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India through Philip Kotler's eyes

When Philip Kotle, the marketing guru, first visited India in 1956, small enterprise meant the barbers on the streets.  Today, India is a major brain power now with strengths in IT and pharmaceuticals.

twitter-logo E Kumar Sharma        Last Updated: March 15, 2012  | 10:21 IST

From his first visit to India, while on a honeymoon, in 1956, Philip Kotler, the now 80-year-old marketing guru and the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, has seen India transition into a different world. When he first arrived in the country, small enterprise meant the barbers on the streets.  Today, India is a major brain power now with strengths in IT and pharmaceuticals.

In India, on a brief visit, he asks a question and offers an answer: "What will India be selling (to the world) five years from now?'' Apart from IT and pharma, he said he feels India should be focusing on positioning itself as a leader in car production. "With its better economics for cars it could end up to be a major car manufacturer,'' he said.

Also, "With schools like IITs and IIMs, you are the brain power in the world,'' he said, though big problems like poverty and lack of adequate infrastructure still need to be dealt with in India. Talking of the concept of Karma, he said, India could provide a balance between Western materialism and Eastern idealism.

Revisiting his famous concept of 4 Ps, he laid out the priorities and said of the four, the 'Product' came first, the rest - Price, Place and Promotion came later. On what could hold back Indian businesses, he said it could be the "short-term orientation'' that some of them have. Though none of the major Indian business groups had this problem.

Of his current focus on 'nnovation' , he said, "You (India) could be the source of major innovation and delivery of solutions to the poor.'' Preparing to board a flight that would take him back to his wife in Florida via Dubai and New York city, he wasn't able to pin point exactly what keeps him flying fit today, but said the answer might lie somewhere in India.

"Is it yoga? Or your medicines, herbs or your food?  I don't know but I feel good," he said.

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