style and flamboyance and attributed that marketers covet in order to establish a connect with consumers.

A Shift Towards One-On-One Marketing:

While the earlier paradigm aimed at meeting the needs of segments of consumers, the new paradigm treats every customer as unique. The development of technology has made it possible to address the needs of individual customers, the day may not be very far off when a customer wanting to buy a toilet soap may have to put his/her hand into a scanner which will sense the skin complexion and pop out a pouch of liquid soap that is ideally formulated to suit his/her skin.

Virtual Marketing:

Everything can be sold on the Net. With visionaries we will soon find villages connected to computer networks. No marketer can afford to ignore this medium. Most of the people who surf the net for fun are not computer literate.

Standard of Living to Quality of Living:

There was a time when people felt it very important to acquire a car, TV, fridge, mobile and a washing machine for the house. A number of people may be planning to add an air-conditioner and a PC to their house-hold items. All these add to the physical comforts. But after getting all these people look for improvements in the quality of their living. Spiritual pursuit, environmental protection and universal brotherhood are things that really interest that really interest people who have attained a standard of living.

Innovation is central to Marketing:

Innovation is more than creativity; it is the commercial realization of creativity. Consumers like what they have but also crave change. The word "New, Improved, Better" can influence the customer preference. Innovation is the life blood of Marketing. Creative ideas are valuable but the greater part is harnessing them to profitable productive change.

Emphasis on Personal Selling:

Now personal selling is an organic part of the business fuelling not only customer relationships but stimulating the marketing functions with feedback from the market. Network marketing firms such as Amway, Tupperware etc. are using organized personal selling efforts in very innovative manner.

Retailing: The new marketing Mantra:

Call it by any name; it's the last point of return for any marketer. The modern trade calls it the last & the most vital leg of the value chain. You guessed it right; I am talking about retailing as an arm of marketing, which is the final point of fruition for all marketing activities. The strength and potential of the sector is evident from its sheer size, which is pegged at a whopping      Rs. 9.0 lakh crore. The modern trade has now six types of retail formats like supermarkets, department stores, discount stores, and convenience store, hypermarket & health / pharma chains.

Get closer to the customers:

Getting close to the consumers is no longer a management jargon but a reality and a survival strategy in the times of tough competition. All the touch points with customer i.e. pre purchase, during the purchase and post purchase need to be carefully handled to satisfy customer expectations.

Emancipation of Women:

Women are now gaining their rightful place in society. This is going to lead to greater demand for products like beauty-aids, heat-and-eat stuff, healthcare and fitness for women, which could be exploited by marketers in the new millennium. Now women are more net-savvy than men.

E Business Center:

Education is one big business that cannot be ignored by marketers; it is not just the primary education, but the life-long education that has become necessary for survival in the modern ever-changing world. It is getting delivered more and more through the net which allows the learner to plan his course at his pace and have a one-to-one interaction with instructors through e-mail. Eventually education will become guru centric from the current institute-centric mode.

Soul selling:

Even with all the material comforts, people have a sense of loneliness and certain hollowness inside; this is where soul selling comes to play. There are powerful preachers who come on the Radio, TV and Internet and appeal to your soul, of course in return for a donation. Religion as big business and is expected to grow further in future. If you can't be a preacher, sponsor a preacher to sell your products.

Rural Migration:

With comforts, communication and connectivity made available in the rural areas why would anyone want to live in the congested, unhygienic and polluted big cities. Companies selling farmhouses and plantations exploit this desire for the green rural environment, with connectivity established through satellites; rural area will become attractive locales for ever setting up of business organizations.

Eminent management thinker Peter Druker has once said, "Business is the creation of its customers" but in the present business scenario creating customers in not the end point, but more & more companies are striving for retaining them & convert them as their advocates, marketing strategies play an important role in this regard.

My interest is the future, because I am going to spend the rest of my life there
                                                                                                                                              Charies F. Kettering

* (Present article is based upon the opinion of academicians, review of business magazines & newspapers as well as the summary of business books)

Dr. Manoj Kumar Trivedi
Assistant Professor
MBA Department
Maharana Pratap Engineering College

Source: E-mail April 8, 2006


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