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     Goodbye and good luck, Mr Kotler
                                                                       by Christian Blümelhuber


          Goodbyes are never easy. They're particularly hard when you have to bid
     your adieus to people whom you like and respect, and to stars that have as
       much meaning and influence as Mister Kotler. However, regardless of how
        hard it is, dear Kotlerians, it is time for to say goodbye. Your reign is over.
                                          We, the marketers, are leaving the “Kotlerian sector”!
3 6 I Expertise from Solvay Business School I June 2007
Marketing


B
           ill Gates, Steve Jobs and Alan       seems to be imperfect substitution con-       play the old songs and keep the light
           Greenspan, Herbert Simon,            cerning his ideas around the so-called        burning. But those old songs are just
           Peter Drucker and Michael            marketing concept, around customer            romantic fiction. They remind us of
           Porter: the only marketing guy       satisfaction as the main marketing goal,      bygone times: the times of hierarchic,
who fits into that line is Philip Kotler, the   around toolboxes and flowcharts, and          rational, ordered and systematic manag-
one and only King of Marketing.                 especially around APIC*, STP* and the         ed institutions, the times of Ford and
    For generations of students, market-        Four P´s*. In other words, around the ele-    Taylor, of the assembly line and FMCG,
ers, and consumers, he IS marketing. Like       ments that define and bring alive the         the modern times.
nobody else, he stands for the “modern          “Modern Marketing Approach”.                      We are in a new state, a new era
concept of marketing”. He helped to                 But modernity has lost its glamour        now characterised as post-postmodern,
establish marketing’s credibility as both a     and explanatory power. And so more and        reflexive, liquid or hyper-modern (see for
discipline and a practice. He spread the        more scholars, academics, and even            example Bauman 2000; 2005; Lipovetsky
cultural influence of marketing around          managers claim that marketing needs           2005; Beck, Giddens & Lash 1994).
the globe, and for this reason has he           reform, perhaps a revolution –at least a      The passage from the solid phase of
raised standards of living and created          new paradigm.                                 modern-ity to a more liquid phase of
new jobs. We could tell a long story                                                          modernity leaves behind modernity’s
about inventing and recycling, of hopes         The Frank Sinatra                             clearly defined borders, tiresome but
and beliefs. But to make it short: he is        of marketing                                  reassuringly stable routines, slow pace of
modern marketing’s superstar.                   Frank Sinatra’s time is over. He had his      change, predictable futures, and long
    Sherwin Rosen (1981) defined super-         hits and appearances, but now he’s dead.      usefulness of skills – in other words:
stars as phenomena wherein relatively           Not only buried in the warm cover of          modernity’s security! What we are seeing
small numbers of people dominate the
activities in which they engage –and
earn enormous amounts of money. That’s
not only the case for athletes and movie
                                                        To cope with a fast, unpredictable, and insecure
stars, but also for celebrity CEOs and
Über-Academics. We, the people, were
trained to see the world through a lens                   world, people need the continuous presence of
coloured by the number of ‘hits’
(Anderson 2006) –and the fields of
marketing research and education are no                                                                                 something familiar.
exception. Everyone would agree that our
field’s winner who “takes it all” (Abba) is
the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished            Cathedral City’s soil, but also in people’s   now is a condition in which structures,
Professor of International Marketing at         memories.                                     institutions, patterns of routines, choices
the Kellogg School of Management,                   The same is true for Mr Kotler. He is     or acceptable behaviours can no longer
Northwestern University, Mr Philip Kotler.      dead –not physically, but, following          keep their shape.
    The results of his stardom are evident      Stephen Brown as Alan Smithee (1997),             It is bringing about a collapse in the
to everyone interested in the marketing         his thinking is dead. Like Frankie Boy, he    long-term thinking, planning, and acting
field. Generations of students, academics,      is celebrated and recycled– perhaps not       that used to be a prerequisite for strate-
managers and consultants used Kotler´s          with a museum in Las Vegas, and proba-        gies and strategic marketing. We are now
models, discussed them, applied them,           bly not with a Broadway show, but with        confronted with lives that are more and
and distributed them. In their eyes, there      lots of nostalgic fans who continue to        more fragmented, with parallel strategies
                                                                                              and series of new beginnings and end-
                                                                                              ings, of decouplings and embeddings.
                                                                                              And each new step, each new episode in
                      How can you profit from                                                 our lives and our marketing calls for a
                                                                                              different set of skills and a different
                    post-Kotler marketing ideas?                                              arrangement of assets (Bauman 2007,
                                                                                              page 3).
  The InBev Baillet Latour Chair at Solvay Business School is committed to                        Stability is gone. The future is less
  delivering new ideas, better concepts, models and theories for the liquid                   predictable. The value of skills and assets
  economy. If you are interested in profiting from our research and efforts,                  changes rapidly. Modernity is over. But
  or in participating or sponsoring our studies, then contact me:                             Kotler seems to be still alive. Why is that?
  christian.bluemelhuber@ulb.ac.be
  For those who want to learn, understand, and profit from the top ideas of                   The manager´s teddy bear
  marketing´s long tail – please apply for membership of our “European                            In liquid times, new concepts are
  Marketing & Sales Lab”: This new Solvay programme delivers the latest                       everywhere but APIC, the Four Ps and STP
  marketing thinking and concepts, and brings you together with top-                          will survive and live forever. Teachers,
  researchers and professionals. More information at www.solvay.edu/lab                       consultants, and managers around the
                                                                                              globe use Kotler´s ideas, spread Kotler’s


                                                                                              June 2007 I Expertise from Solvay Business School I 3 7
Marketing

                                                                           world that is occupied by slow, change-       plexity, but sheer volume. New concepts
                                                                           resistant people, who have to align both      are everywhere. Some of them, like
                                                                           rapidity (the future), and slowness           Customer Experience Management or
                                                                           (the past). To cope with the fast,            Beautiful Corporations, may get or may
                                                                           unpredictable, and insecure world, peo-       already have had their “season in the
                                                                           ple need the continuous presence of           sun” (Terry Jacks). But lots are hidden in
                                                                           something familiar.                           dusty shelves, in the most obscure cor-
                                                                               Like a child with a teddy bear, doubt-    ners of the web or in weird scientific
                                                                           ful and anxious managers carry the most       journals.
