Marketing Education

This article was originally published in November 2011 issue of Circles Magazine. This is a follow-up article for Business Education.

Business education entails several phases of administrating business and marketing is one of the most vital parts of the business model. A business’s continuous growth is the virtue of good marketing skills and efficient branding by a marketing team or individual. A highly innovative Marketing specialist, on the other hand, sets a company on the track of phenomenal growth using the organization’s own strengths without needing to resort to cheap tactics, lies or marketing gimmicks to catch prospective buyers’ attention.

Marketing education is not limited to learning Brand Management, Industrial Marketing, International Marketing, Retail Management or such kind of courses, neither does a student become educated in Marketing practices after rote learning the content of these courses. For starters, none of the subjects taught here have any information about the mechanism of Pakistani market and there are no Pakistani authors that have introduced textbook concepts relevant to our economy and industries. The current quality of marketing experts in Pakistani industry is pitiful, with most of them following text book examples blindly and applying them indiscriminately.

The system of education is responsible for this deplorable state.

Students who are pursuing BBA and MBA degrees, particularly in Marketing, need to understand that rote learning the 4 P’s of Marketing and similar terminologies will not turn them into experts. Whether they like it or not, their real education will begin from the first day on their jobs; therefore it is the students’ responsibility to practically arm their brains with knowledge actually needed in the real world.

As a marketer they need to have marketing sense and should be in the habit of connecting the dots of any marketing campaign. If they are pursuing Marketing majors and wish to join FMCG Company, the first question they need to ask themselves is “What results can I guarantee as an Assistant Brand Manager or perhaps even the Brand Manager itself?” Do I know the buying seasons of the particular product in your economy? Can I guarantee maximum ROI (Return on Investment) to the FMCG Company if they hire me? Can I chart the whole process of a particular product, from the time of its idea conception, designing, manufacturing, testing, and packaging all the way to placement and its ideal display at retail store/general store /departmental stores/super stores? If they cannot guarantee this, they are no different than any other run-of-the-mill graduate from business schools.

The same rule applies to other specializations in the field of marketing as well, such as Advertisement. When a client would ask a typical Pakistani advertisement company for a campaign recommendation, they would suggest placing ad at a Billboard on Shahrah-E-Faisal (3 lacks minimum), TV advertisement on top-tier news channels (15 lacks minimum) and newspaper advertisements (another 2 lacks) which gives an astounding total of 20 lacks that doesn’t even include the cost of the actual making of the advertisement. If asked for a guarantee (in terms of sales), the company would simply refuse to give any. The simple reason being, the advertisement company is not qualified enough to guarantee anything. They are simply following marketing trends, copying foreign concepts and sometimes even applying foreign ideas to local markets without even the slightest change, including copyrighted logos. PTCL’s EVO advertisement is a recent example where the Billboards showed bikes made from light, a near copy from Hollywood’s movie ‘Tron’.

As an Advertiser you need to start backing fluffy theories with hard results. If a company sells products, you should be able to design a marketing campaign in such a manner that you can actually guarantee the number of sales as a result of this campaign.

All the advertisers should focus on actual advertisements and test their abilities. Ask themselves questions like what is the ad all about? How much impact does it create on a wide range of audience? How negatively/positively does
it affect different age groups and genders? How much brand image/loyalty can the company gain with this ad? How much ROI can the company expect with it?

A classic test in Pakistani advertising industry is Slice commercial featuring Katrina Kaif. Instead of focusing solely on the aesthetics of the commercial, ask yourself different questions such as:

-How much was Katrina Kaif paid?
(let’s assume Rs. 10 million)

-How much did the shooting of the commercial cost?
(assume Rs. 5 million)

-How much did the advertisement cost?
(Billboards, TV commercials … let’s assume 20 million)

-How much sales could be increased with this advertisement?
(let’s assume 0.5 million bottles)

-What’s the ROI on this investment?

-What impact will this commercial have on female viewers?

-What impact will it have on male viewers?

-Is the increase in sales justifiable to cost and nature of the commercial?

Answer these questions and you will discover the winner of the argument ‘success or no success’ of commercials and advertisements in Pakistani market. It isn’t always about how good it looks or how much it shines, it also relates to the impact it has regarding cost, company image, demographic acceptability and most of all, justifiable increase in sales as per cost. Pursuing bookish concepts of Marketing will only take you so far, as a student you have to learn all aspects of marketing and improve yourself and remember one thing:

If you can’t guarantee results, you are not meant for marketing.


4 thoughts on “Marketing Education

  1. Pingback: Business Education in Pakistan « Reason Before Passion

  2. Madiha Ahmed

    I totally agree. The students of MBA and BBA Marketing in particular know more about foreign companies and their marketing practices rather than that of the local companies. Secondly, marketing by local firms is not very impressive therefore there’s nothing much to learn by studying them. Even the local advertisements are not up to the mark while the international ad’s fail to adapt to our local culture.
    However since some time things have improved in the marketing arena. Marketing practices of Engro are pretty impressive and worth learning.
    A separate edition of Principles of Marketing by Philip Kotler has been published for the South Asian Market titled as Principles of Marketing a South Asian Perspective. The book is co-authored by Ehsan ul Haq (LUMS).
    Similarly many Marketing Magazines like Aurora are there to provide students the knowledge about the local marketing practices. I think that Business Schools should collaborate with these magazines in order to make them a part of curriculum rather than just relying on foreign marketing related books.

    1. Wasio Ali Khan Abbasi Post author

      That is good that we have Kotler’s book for South Asian markets and more recently studies that relate to our culture, traditions and heritage. But we are still having the same old structured curriculum in majority of the institutes that are churning out graduates and masters who have no idea what they are getting into. For those people this is article suggests to keep themselves sharp and updated rather than rely solely on what they were taught in the various courses in BBA and MBA.
      As mentioned, just knowing the 4-Ps and other similar terms is not enough. There is great need for the students to step up and know things themselves. Have a yardstick and compare their knowledge with industry requirements. The more they know their own market, the better for them because it is their own future at stake.

  3. Pingback: Marketing Education | Tea Break

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