Friday, June 15, 2007

Marketing is not an ART

"Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value."

Philip Kotler

I am a big fan of Kotler. His marketing insights are really great. With respect to other areas like Finance and Management, there may be few people in Marketing who actually turn the performance of a company. And who turn the future of the company generally does in a big way and he succeeds in all ventures he start. This has made us accept Marketing as an art. But I feel very hard to agree with him in considering Marketing as art. I consider Marketing as Science and it can learned, controlled, improved with time and automated.

Let me start the discussion with the very basic definition of Marketing.

Marketing is a science of increasing the short and medium term revenue of a company without distorting the long term prospects.

Many people take Marketing as long term work while sales as short term. But I consider Marketing as the superset of sales and brand management. For investment in various field including the marketing activities, short term sales have to be stable and growing. And Marketing geeks can not afford to ignore the day to day sales activity for the long term. The long term simply may not come. But, it has to be taken care that in maximizing the sales, the goodwill of the company should not be adversely affected.

Now let us talk about how to increase sales in short and medium term. There are many different ways:
1. Good Advertising
2. Celebrity Endorsement
3. Attractive Packaging of the product
4. Marketing Campaigns (with free product offers, cash discounts etc)
5. Entry into New Market
6. Distribution of free trial product
7. Studying competitors and taking counter moves
8. Price Reduction
9. Cross sell options
10. Better Service
......... etc.
These are the few things I can think of now.

Now let us analyze where the artist apply his art. Ahhh I don't see anywhere. May be in presenting the strategy document to the mass a good presenter can do better. Except that, it is just hit and trial in prediction and/or actual implementation till success. The process may be quite costly for some while lucky few get a good marketing mix to succeed. Later are just more intelligent and lucky folks.

How about machine doing all this!!!! OR quite a few of analysis suggesting the best move to take.

Then the only challenge left to the Marketing Manager is to be precise on what he wants to achieve in certain period of time. He can now spend his time with the top level management in formulating long term goals for the company giving the marketing insights. He can suggest to produce better marketable products and tap the untapped potential. This will fulfill the void of marketing knowledge in the top brass. That will probably lessen the product and/or company failures. The products and the company may then turn quite market friendly giving easy days for marketers too.

Let me give some illustrations for manageable scientific marketing. I would call this Predictive Marketing. I consider two cases here.

First case: While using certain strategy for the first time or launching a product.
At this point of time, there is no historical data with the company. Some gut feeling and bit of art is necessary here, but an intelligent marketer can use a survey or others data to analyze and find the best possible move. Pre-Market Offer Testing is one of the best way to test the product in the market before launch to avoid any sudden hit backs. This will give a good prediction of how the product is going to perform once it enters the market. Some people even use it to design the product so as to make it market friendly.

Second case: Company has the data.
With few months to years of experience in a particular field, people with good business insights and mental capability remember the good/bad moves. They make good decisions going forward, but it may not necessary be optimal one. Data analysis can give the result associated with each earlier moves. And the decision management tools can suggest the best possible move that can be taken at any point of time.

Consider a scenario where the effect of price, promotion, target customer and advertisement channel on the target attributes like Revenue, Income, Sales Volume, number and type of customers are all with you. Then, there is hardly any requirement of art to market the product. And all this is possible through Marketing Analytics.

analyzes and models associated with some of the marketing works can be:
1. Good Advertising - Sensitivity Analysis, customer segmentation, channel management, Response Modeling
2. Celebrity Endorsement - customer segmentation
3. Attractive Packaging of the product - Sensitivity Analysis, Customer Segmentation
4. Marketing Campaigns (with free product offers, cash discounts etc) - Campaign Management Analysis, Customer Segmentation, Loyalty Metrics Analysis, Attrition Modeling
5. Entry into New Market - Market segmentation
6. Distribution of free trial product - Customer Segmentation
7. Studying competitors and taking counter moves - Trend Analysis
8. Price Reduction - Price sensitivity analysis, Customer Segmentation
9. Cross sell options - Market Basket Analysis, Behavioral Modeling
10. Better Service - Sensitivity Analysis, Efficiency Analysis

With all these reports, Marketing geeks can expect results pretty close to the predicted figures. Thus, it makes Marketing pretty interesting and actionable science. Good bye to the Kotler's ART of Marketing.

Successful Marketing = Historical Information Synthesis + Predictive Modeling + Intelligence in Application


siddharth said...

hi buddy nice article bt...u hav only covered the quantitative aspects of marketing...wht abt the qualitative or subjective decisions it involves...

take in nt an art...take it nt an art...take branding is it nt an art...

there r numerous aspects which hav a lot of subjective thinking involved in it....

ur article is nice bt does nt cover marketing exhaustively....try and look at the bigger picture......hav a broad vision

u hav used a big word by saying kotler is wrong.......

bt nw see this word attracted wasnt that an art..of using a word against kotler and getting attention...

Le_Plan said...

Hi Siddarth,
Good point, but I find very hard to agree with you.

I would rather replace the term "art" by "skill". Knowlegde and skill can be gained by experience. People who succeed in any field, are those who take that subject seriously and work hard to get the perfection.

Between, the use of word "Kotler" was not an art but the result of my analsis. People tend to follow the mass, and marketing mass is with Kotler.

Thanks by stoping at my blog and commenting.

Gaurav Singhal said...

darling u wasted ur time to post too much long blog but do not hav so much time to read it full.

science is art and art is science. kotler is showing you the moon and u are seeing his finger.

go deep & see da miracles of ocean.

hav a gr8 day

Le_Plan said...

Thanks for your comment (even if it is posted without reading the post).

In the post, I have tried to make more focus on some actionable analytics in Marketing that will change the way people do marketing in coming days. It would have been better had you gone through the post and commented in the main work, rather you went forward just commenting citing an out of the picture example of hand and the moon.

I am a fan of Kotler, but I dont agree with all his principles. He seems to be more lean towards customer focussed approach where as I believe in customer centricity. The two seems similar from far but from actionable analytics and marketing strategy design side, they are very much different.

Hope this makes some sense to you. And thanks for your suggestion too, I will certainly try to dig more about marketing and Kotler's thoughts.


Gaurav Singhal said...


now read it.

"Marketing is not the science of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the science of creating genuine customer value."

Philip Kotler

Gaurav Singhal said...

"Marketing is not the science of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the science of creating genuine customer value."

Philip Kotler


Le_Plan said...

Thanks for the comment.

I fully agree with Kotler to acknowledge Marketing as a science of creating geguine customer value.


rohit said...

No worries what people says.But your article is truly good.i am in complete agreement with your views about Kotler.Marketing is a science,a good marketer can predict the sales,he can predict the countermoves of competitors he can analyse the when to replace the old product with a new one in same product line......if there is a techniq which is based on data interpretation how can it be an art.......

Le_Plan said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and giving your views.


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