                                                                           important classics as reminiscence and             We could read this situation as tyran-
                                                                           grounding. The more our presence and          ny, as the paradox of choice: lots of
                                                                           future seems to be the hotbed of uncer-       choices, but less satisfaction. But we
                                                                           tainties, the more we’ll have to carry the    could also read this situation as a variety
                                                                           past – like a teddy bear – into the future.   of possibilities, where you can find the
                                                                               The harder it is to understand            model, concept or idea that really fits
                                                                           markets, customers, strategies, and suc-      your needs, your situation, your company,
                                                                           cesses, the more important seems to be        brand, and products. Certainly, there’s a
                                                                           Mr Kotler as marketing’s most important       lot crap in this “Long Tail” of marketing,
                                                                           teddy bear. He is the manager’s link to       but also there will surely be THE one idea
  Christian Blümelhuber                                                    the past.                                     that a manager could, or should, have
                                                                               For sure, there is only one Philip        cherry-picked.
 • Born 1966 in Freising/Germany      • Research: Brand-Management,        Kotler. Many follow him –but there is              When Anderson (Anderson 2006)
 • University of Munich: Master of      Euro-Marketing, Subjective         also a group that doubts. His reign is        asks us to think of culture as an ocean
   Business Administration (1993),      Communications                     under attack because the world has            and of islands as the only features above
   PhD. (2000), assistant professor   • Research Methods: Empirical:       changed.                                      the surface, the hit-rate over the years
 • Technical University Munich:         qualitative and quantitative,                                                    mean that the biggest island on the
   Professor for Marketing (2003-
   2005)
                                        interpretative research
                                      • Co-Founder of “newsports
                                                                           Kotler’s successors and the                   marketing globe is undoubtedly occupied
 • Solvay Business School: holder       GmbH” and Innovator of two         long tail* of marketing                       by the Kotlerians. However, islands are
   of the Inbev-Baillet Latour          sports (SOCCAFIVE and J-TEN-       In 1960, McGregor introduced Theory X         just tips of vast undersea mountains.
   Chair for Euromarketing, pro-        NIS -(now Mickeys Tennis: sold     and Theory Y on the management of             When (information) costs and efforts of
   fessor at Univerité Libre de         to Disney-)                        employees. Whereas Theory X represent-        distribution fall, it’s like the water level
   Bruxelles (since 2005)             • Consulting for International       ed an old style of management in              falling in the ocean. New islands surface.
 • Since 2002: Assistant Director       Companies, including Direkt-       which employees were mindless robots,         And instead of a few hits, we’ll uncover
   of the Center on Global brand        AnlageBank, Henkel, O2, Pro-
                                                                           Theory Y represented a new style in           hundreds of smaller, but more beautiful,
   Leadership, a joint platform of      Sieben, Gore
   the Columbia University, the       • Well-known        Speaker    at    which employees are creative and accept       lesser occupied, and therefore more
   University of Munich, Seoul          Conferences (like FIFA-Football-   responsibility. We could argue that it’s      interesting isles.
   University, and the ESADE in         Congress Munich 2005, several      now time that marketing switched from              Like our culture and economy, mar-
   Madrid.                              Brand Association Meetings)        a Kotlerite Theory P (Push/Pull, 4Ps) to a    keting is shifting away from a focus on a
 • Developer and Director of the      • Inhouse-Training for companies     new Theory (as for example suggested by       relatively small number of hits, main-
   “European Marketing and Sales        like DaimlerCrysler, LaBraas,      Urban 2006). I don’t think that that’s the    stream products, markets, and concepts
   Lab“.                                Gore, L´Oréal
                                                                           best answer. It’s certainly time to quit      at the head of a demand curve, and
 christian.bluemelhuber@ulb.ac.be                                          Theory P, but following Lyotard’s legacy      instead is moving towards a number of
                                                                           that posits the end of metanarratives         niches in the tail. And what is true for
                                                                           (Lyotard 1979), there is no place for a       information products like books and
                            influences into the business world, and        Grand Theory in post-post-modern times.       music is surely true for the information
                            reproduce him again and again. Although        There is no single theory that could          product per se: the information.
                            some may doubt, the vast majority of           replace the modern concept. There is no       Marketing will get richer and more effec-
                            managers seem to love him, follow him,         clear and simple call, like “Follow Kotler    tive when it applies concepts, theories or
                            applaud him, and apply his ideas.              and you will have success!” that could be     ideas that really fit to a situation, a
                                We can explain this commitment and         interpreted as THE marketing credo of a       brand, a culture etc.
                            behaviour with an interesting theory of        modern world. Grand ideas have lost                Breaking free from Kotler, the Hit
                            Odo Marquard, a German philosopher.            credibility.                                  Man, means more variety in marketing,
                            His “teddy bear effect” explains the               In post-post-modern, liquid, reflexive    better fitting solutions, better results,
                            familiar situation of a fast-changing          economies, we not only face more com-         and higher profits.
