India needs a minister for marketing: Philip Kotler

In response to a remark on why India does not have many global brands despite being a large market, marketing guru Philip Kotler said India needs a minister for marketing to make its presence felt globally.

Marketing guru Philip Kotler Marketing guru Philip Kotler
N Madhavan
Marketing guru Philip Kotler feels India needs a minister for marketing if it has to make its presence felt globally.

Ireland, he recalled, attempted this before and had a minister to market its tourism potential, exports and inward investment. It worked well for them, he added.

Kotler was speaking at a lecture organised by Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai on Tuesday. He was responding to a remark on why India does not have many global brands despite being a large market.

Addressing a group of corporate executives, he explained that the hidden purpose of marketing is to get people to spend. This results in demand for products, which then creates jobs.

He went on to add that the entire middle class has been created by marketing. "You can't get away from marketing."

Still, according to Kotler, marketing has served only two billion of the seven billion people on the planet. "We live in an oversupplied world and what is in short supply is the customers," said Kotler.

He called upon companies to watch multiple trends while drawing up their marketing strategies. The trends include globalisation, glocalisation and de-globalisation, the Chindia (China & India) market, the growing middle class, the growing power of consumers, the green movement, changing production and distribution of energy, social media, corporate social responsibility and changing demographics.

Kotler also said that marketers must remember that the focus of marketing has changed over time.

In the 1950s it was product management; in the 70s it was customer management; in the 90s it was brand management, and today it is value management. "Don't tell your customers about your brand but what the brand stands for to be successful in the market," he said.

Also, the mission of an organisation today should be not to deliver satisfaction or realise aspiration but to practice compassion. Similarly, the vision should be sustainability not profitability, and value should be to make a difference and not just differentiation.

"This is marketing version 3.0," said Kotler. In India, he added, the Tata group could possibly be the only company that falls in this category.