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Breakthology

Breakthology is a venture of Tarunjit Singh Bachcher, a top organisation performance coach in India. Good to see the shiny new website of Breakthology.

Marketing 4.0 by Kotler et al. A great mind expander

For generations of MBA students who have grown up on the staple of the Marketing Management that so lovingly called just 'Kotler', the book, yet another one bearing Kotler's name, brings in a bagful of fresh air.

Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital

If management or business books can be classified as instructional, conceptual, feel good and general read, this book qualifies as all four. Add to that keen observation skills of the authors as well as intellectual intrigue present in the book, the combination of which makes it a must-read for anyone who wants to be informed of the evolutionary directions in marketing.

This book follows (not succeeds) “Marketing 3.0”, published by the same authors(Kotler, Kartajaya and Setiwan) in the year 2010. Perhaps the fact that Kotler is an academician and researcher par-excellence and Kartajaya and Setiwan happen to be practicing marketers, provides this book a unique perspective, one that is neither too academic in nature(and therefore lacking practical applications), nor lacking in conceptual constructs as books authored by practitioners typically tend to be.

If the Kotler school of thinking in marketing has defined Marketing 1.0 as Product-Centric, Marketing 2.0 as Customer Centric, the eponymous book Marketing 3.0 took it further by identifying it as Human-Centric Marketing. Marketing 4.0 is the first book by these authors after technology has successfully invaded the field of marketing and has massively impacted both the brands and the customers. It, therefore, reflects the new reality in which the digital and physical facets of marketing are now getting increasingly unified. That is why this book is a compelling read.

First, this book brings out a new perspective on the oft researched and published concept of buyer journey. The McKinsey loyalty loop, now widely followed, brought forth the concept of customer’s role in brand advocacy, and how it is an outcome of loyalty. Though this loop focused on the conceptual elements of how the traditional buyer journey is sought to be leveraged by marketers, it has it stops short of describing elements of measurability as the customer progresses from one stage to another. The authors have used a new lens to look at this journey and provided two new metrics that measure success. PAR, or Purchase Action Ratio, look at the ratio of customers who purchase that brand, to those are aware of the brand. BAR, the Brand Advocacy Ratio reflects the ratio of those who advocate the brand versus those who are customers of the brand. Ideally, brands would like to see a higher PAR or BAR ratio. It surprises one, therefore, that the BAR can be >1, which means some non-customers can be brand advocates too! This has deep implications for the marketers, who not just have to satisfy customers, but stay engaged with a large number of non-customers too, as they hold influence over other potential customers.

The second aspect is that the book uses the concept of 5As (Aware, Appeal, Ask, Act, and Advocacy) to define brand archetypes as well as identify imperatives for marketers, namely, increase attraction, optimize curiosity, increase commitment and increase affinity. This model can be very valuable for the marketers in defining objectives of marketing campaigns, as they attempt to take customers across stages of the buying journey.

On the negative side, If there is one element that is felt to starkly missing, it is the variable called time, which is almost taken to be ‘I have no time’ or ‘I want now’ by buyers, customers and consumers in this digital era. Instant information seeking behaviour, or ability to purchase at the tap of a phone, or the overnight negative word of mouth wave spreading through social media and channels such as Whatsapp perhaps merit an examination too, for they hold huge significance for marketers and brands.

Whether this book is the final word in marketing? The answer is easily a no. Whether the concepts in this book will be obsolete very soon? Again the answer is likely no, because each of the 4 stages of marketing can be concurrently seen in practice even today, and therefore, true to the always evolving nature of marketing, there is always a plausibility of something new in the future which will co-exist with these concepts.

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Do nothing, no one can shake me - 0% probability.
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