                                                                                                                              A long tail can only survive when the
                                                                                                                         costs of reaching the niches and finding
                                                                                                                         the ideas fall dramatically. When man-
The new logic seems to be quite the opposite of the                                                                      agers find filters and navigators that lead
                                                                                                                         them through the tail, marketing will be
                                                                                                                         reborn. In a Long-Tail-Post-Kotler-Ocean
traditional Kotlerian mass-marketing approach.                                                                           of Marketing Ideas, marketing blogs,


3 8 I Expertise from Solvay Business School I June 2007
Marketing

marketing journals and marketing pro-
grammes like the European Marketing                Experimentation is encouraged, luck is accepted,
and Sales Lab can be the Santa Marias.
Professors and journalists, bloggers and
real experts have to filter out the noise               and inexperienced employees are welcomed to
and crap and so will increase the quality
of marketing in general and –more
specifically– of the marketing concept in                                                                             create weird ideas.
use.

Against Kotler:
new topics and ideas                              We and our models, theories, and         the P – “planning” – of course (consistent
There are hundreds of interesting ideas,      concepts should accept that marketing is     with the P-approach) stands out.
but the few that stand out will be the        becoming everyone’s role. It is no longer    Everything seems to be planned, and
main islands, the hits, and the beacons of    just the role of professional managerial     planned: from communication to design,
marketing in liquid times: a consumer’s       cadres educated at top business schools      from strategies to product usages. But:
marketing!                                    or graduates of expensive trainee            • Had the big successes really been
     Perhaps the most important new           programmes at Unilever or P&G. Such an       planned, analysed, implemented, and
contribution to the book of “Grand            idea defines marketing a societal activity   controlled? Or did Post-Its, Penicillin, or
Marketing Theories” (see the discussion       and overcomes the implicit bias of the       Viagra just happen accidentally? Didn’t
above) comes from Stephen Vargo and           marketer’s perspective.                      they just appear, like a rainbow? Haven’t
Robert Lusch (2004). They suggest noth-                                                    the companies just been lucky? Didn´t
ing less then a “New Dominant Logic of        More flexibility – and                       they exploit an opportunity instead of
Marketing”, that synthesises key aspects      more luck in marketing                       following a business plan?
of actual marketing thoughts –such as         management                                   • Do consumers really use and under-
resource-advantage theory and relation-       Let me follow the Kotlerian path of mar-     stand products, services, and brands, as it
ship marketing.                               keting-management that is marked by          was planned in the marketing depart-
     This would-be new paradigm is so         4 P´s and directed through APIC, where       ment? Hijacked brands (Wipperfürth
highly abstract and broad that it is being
discussed as the strongest candidate to
provide THE marketing framework of our
time. This new logic is service-centred
                                                Marketing concepts
rather then goods-centred. It focuses on        As a reference for 4Ps, APIC, and STP see any of Kotler’s Textbooks. The latest is the12th edi-
operant instead of operand resources, is        tion of Marketing Management, co-authored by Kevin Lane Keller (2006 published by Pearson).
relational and not transactional, and
interprets the customer as a co-producer        4Ps. Marketing activities come in many forms. The most famous set of activities was
of value. Briefly, the new logic seems to       established by McCarthy, who classified all tools into four groups, which are called the Four P´s
be quite the opposite of the traditional        and can be interpreted as the “holy quadruplet” of a “Kotlerian Marketing” approach: product,
Kotlerian mass-marketing approach, so           price, place (distribution), and promotion (communication).
it’s an obvious suggestion, as any class on     APIC. Analysis, Planning, Implementation, and Control: these are the four steps of the (market-
formal creativity will agree.                   ing) management process.
     The most important aspect and main
idea of this logic is, in my view, the          STP. This stands for a core concept of modern marketing management: Segmentation,
conceptualisation of the consumer as a          Targeting, and Positioning. It starts with the idea that nobody likes the same hotel rooms,
co-creator who takes an increasingly            movies, or cookies. Therefore, marketers divide up markets into segments, identify and profile
active role in the processes of production,     distinct groups of buyers, decide which segments to serve, and position the offering in the
marketing and consumption. If we took           minds of the target buyers (which means: deliver central benefits to that group).
this idea to the next level, than we would
discuss a “marketing of consumers”              Long Tail. The Long Tail is the colloquial name for the distribution curve where a high-frequen-
–marketing that re-empowers cus-                cy amplitude population is followed by a low-amplitude population. In many cases, the low-
tomers, that allows them, and not just          amplitude part (the Long Tail) can comprise the majority of the whole “population”. The Long
the company, to drive a market. Such            Tail is seen as a business model where “products” of low volume can collectively make up a
marketing goes beyond ”poll-itics” and          market share that rivals or even exceeds the few hits or best-sellers in a market.
re-emerges as a toolbox for the post-,
                                                Brown, Stephen. Some would label him the Anti-Kotler. Stephen is a marketing professor of
hyper or liquid consumer. Marketing’s           Ulster University and has published numerous articles that contradict and provoke “classical”
role could become that of facilitating or       thinking. He is “Alan Smithee” who “killed” Kotler in a European Journal of Marketing publica-
co-ordinating the efforts of members of         tion of 1997 titled “Kotler is dead”. He also asked managers to tease and torment their
a community or tribe around a product,          customers (Harvard Business Review, Oct/2001), has identified Harry Potter as an outstanding
service, or brand. That’s a co-producer,        role-model of successful marketing (Brown 2005), and has promoted a “Celtic” marketing
not a provider role (see for example Firat      approach.
& Dholakia 2006).


