A story with Philip Kotler – trained and certified experience in Bucharest


Quotes to remember:

      • Within 5 years, if you’re in the same business you are in now, you’re going to be out of business
      •  Crisis is a terrible thing to waste
      • Go where the gold is
      • Create lovemarks

For many years, Philip Kotler was always the guru I was referred to whenever I asked about marketing “stuff”. Invariable, somebody would say: “Oh well, you know, you should read Kotler’s book, you’re definitely find answers in there”.

So I was waiting anxiously to see, in Bucharest, “the marketing father”, the guy that changed the game and came up with the 4Ps and all sorts of paradigms that are governing nowadays marketing.

At Marketing 3.0, one thing was clear: Kotler didn’t come to tell Romanian marketing specialists any magical secrets about how to be perfect, but to make them see their job from a new perspective, according to a new paradigm, better suited for the world we’re living in.

During a 4 hours lecture, Philip Kotler presented marketing in a new frame, that also redraw base lines. Many already knew the notions that were presented, but I think it was all about perspective and putting the info in a context, (re)build a structure to work on from now on.

Because marketing is shaping industries and businesses, training participants were reminded marketing has created the middle class, as it delivered general public aspirations, the wish to live a better life and the needed info on products and what one should expect from them.

As Philip Kotler said, marketing is always present, in any organization, no matter if there is a special department or person appointed to handle it. Moreover, when you say marketing, you also say costs and that’s the reason why marketing must always justify its costs and find ways to measure return of marketing investments. And, of course, there are marketing activities easier to measure and marketing activities that one knows they work, but can’t be properly measured.

  • 4Ps and CEOs

The 4Ps have become a fundamental principle in marketing and they can be used to evaluate the types of business’ CEOs:

  • the ones that have no clue about marketing (I need someone to do marketing, get someone to make brochures)
  • the ones that implement the 4Ps and have marketing departments diverse and employing interesting people
  • CEOs that use segmentation and strategic marketing and can have in their marketing departments the next Steve Jobs
  •  “Marketing is Everything” CEOs

Of course, over the time, the 4Ps transformed into the 4Es (product to experience, price to exchange, place to everyplace, promotion to evangelism) and, later, in 4As (awareness – emotional essence, acceptability, availability and affordability).

  • What can you do to make it the right way?

According to professor Kotler, to market successfully, companies must use marketing to drive growth (“Go where the gold is”), move towards Marketing 3.0 (by using new media), build strong brands and innovate the path to success.

Because businesses are always in motion and always transforming, companies must continuously analyze what should be kept or eliminated when marketing their products, what can be scaled down or scaled out to insure your success.

Also, today’s market is marked by a fight between online and offline, with e-retailing blooming all over the world. Nowadays, you can buy everything online, therefore smart merchants use a mix of online and offline to make sure they cover the demands of all their possible consumers.

With an extremely volatile market, companies must always do scenario planning, continuously imagine what can destroy their business and make plans to tackle that. Otherwise said, be the 1st to disrupt your business to fence external dangers. Otherwise, some guy that works in a garage today might destroy your business tomorrow by coming up with better ideas and by starting doing what you’re doing faster and, maybe, better.

A company must always be on guard, watching what is said about it online and offline and also keep an eye open on what competition is doing.

With more and more people integrating online in their everyday lives, consumers are now talking about companies to people in their networks, liking, hating or being neutral towards businesses and brands.

Marketing, nowadays, needs a holistic approach, that presumes internal marketing, integrated marketing, relationship marketing and socially responsible marketing.

  • What’s the role /tasks of CMOs?

CMOs are the people within companies that must represent the voice of customers in front of the other company representatives and champion the development of customer orientation, aiming to loyalize consumers. They also need to monitor the evolution of business’ landscape and gather customers insights and steward corporate brand and brand building.

And, remembering the fast moving business environment, CMOs must continuously upgrade marketing technologies and skills within the companies by data mining (identify potential growth areas), identifying microtrends (see which are the shifts in consumers’ preferences and their reasoning) and predictive analytics. They are also the ones with the mission to bring insights into corporate portfolio and synergies, identify problem products and see if they can be fixed fast or need to be killed in order to avoid losses.

  • What are the skills needed by a marketer?
          • Brand asset management
          • CRM, database marketing, telemarketing
          • Partner relationship management (PRM)
          • Integrated marketing communication
          • Internet & Social media
          • Public relations marketing (events, sponsorship marketing)
          • Service and experiential marketing
          • Profitability analysis by segment, customer, product, channel
  • Consumers – part of the company


Consumers have now more and more power, they aren’t captive anymore when they go shopping. They have the phones and friends with which they consult before they make acquisitions. They climbed on a force position and sellers need to treat them nicely, they and their companies can be the “bad guys” anymore, because customers complain and do so online, to their entire friends network.

But consumers like to feel important, especially for brands they love. So that is why companies must make efforts to transform them in brands advocates, invite them to work together to make products better and more suited to their needs. Harley Davidson did that and didn’t mistake. So did Lego.

  • What about Marketing 3.0?

Marketing 3.0 is the concept more suited to nowadays economic circumstances, as marketing is a perpetuum mobile, always shifting, always transforming.

Marketing changed its focus over time, from product management (50’s-60’s) to customer management (70-80) and brand management (1990-2000) and entered the era of value management (2010-2020).

The business philosophy also changed, from the old paradigm that said what’s good for business is good for society, to the new paradigm which states that what’s good for society is good for business.

That is why brands need now to take attitude towards big issues the people are facing, because people can chose products based on care and they will get the one that cares about the same things they do.

  • Marketing and the use of social media

Social media is now on the wave, with most companies around world using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other such channels to get in touch and communicate with their publics.

With their efficiency proven already, Philip Kotler thinks companies still need to be cautious when they start using social media, as it can all turn in a disaster.

When it comes of Kotler advised companies not to give 50% of their marketing budget to social media at once, because it can be disastrous. As he recommended, companies should look to recruit digital natives – nerds/ geeks that know social media inside out – to hire them to handle their communication on social media channels. In terms of budgets, he recommends an initial 5% from the marketing budget for this activities, with social media manager in charge of improving relations with consumers and communities. After the 1st steps, budgets for social media might increase with an additional 5%.

Because he talked a lot about social media but advised for caution when using social media, Doru Panaitescu, official blogger at the event, made a short interview that clarifies the matter.

Philip Kotler also mentioned the apparition of companies specialized in generating social media conversations, an example in that direction being BzzAgent, but also 3 types of diffusers of info in social media: mavens (expert on different topics, that inform or explain), connectors (know a lot of people and are a social glue, but not considered experts) and salespeople.

  • To summarize – How to win in marketing?

The end of Philip Kotler’s lecture summarized what it takes to have success in marketing:

  • Take advantage of turbulence – “a(n) (economical) crisis is a terrible thing to waste”
  • Go where the growth is – China, Far East. I’d add to that Eastern European countries
  • Engage marketing to drive your future
  • Intensify online and social media activities
  • Invite customers and stakeholders to build your brand and co-create your future – generate enthusiasm among consumers to get them involved
  • Develop the social responsibility side of your business