The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, March 9, 2003

Marketing insights for 21st century
D.S. Cheema

Marketing is Business
by Walter E. Vieira. Vision Books. Pages 268. Rs 395.

THE turning of the new millennium is indeed a unique event in human history. It has witnessed exciting new concepts and developments. In India, the changes in our economy, ushered in during the ’90s, have finally unchained it. Marketing in contemporary and future India will have an entirely different meaning, as the success of any nation is becoming more and more dependent on its marketing capabilities. ‘Death of the distance’ and new lessons on proven marketing knowledge have demolished trade barriers and brought even sworn enemy nations closer.

It is a strange paradox that in a world of unprecedented increase in overall opulence, millions of people living in underdeveloped countries are denied elementary freedom from economic poverty. Though all nations pursue development policies, only a few succeed. Perhaps the major reason is economic development strategies designed by economists don’t incorporate the true meaning of marketing. Unless the role of marketing is clearly understood, no nation can hope to "weave the strands of economic development and marketing knowledge into the carpet of coherent vision of a better world order."

Marketing is Business (Insights for the 21 st Century) has given a new understanding to the concepts of marketing as the author explains the evolution of marketing from 4 Ps (product, pricing, physical distribution, promotion and advertising) to the 4 Cs (customer value, cost to the customer, convenience, communication) to the 4 Rs (relevance, returns, relationship, response). That the book has a foreword by the greatest of marketing gurus, Philip Kotler, who has dominated the marketing thought process the world over for the past 25 years, speaks volumes about the book. Philip Kotler, the phenomenon, has this to say, "Here is a master marketer explaining and illustrating the marketing mind.… Walter Vieira is to be commended for this book."


Each of the 12 chapters has many ‘insights’ with four-line borders that invite the reader at first glance. The reader is more than compensated for the temptation of investing time and effort as he goes through the highly readable explanations and illustrations of "marketing mind" in everyday commercial life in many cities of the world and its relationship to the Indian scene.

The first chapter, "Marketing is Business," is introductory in nature and focuses on the fact that marketing still remains a much misunderstood concept. It provides the 21st century view of marketing and analyses its social relevance in developing a higher standard of living. The Insight, ‘First winds in Marketing’, throws new light on economic growth paradigm.

The author further gives ‘insights’ on the 4 Cs of marketing in the next four chapters. The first C, "Customer Value," relates brilliantly the knowledge about customer with the factors that influence buying behaviour through market research. The author’s explanation of product life cycle and sources of new product ideas provides fresh approach. Each idea and concept is supported by an ‘insight,’ so much so that there are 22 in one single chapter. This alone can give the reader an insight into the author’s experience and understanding of the world markets in general and Indian markets in particular.

The second ‘C’ of marketing, cost to customer, is seen not just as pricing policy but as the total company philosophy. Pricing decisions are the most important as they reflect the company’s relationship with its customers. At the same time, in a very complex marketing scene it has become the fine art of balancing many factors.

The third ‘C,’ convenience, deals with all the activities involved in physical "transfer of goods from the manufacturer to the ultimate user or consumer. The patterns of distribution have undergone drastic change. But the most recent aspect of "retailer-militancy," i.e., the retailer deciding his margin and forcing the manufacturer to sell the product at a price decided by him, is becoming a matter of great concern. The fourth ‘C’ is communication through advertising, publicity, personal selling or sales promotion. The author has dealt with the problem of "turning off the customer with advertising noise".

Here is a remarkable book by a remarkable man who converts marketing knowledge into wisdom, using the experience and maturity of his years as author and reputed international marketing consultant.