                                                                                           June 2007 I Expertise from Solvay Business School I 3 9
Marketing

                                                                  2005), twisted servicescapes (Aubert-         his co-authors, promotes unconventional
Anderson, Chris (2006).          Lipovetsky, Gilles (2005).       Gamet 1997), or Doppelgänger images           and interesting ideas. Take serendipity,
The Long Tail. London,           Hypermodern Times.               (Thompson, Rindfleisch & Arsel 2005) are      ethics, and driving markets as examples
Random House.                    Cambridge, Polity.               among the concepts that explain and           (Kumar, Scheer & Kotler 2000; Kotler
                                                                  discuss the high flexibility of customers     2006), and understand that Kotler not
Aubert-Gamet, Véronique          Lyotard, Jean-Francois
                                                                  when they use products, services, and         only covers and interprets the songs or
(1997). “Twisting                (1979). La condition post-       brands, in an unintended way.                 concepts of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but
Servicescapes: diversion of      moderne. Paris, Les éditions         All these aspects, flexibility, non-      also drives marketing in a new direction.
the physical environment in      de minuit.                       intentional designs and even luck can of      For example, he introduced the market-
a re-appropriation process.”     Rosen, Sherwin (1981).           course (and please recognise my               driving phase as a new step or orienta-
International Journal of         “The Economics of Superstars.”   “Kotlerian loop” now:) be managed. Not        tion a company can adopt towards the
                                                                  in an APIC way, but in a way that is more     marketplace. This phase triggers industry
Service Industry Management      The American Economy
                                                                  consistent with our fast-changing             breakpoints, comes from a visionary (and
8(1): 26-41.                     Review 71(5): 845-858.           environment.                                  not a planner or marketing “machine”)
Bauman, Zygmunt (2000).          Smithee, Alan (1997).                Follow Louis Pasteur, who once said,      and focuses more on potential than on
Liquid Modernity. Cambridge,     “Kotler is dead!” European       “luck favours the prepared mind”. And try     existing customers.
Polity Press.                    Journal of Marketing 31(3/4):    to understand what your customers real-           Experimentation is encouraged, luck
Bauman, Zygmunt (2005).          317-325.                         ly sense, feel, think, and do. Embrace        is accepted, and inexperienced employ-
Liquid Life. Cambridge,          Thompson, Craig, Aric            qualitative, ethnographic studies. Bet on     ees are welcomed to create weird ideas.
                                                                  several horses, not just one. Be prepared!    Doesn’t that sound post-Kotler?
Polity Press.                    Rindfleisch & Zeynep Arsel       These seem to be calls for a “rational        Absolutely. These attempts prove his
Bauman, Zygmunt (2007).          (2005). “Emotional Branding      logic” for a marketing management of          marketing aptitude for betting on the
Liquid Times. Living in the      and the Strategic Value of       our times. Not convinced yet? That’s OK,      right horse. And for that we praise him,
Age of Uncertainty.              the Doppelgänger Brand           but you should be as unconvinced as you       love him and follow him. Or is this all
Cambridge, Polity.               Image.” Journal of Marketing     are about the classic APIC model.             only a marketing-trick in line with
Beck, Ulrich, Anthony            70(Jan): 50-64.                                                                Brown’s Harry-Potter-Marketing-Tralala
Giddens & Scott Lash             Urban, Glen (2006).
                                                                  Kotler, the comeback kid!                     (Brown 2005)? Shouldn’t we interpret
                                                                  Most champions do not clear the stock         these attempts as ornamental additions
(1994). Reflexive                Customer Advocacy. A New         voluntarily, and this applies to Mr Kotler,   to his modern house? Some of you will
Modernization: Politics,         Paradigm for Marketing?          too. He tried to keep up with the             remember the credo of Adolf Loos, the
Tradition and Asethetics in      Does Marketing Need Reform?      Brown’s*, and presented “new” topics and      modern Austrian architect and critic who
the Modern Social Order.         Jagdish Sheth & Rajendra         ideas that seem to fit better in post-        defined “ornament as crime”. We could
Cambridge, Polity.               Sisodia. Armonk, New York,       modern times.                                 see Kotler´s latest articles as a crime on
                                                                       My feelings about this are ambiva-       his original ideas, since they are hard to
Brown, Stephen (2005).           M.E.Sharpe: 119-125.
                                                                  lent. On one hand, Kotler proves his          understand, even harder to follow and
Wizard! Harry Potter´s Brand     Vargo, Stephen & Robert          “bondage” to the past. Take his attempt       –hardest of all for a modern Kotlerian–
Magic. London, Cyan.             Lusch (2004). “Evolving a        to promote the idea of “holistic market-      impossible to integrate into a holistic
Firat, Fuat & Nikhilesh          New Dominant Logic for           ing”. Together with his new co-author of      Kotlerian concept!
Dholakia (2006). Does            Marketing.” Journal of           Marketing Management –Kevin Lane
Marketing Need to Transcend      Marketing 68(1): 1-16.           Keller, another Überfather, but on Brand      Thank you, Mr Kotler,
Modernity? Does Marketing        Venkatesh, Alladi, Lisa          Management– he calls for a more               and goodbye
                                                                  integrated marketing that embraces all        Kotler is by no means dead. Kotler himself
Need Reform? Jagdish Sheth       Penaloza & Fuat Firat            stakeholders and functions. This is easy      is Post-Kotler. It’s his followers, the
& Rajendra Sisodia. Armonk,      (2006). The Market as a Sign     to understand, and it sounds great. No        Kotlerians, who are stuck in the past.
New York, M.E.Sharpe: 126-       System and the Logic of the      doubt thousands of managers will follow       His modern ideas live in these managers
133.                             Market. The Service-Dominant     that suggestion, because “it makes            as cultural influences –his numerous
Kotler, Philip (2006). Ethical   Logic of Marketing. Dialog,      sense”.                                       followers simply don’t write him off.
