Kellogg World Alumni Magazine, Spring 2002Kellogg School of Management
In DepthIn BriefFaculty NewsClass NotesClub NewsArchivesContactKellogg Homepage
From the Dean
Development Update
Research: Ronald Dye, Accounting
Research: Angela Lee, Marketing
Alumni Profile: Molly Battin '98
Alumni Profile: Bradley "Buzz" Calkins '00
Address Update
Alumni Home
Submit News
Internal Site
Northwestern University
Kellogg Search

Kellogg marketing gurus offer new insights to profit and corporate renewal

By Mary E. Morrison

  Marketing Moves
Profound changes are afoot in the business world, and the companies fittest for survival are those that are redefining marketing as a driving force at the core of their organizations.

That assertion lays the foundation for the new marketing concept defined by Philip Kotler, Dipak C. Jain and Suvit Maesincee in their text Marketing Moves: A New Approach to Profits, Growth and Renewal, published in March.

“This is an economy which is not marked by a shortage of goods, but a surfeit of goods. It’s marked by a shortage of customers,” explains Kotler, the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing. “So companies are intensely competing for the limited number of customers, and that makes the marketing process much more important in the hierarchy of company functions.”

The book explains how technology, globalization, deregulation and privatization have necessitated a shift in corporate strategy. It maintains that the marketing paradigm has evolved through three stages: from a selling concept that drives profits through sales volume, to a marketing concept that drives profits through customer satisfaction, to a holistic marketing concept that creates profitable growth through capturing customer loyalty and lifetime value. It is this idea of a holistic marketing concept that creates the framework for Marketing Moves.

At the heart of the concept is the argument that to survive, companies must focus on creating value for their customers, developing their core competencies and establishing collaborative networks.

“The concept of holistic marketing says that other functions in the company can become more efficient if you take the entire perspective, as opposed to missing the forest for the trees,” says Kellogg School Dean Dipak Jain.

To gain a competitive edge, the book’s authors argue, strategic marketing must identify market opportunities, design market offerings and create the business architecture to support them — not just oversee traditional marketing activities such as advertising and direct mail.

“We really need to sit back and think about what the role of marketing is, and how companies need to look at marketing not just as a marketing function, but how it is important for the other functions also,” Jain explains.

The concept is not revolutionary, but as many as 90 percent of today’s companies are not integrated at all, seeing marketing as an after-thought rather than as a critical strategic initiative, Kotler says. As examples throughout the book, the authors cite companies that have begun to move toward a holistic marketing concept. For instance, in a section about redefining a company’s business concept, the authors maintain that marketers must present a “big idea” rather than a product category. Disney is in the “making people happy business;” IKEA isn’t about furniture but creating “a better everyday life for the many;” and what Sony really offers consumers is “miniature perfection.”

The book is highly readable, presenting information in a clearly outlined and compelling way, with numerous tables and sections of bullet points. Yet the most valuable parts of the book may come at the end of each section, where the authors pose “questions to ponder” to help readers apply what they’ve learned in the previous chapter to their own business situations. Some typical queries ask: Does your company have a satisfactory system for estimating customer lifetime value? What are the obstacles? With which distributors and suppliers should your company build electronic information and transaction links?

Kotler says the action-oriented book’s best use might be in after-hours meetings, when managers can take a chapter at a time and try to answer these questions. Senior management often focuses only on financial reports, which are inadequate on their own, he explains. By considering the questions in the text, these managers could create what Kotler calls a marketing scorecard.

The book is a step, Jain says. “It’s not telling you what the answers are. It basically provides a framework, a structured approach to think about these issues.”

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University