Jan-Mar 2015

Managing Marketing: An Applied Approach

“Managing Marketing: An Applied Approach” is a great book for anyone who has to put into action a well thought through marketing strategy – as to what, how, when and where to implement the marketing tools that a firm has at its disposal. This book is useful for all types of business managers – be it in the context of a startup, a new product launch or for established products marketing. The authors were able to bring together their rich expertise to clearly define marketing concepts and to develop and analyse their ideas well so that the reader is able to apply them in real-life situations. They cover almost every situational issue that may arise in a business dependent on solid and effective consumer marketing for its survival and growth.

As the title suggests, the book offers many opportunities to put theory into practice. The marketing toolkit is an extremely useful experiential exercise companion book, which helps the reader to actually strategise and roll out a marketing plan after carefully understanding the concepts discussed in the main volume. I particularly liked the “Analysis Check” section at the end of each chapter. The reader is encouraged to assess his own understanding of the concepts discussed in each chapter by answering questions and filling in the blanks provided in the toolkit, thereby enhancing the learning experience. Similarly, the main book also contains questions for self study and discussion. Each concept is capped by a summary called “Key Ideas,” which helps the reader to quickly recall and retain important points.

The chapters on marketing research, setting prices and monitoring firm performance and functioning are very useful from the perspective of new product marketing. The chapter, “Managing through the Life Cycle,” is particularly helpful for customising strategies based on the stage of the business. The section on mass and digital communication is an eye opener on the immense possibilities for achieving the desired results by taking the digital medium seriously. The authors have not focussed solely on traditional marketing concepts and activities, but have also devoted space to complementary and new advances in marketing, such as managing a firm’s field sales efforts for maximum effectiveness, maintaining a focus on public relations efforts, online advertising and other recent advances that have become essential components of present day marketing strategies. The case studies that the authors have selected to explain core concepts are pertinent and insightful – I particularly enjoyed the case study on Dr Lal PathLabs, which deals with integrating a firm’s efforts for marketing success and is extremely relevant for discussing market strategy.

The authors also talks about changing views in the fast advancing marketing world by comparing “old ways of thinking” with “new ways of thinking” about market strategy. Wherever required, an attempt is made to highlight new ways of thinking, such as being up-to-date on core concepts, being data driven, focussing on innovation, and last but not least, using a bit of common sense but not ignoring a structured approach to marketing strategy. For example, the authors have given the well known 80:20 rule a new dimension by making the reader think about the 20:80 rule, 80:20:120 rule and 20:80:20 rule! They have also discussed bold new ways of thinking such as how to stop serving customers who are not profitable for the firm. Their intention, seems to be, to give us a better understanding of the role of marketing today, Marketing strategies today focus not only on revenues but also on the firm’s profitability, which is ultimately what impacts shareholder value. For new businesses in particular, who are making a market entry, such concepts offer greater clarity on what to do and what not to do.

I would recommend this book not only to all business managers but also to students of marketing for three important reasons, namely:

  1. It is concise and easy to read and also helps the reader comprehend, retain and recall the key learnings.
  2. The effective use of India-centric case studies, such as those on Dr Lal PathLabs, Amul, Cisco and Biocon Bristol-Myers Squibb Research Centre’s India operations, help the readers understand essential concepts from a local perspective.
  3. It covers all the important concepts and issues that arise in day-to-day business, thus empowering readers to conduct their marketing programmes with greater confidence and ease.

 In a nutshell, this book has made me more structured in my thinking and approach to implementing marketing plans, more analytical in terms of understanding the competitive space and its implications, and more realistic in anticipating the likely results of my marketing spend. The authors, by giving due importance to crucial concepts and topics that have either not been well covered or ignored in most books on marketing so far, have, in a single book, done justice to all those who have contributed to the development of those ideas and concepts. It should not be long before this book becomes one of the well-thumbed favourites of business students and business managers.




REVIEWED BY: Dr Sreenivasan Narayana, Founder and CEO, DocTree Health Infoservices

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