                                                                       So far, so good? Ah! Bad! Surely it’s         But remember that we live in the
Lapses of Marketers. Does        Debate, and Directions. Robert
                                                                  just another placatory sweet or poison        complicated, insecure times of a “de-
Marketing Need Reform?           Lusch & Stephen Vargo.           pill, another teddy bear for managers         Americanisation of marketing thought”
Jagdish Sheth & Rajendra         New York/London, M.E.Sharpe:     stuck in the past? Isn’t this orchestration   (Venkatesh, Penaloza & Firat 2006), that
Sisodia. Armonk, New York,       251-265.                         just another modern concept making            totally differs from a pre-9/11, stable
M.E.Sharpe: 153-157.             Wipperfürth, Alex (2005).        interesting promises that cannot be ful-      modern setting. Change is not an option,
Kumar, Nirmalya, Lisa Scheer     Brand Hijack. Marketing          filled? Doesn’t it make more sense to fol-    it’s a necessity. Break free from “modern”
& Philip Kotler (2000).          Without Marketing.               low different, parallel strategies rather     Kotler. Kill this Kotler in your marketing
                                                                  than just one holistic one? Shouldn’t we      mindset, and be more open to the Long
“From Market Driven to           New York, Portfolio/Penguin      believe in Sperm-Strategies instead of        Tail of marketing, and to ideas that fit
Market Driving.” European        Group.                           integration? Didn’t we leave the modern       today’s circumstances better. Be ready for
Management Journal 18(2):                                         sector? Didn’t we break down that wall?       the post-Kotler Kotler. Be ready for your
129-142.                                                          On the other hand, Kotler, together with      future.                                 G



      4 0 I Expertise from Solvay Business School I June 2007

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Goodbye and good luck Mr. Kotler

  • 1. Marketing Goodbye and good luck, Mr Kotler by Christian Blümelhuber Goodbyes are never easy. They're particularly hard when you have to bid your adieus to people whom you like and respect, and to stars that have as much meaning and influence as Mister Kotler. However, regardless of how hard it is, dear Kotlerians, it is time for to say goodbye. Your reign is over. We, the marketers, are leaving the “Kotlerian sector”! 3 6 I Expertise from Solvay Business School I June 2007
  • 2. Marketing B ill Gates, Steve Jobs and Alan seems to be imperfect substitution con- play the old songs and keep the light Greenspan, Herbert Simon, cerning his ideas around the so-called burning. But those old songs are just Peter Drucker and Michael marketing concept, around customer romantic fiction. They remind us of Porter: the only marketing guy satisfaction as the main marketing goal, bygone times: the times of hierarchic, who fits into that line is Philip Kotler, the around toolboxes and flowcharts, and rational, ordered and systematic manag- one and only King of Marketing. especially around APIC*, STP* and the ed institutions, the times of Ford and For generations of students, market- Four P´s*. In other words, around the ele- Taylor, of the assembly line and FMCG, ers, and consumers, he IS marketing. Like ments that define and bring alive the the modern times. nobody else, he stands for the “modern “Modern Marketing Approach”. We are in a new state, a new era concept of marketing”. He helped to But modernity has lost its glamour now characterised as post-postmodern, establish marketing’s credibility as both a and explanatory power. And so more and reflexive, liquid or hyper-modern (see for discipline and a practice. He spread the more scholars, academics, and even example Bauman 2000; 2005; Lipovetsky cultural influence of marketing around managers claim that marketing needs 2005; Beck, Giddens & Lash 1994). the globe, and for this reason has he reform, perhaps a revolution –at least a The passage from the solid phase of raised standards of living and created new paradigm. modern-ity to a more liquid phase of new jobs. We could tell a long story modernity leaves behind modernity’s about inventing and recycling, of hopes The Frank Sinatra clearly defined borders, tiresome but and beliefs. But to make it short: he is of marketing reassuringly stable routines, slow pace of modern marketing’s superstar. Frank Sinatra’s time is over. He had his change, predictable futures, and long Sherwin Rosen (1981) defined super- hits and appearances, but now he’s dead. usefulness of skills – in other words: stars as phenomena wherein relatively Not only buried in the warm cover of modernity’s security! What we are seeing small numbers of people dominate the activities in which they engage –and earn enormous amounts of money. That’s not only the case for athletes and movie To cope with a fast, unpredictable, and insecure stars, but also for celebrity CEOs and Über-Academics. We, the people, were trained to see the world through a lens world, people need the continuous presence of coloured by the number of ‘hits’ (Anderson 2006) –and the fields of marketing research and education are no something familiar. exception. Everyone would agree that our field’s winner who “takes it all” (Abba) is the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Cathedral City’s soil, but also in people’s now is a condition in which structures, Professor of International Marketing at memories. institutions, patterns of routines, choices the Kellogg School of Management, The same is true for Mr Kotler. He is or acceptable behaviours can no longer Northwestern University, Mr Philip Kotler. dead –not physically, but, following keep their shape. The results of his stardom are evident Stephen Brown as Alan Smithee (1997), It is bringing about a collapse in the to everyone interested in the marketing his thinking is dead. Like Frankie Boy, he long-term thinking, planning, and acting field. Generations of students, academics, is celebrated and recycled– perhaps not that used to be a prerequisite for strate- managers and consultants used Kotler´s with a museum in Las Vegas, and proba- gies and strategic marketing. We are now models, discussed them, applied them, bly not with a Broadway show, but with confronted with lives that are more and and distributed them. In their eyes, there lots of nostalgic fans who continue to more