2010, Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajya, Iwan Setiawan
From products to customers to the human spirit
The title of this book might seem a bit on the fluffy side.
The lead author, Philip Kotler, born in 1932 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Kotler was almost 80 by the time he wrote this. Or perhaps signed his name to it, with contributions from the other two, younger authors. Naturally his prestige brings more kudos to the book. So far so normal.
The thing I find interesting is that this is very much another book in a wider movement advocating a more holistic approach to marketing, finding customers, turning them into fans, supporters, and keen consumers of your product.
What I wondered was how much time a younger Kotler would have given to this sort of ‘holistic’ marketing. Naturally you might say marketers are the most likely sort of people to change their views and beliefs. It’s not about who you are, it’s about what your customer wants, and finding a way to profitably sell that to them.
Some of the concepts he talks about are fantastically encouraging, such as the emergence of social business enterprises (SBE), which aims to make money while benefiting the community where it works (Muhammed Yunus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Yunus).
Kotler also goes on to mention the examples of Du Pont and Wallmart who turned around their environmental records from some of the worst to some of the best as environmental innovators and promoters. These are positive examples, you just hope that it is the consequence of a fundamental and systemic change, rather than an attempt to get the green $ / € / £ around the world. Then again, even if senior management don’t completely buy into the concept of sustainability, simply by making organic and fair trade products available ensures sales rise massively.
Overall this book does move towards an increasing trend of books, articles, Tedx talks, all espousing the long term value of a more human facing method of selling to customers. As with Joshua Kaufman’s book Reputational Economics reputation-economics-book-review-2/
and others including Brian Solis’s Engage, and Seth Godin in many articles and books. http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/
You find more and more writers articulating why it is in businesses interests to cultivate more human relationships with their customers. In some ways this is back to how it used to be, where the local shopkeeper / outpost trader knew all their customers names, and perhaps even wider business too.
Which also of course increases your ability to cross sell, as well as perhaps know more about your customer than they would like. Which leaves us at a tricky cross roads, in Marketing 3.0 “when companies shift from consumer-centricity to human-centricity and where profitability is balanced with corporate resonsibility” (preface xii). This all sounds great, and where we’d like to be going, trouble is we, as humans, still seem to be doing a lot of negative things to the planet, and using resources in an unsustainable way.
The challenge will be to ensure that Marketing 3.0 is not just the latest phrase in cosmetic green washing. I’m hoping it’s not, I just don’t see every company out there buying into this more holistic, sustainable way of doing business. Maybe they are the ones that won’t thrive, and others that do follow these principles will succeed. Here’s hoping.