fragmented, with parallel strategies and series of new beginnings and end- ings, of decouplings and embeddings. And each new step, each new episode in How can you profit from our lives and our marketing calls for a different set of skills and a different post-Kotler marketing ideas? arrangement of assets (Bauman 2007, page 3). The InBev Baillet Latour Chair at Solvay Business School is committed to Stability is gone. The future is less delivering new ideas, better concepts, models and theories for the liquid predictable. The value of skills and assets economy. If you are interested in profiting from our research and efforts, changes rapidly. Modernity is over. But or in participating or sponsoring our studies, then contact me: Kotler seems to be still alive. Why is that? christian.bluemelhuber@ulb.ac.be For those who want to learn, understand, and profit from the top ideas of The manager´s teddy bear marketing´s long tail – please apply for membership of our “European In liquid times, new concepts are Marketing & Sales Lab”: This new Solvay programme delivers the latest everywhere but APIC, the Four Ps and STP marketing thinking and concepts, and brings you together with top- will survive and live forever. Teachers, researchers and professionals. More information at www.solvay.edu/lab consultants, and managers around the globe use Kotler´s ideas, spread Kotler’s June 2007 I Expertise from Solvay Business School I 3 7
  • 3. Marketing world that is occupied by slow, change- plexity, but sheer volume. New concepts resistant people, who have to align both are everywhere. Some of them, like rapidity (the future), and slowness Customer Experience Management or (the past). To cope with the fast, Beautiful Corporations, may get or may unpredictable, and insecure world, peo- already have had their “season in the ple need the continuous presence of sun” (Terry Jacks). But lots are hidden in something familiar. dusty shelves, in the most obscure cor- Like a child with a teddy bear, doubt- ners of the web or in weird scientific ful and anxious managers carry the most journals. important classics as reminiscence and We could read this situation as tyran- grounding. The more our presence and ny, as the paradox of choice: lots of future seems to be the hotbed of uncer- choices, but less satisfaction. But we tainties, the more we’ll have to carry the could also read this situation as a variety past – like a teddy bear – into the future. of possibilities, where you can find the The harder it is to understand model, concept or idea that really fits markets, customers, strategies, and suc- your needs, your situation, your company, cesses, the more important seems to be brand, and products. Certainly, there’s a Mr Kotler as marketing’s most important lot crap in this “Long Tail” of marketing, teddy bear. He is the manager’s link to but also there will surely be THE one idea Christian Blümelhuber the past. that a manager could, or should, have For sure, there is only one Philip cherry-picked. • Born 1966 in Freising/Germany • Research: Brand-Management, Kotler. Many follow him –but there is When Anderson (Anderson 2006) • University of Munich: Master of Euro-Marketing, Subjective also a group that doubts. His reign is asks us to think of culture as an ocean Business Administration (1993), Communications under attack because the world has and of islands as the only features above PhD. (2000), assistant professor • Research Methods: Empirical: changed. the surface, the hit-rate over the years • Technical University Munich: qualitative and quantitative, mean that the biggest island on the Professor for Marketing (2003- 2005) interpretative research • Co-Founder of “newsports Kotler’s successors and the marketing globe is undoubtedly occupied • Solvay Business School: holder GmbH” and Innovator of two long tail* of marketing by the Kotlerians. However, islands are of the Inbev-Baillet Latour sports (SOCCAFIVE and J-TEN- In 1960, McGregor introduced Theory X just tips of vast undersea mountains. Chair for Euromarketing, pro- NIS -(now Mickeys Tennis: sold and Theory Y on the management of When (information) costs and efforts of fessor at Univerité Libre de to Disney-) employees. Whereas Theory X represent- distribution fall, it’s like the water level Bruxelles (since 2005) • Consulting for International ed an old style of management in falling in the ocean. New islands surface. • Since 2002: Assistant Director Companies, including Direkt- which employees were mindless robots, And instead of a few hits, we’ll uncover of the Center on Global brand AnlageBank, Henkel, O2, Pro- Theory Y represented a new style in hundreds of smaller, but more beautiful, Leadership, a joint platform of Sieben, Gore the Columbia University, the • Well-known Speaker at which employees are creative and accept lesser occupied, and therefore more University of Munich, Seoul Conferences (like FIFA-Football- responsibility. We could argue that it’s interesting isles. University, and the ESADE in Congress Munich 2005, several now time that marketing switched from Like our culture and economy, mar- Madrid. Brand Association Meetings) a Kotlerite Theory P (Push/Pull, 4Ps) to a keting is shifting away from a focus on a • Developer and Director of the • Inhouse-Training for companies new Theory (as for example suggested by relatively small number of hits, main- “European Marketing and Sales like DaimlerCrysler, LaBraas, Urban 2006). I don’t think that that’s the stream products, markets, and concepts Lab“. Gore, L´Oréal best answer. It’s certainly time to quit at the head of a demand curve, and christian.bluemelhuber@ulb.ac.be Theory P, but following Lyotard’s legacy instead is moving towards a number of that posits the end of metanarratives niches in the tail. And what is true for (Lyotard 1979), there is no place for a information products like books and influences into the business world, and Grand Theory in post-post-modern times. music is surely true for the information reproduce him again and again. Although There is no single theory that could product per se: the information. some may doubt, the vast majority of replace the modern concept. There is no Marketing will get richer and more effec- managers seem to love him, follow him, clear and simple call, like “Follow Kotler tive when it applies concepts, theories or applaud him, and apply his ideas. and you will have success!” that could be ideas that really fit to a situation, a We can explain this commitment and interpreted as THE marketing credo of a brand, a culture etc. behaviour with an interesting theory of modern world. Grand ideas have lost Breaking free from Kotler, the Hit Odo Marquard, a German philosopher. credibility. Man, means more variety in marketing, His “teddy bear effect” explains the In post-post-modern, liquid, reflexive better fitting solutions, better results, familiar situation of a fast-changing economies, we not only face more com- and higher profits. A long tail can only survive when the costs of reaching the niches and finding the ideas fall dramatically. When man- The new logic seems to be quite the opposite of the agers find filters and navigators that lead them through the tail, marketing will be reborn. In a Long-Tail-Post-Kotler-Ocean traditional Kotlerian mass-marketing approach. of Marketing Ideas, marketing blogs, 3 8 I Expertise from Solvay Business School I June 2007
  • 4. Marketing marketing journals and marketing pro- grammes like the European Marketing Experimentation is encouraged, luck is accepted, and Sales Lab can be the Santa Marias. Professors and journalists, bloggers and real experts have to filter out the noise and inexperienced employees are welcomed to and crap and so will increase the quality of marketing in general and –more specifically– of the marketing concept in create weird ideas. use. Against Kotler: new topics and ideas We and our models, theories, and the P – “planning” – of course (consistent There are hundreds of interesting ideas, concepts should accept that marketing is with the P-approach) stands out. but the few that stand out will be the becoming everyone’s role. It is no longer Everything seems to be planned, and main islands, the hits, and the beacons of just the role of professional managerial planned: from communication to design, marketing in liquid times: a consumer’s cadres educated at top business schools from strategies to product usages. But: marketing! or graduates of expensive trainee • Had the big successes really been Perhaps the most important new programmes at Unilever or P&G. Such an planned, analysed, implemented, and contribution to the book of “Grand idea defines marketing a societal activity controlled? Or did Post-Its, Penicillin, or Marketing Theories” (see the discussion and overcomes the implicit bias of the Viagra just happen accidentally? Didn’t above) comes from Stephen Vargo and marketer’s perspective. they just appear, like a rainbow? Haven’t Robert Lusch (2004). They suggest noth- the companies just been lucky? Didn´t ing less then a “New Dominant Logic of More flexibility – and they exploit an opportunity instead of Marketing”, that synthesises key aspects more luck in marketing following a business plan? of actual marketing thoughts –such as management • Do consumers really use and under- resource-advantage theory and relation- Let me follow the Kotlerian path of mar- stand products, services, and brands, as it ship marketing. keting-management that is marked by was planned in the marketing depart- This would-be new paradigm is so 4 P´s and directed through APIC, where ment? Hijacked brands (Wipperfürth highly abstract and broad that it is being discussed as the strongest candidate to provide THE marketing framework of our time. This new logic is service-centred Marketing concepts rather then goods-centred. It focuses on As a reference for 4Ps, APIC, and STP see any of Kotler’s Textbooks. The latest is the12th edi- operant instead of operand resources, is tion of Marketing Management, co-authored by Kevin Lane Keller (2006 published by Pearson). relational and not transactional, and interprets the customer as a co-producer 4Ps. Marketing activities come in many forms. The most famous set of activities was of value. Briefly, the new logic seems to established by McCarthy, who classified all tools into four groups, which are called the Four P´s be quite the opposite of the traditional and can be interpreted as the “holy quadruplet” of a “Kotlerian Marketing” approach: product, Kotlerian mass-marketing approach, so price, place (distribution), and promotion (communication). it’s an obvious suggestion, as any class on APIC. Analysis, Planning, Implementation, and Control: these are the four steps of the (market- formal creativity will agree. ing) management process. The most important aspect and main idea of this logic is, in my view, the STP. This stands for a core concept of modern marketing management: Segmentation, conceptualisation of the consumer as a Targeting, and Positioning. It starts with the idea that nobody likes the same hotel rooms, co-creator who takes an increasingly movies, or cookies. Therefore, marketers divide up markets into segments, identify and profile active role in the processes of production, distinct groups of buyers, decide which segments to serve, and position the offering in the marketing and consumption. If we took minds of the target buyers (which means: deliver central benefits to that group). this idea to the next level, than we would discuss a “marketing of consumers” Long Tail. The Long Tail is the colloquial name for the distribution curve where a high-frequen- –marketing that re-empowers cus- cy amplitude population is followed by a low-amplitude population. In many cases, the low- tomers, that allows them, and not just amplitude part (the Long Tail) can comprise the majority of the whole “population”. The Long the company, to drive a market. Such Tail is seen as a business model where “products” of low volume can collectively make up a marketing goes beyond ”poll-itics” and market share that rivals or even exceeds the few hits or best-sellers in a market. re-emerges as a toolbox for the post-, Brown, Stephen. Some would label him the Anti-Kotler. Stephen is a marketing professor of hyper or liquid consumer. Marketing’s Ulster University and has published numerous articles that contradict and provoke “classical” role could become that of facilitating or thinking. He is “Alan Smithee” who “killed” Kotler in a European Journal of Marketing publica- co-ordinating the efforts of members of tion of 1997 titled “Kotler is dead”. He also asked managers to tease and torment their a community or tribe around a product, customers (Harvard Business Review, Oct/2001), has identified Harry Potter as an outstanding service, or brand. That’s a co-producer, role-model of successful marketing (Brown 2005), and has promoted a “Celtic” marketing not a provider role (see for example Firat approach. & Dholakia 2006). June 2007 I Expertise from Solvay Business School I 3 9
  • 5. Marketing 2005), twisted servicescapes (Aubert- his co-authors, promotes unconventional Anderson, Chris (2006). Lipovetsky, Gilles (2005). Gamet 1997), or Doppelgänger images and interesting ideas. Take serendipity, The Long Tail. London, Hypermodern Times. (Thompson, Rindfleisch & Arsel 2005) are ethics, and driving markets as examples Random House. Cambridge, Polity. among the concepts that explain and (Kumar, Scheer & Kotler 2000; Kotler discuss the high flexibility of customers 2006), and understand that Kotler not Aubert-Gamet, Véronique Lyotard, Jean-Francois when they use products, services, and only covers and interprets the songs or (1997). “Twisting (1979). La condition post- brands, in an unintended way. concepts of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but Servicescapes: diversion of moderne. Paris, Les éditions All these aspects, flexibility, non- also drives marketing in a new direction. the physical environment in de minuit. intentional designs and even luck can of For example, he introduced the market- a re-appropriation process.” Rosen, Sherwin (1981). course (and please recognise my driving phase as a new step or orienta- International Journal of “The Economics of Superstars.” “Kotlerian loop” now:) be managed. Not tion a company can adopt towards the in an APIC way, but in a way that is more marketplace. This phase triggers industry Service Industry Management The American Economy consistent with our fast-changing breakpoints, comes from a visionary (and 8(1): 26-41. Review 71(5): 845-858. environment. not a planner or marketing “machine”) Bauman, Zygmunt (2000). Smithee, Alan (1997). Follow Louis Pasteur, who once said, and focuses more on potential than on Liquid Modernity. Cambridge, “Kotler is dead!” European “luck favours the prepared mind”. And try existing customers. Polity Press. Journal of Marketing 31(3/4): to understand what your customers real- Experimentation is encouraged, luck Bauman, Zygmunt (2005). 317-325. ly sense, feel, think, and do. Embrace is accepted, and inexperienced employ- Liquid Life. Cambridge, Thompson, Craig, Aric qualitative, ethnographic studies. Bet on ees are welcomed to create weird ideas. several horses, not just one. Be prepared! Doesn’t that sound post-Kotler? Polity Press. Rindfleisch & Zeynep Arsel These seem to be calls for a “rational Absolutely. These attempts prove his Bauman, Zygmunt (2007). (2005). “Emotional Branding logic” for a marketing management of marketing aptitude for betting on the Liquid Times. Living in the and the Strategic Value of our times. Not convinced yet? That’s OK, right horse. And for that we praise him, Age of Uncertainty. the Doppelgänger Brand but you should be as unconvinced as you love him and follow him. Or is this all Cambridge, Polity. Image.” Journal of Marketing are about the classic APIC model. only a marketing-trick in line with Beck, Ulrich, Anthony 70(Jan): 50-64. Brown’s Harry-Potter-Marketing-Tralala Giddens & Scott Lash Urban, Glen (2006). Kotler, the comeback kid! (Brown 2005)? Shouldn’t we interpret Most champions do not clear the stock these attempts as ornamental additions (1994). Reflexive Customer Advocacy. A New voluntarily, and this applies to Mr Kotler, to his modern house? Some of you will Modernization: Politics, Paradigm for Marketing? too. He tried to keep up with the remember the credo of Adolf Loos, the Tradition and Asethetics in Does Marketing Need Reform? Brown’s*, and presented “new” topics and modern Austrian architect and critic who the Modern Social Order. Jagdish Sheth & Rajendra ideas that seem to fit better in post- defined “ornament as crime”. We could Cambridge, Polity. Sisodia. Armonk, New York, modern times. see Kotler´s latest articles as a crime on My feelings about this are ambiva- his original ideas, since they are hard to Brown, Stephen (2005). M.E.Sharpe: 119-125. lent. On one hand, Kotler proves his understand, even harder to follow and Wizard! Harry Potter´s Brand Vargo, Stephen & Robert “bondage” to the past. Take his attempt –hardest of all for a modern Kotlerian– Magic. London, Cyan. Lusch (2004). “Evolving a to promote the idea of “holistic market- impossible to integrate into a holistic Firat, Fuat & Nikhilesh New Dominant Logic for ing”. Together with his new co-author of Kotlerian concept! Dholakia (2006). Does Marketing.” Journal of Marketing Management –Kevin Lane Marketing Need to Transcend Marketing 68(1): 1-16. Keller, another Überfather, but on Brand Thank you, Mr Kotler, Modernity? Does Marketing Venkatesh, Alladi, Lisa Management– he calls for a more and goodbye integrated marketing that embraces all Kotler is by no means dead. Kotler himself Need Reform? Jagdish Sheth Penaloza & Fuat Firat stakeholders and functions. This is easy is Post-Kotler. It’s his followers, the & Rajendra Sisodia. Armonk, (2006). The Market as a Sign to understand, and it sounds great. No Kotlerians, who are stuck in the past. New York, M.E.Sharpe: 126- System and the Logic of the doubt thousands of managers will follow His modern ideas live in these managers 133. Market. The Service-Dominant that suggestion, because “it makes as cultural influences –his numerous Kotler, Philip (2006). Ethical Logic of Marketing. Dialog, sense”. followers simply don’t write him off. So far, so good? Ah! Bad! Surely it’s But remember that we live in the Lapses of Marketers. Does Debate, and Directions. Robert just another placatory sweet or poison complicated, insecure times of a “de- Marketing Need Reform? Lusch & Stephen Vargo. pill, another teddy bear for managers Americanisation of marketing thought” Jagdish Sheth & Rajendra New York/London, M.E.Sharpe: stuck in the past? Isn’t this orchestration (Venkatesh, Penaloza & Firat 2006), that Sisodia. Armonk, New York, 251-265. just another modern concept making totally differs from a pre-9/11, stable M.E.Sharpe: 153-157. Wipperfürth, Alex (2005). interesting promises that cannot be ful- modern setting. Change is not an option, Kumar, Nirmalya, Lisa Scheer Brand Hijack. Marketing filled? Doesn’t it make more sense to fol- it’s a necessity. Break free from “modern” & Philip Kotler (2000). Without Marketing. low different, parallel strategies rather Kotler. Kill this Kotler in your marketing than just one holistic one? Shouldn’t we mindset, and be more open to the Long “From Market Driven to New York, Portfolio/Penguin believe in Sperm-Strategies instead of Tail of marketing, and to ideas that fit Market Driving.” European Group. integration? Didn’t we leave the modern today’s circumstances better. Be ready for Management Journal 18(2): sector? Didn’t we break down that wall? the post-Kotler Kotler. Be ready for your 129-142. On the other hand, Kotler, together with future. G 4 0 I Expertise from Solvay Business School I June 2007