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The 10 major marketing themes in 2000: still relevant?

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Every now and then, I like to go back and read past work from the giants of our craft. And Philip Kotler certainly qualifies as a good set of shoulders for us to stand on so we can see further. In 2000, Mr. Kotler published “Marketing Management, Millennium Edition” (2000, Prentice Hall) and given the occasion, he looked forward and predicted the issues that Marketing would be dealing with in the new century.

More than a decade into the 2000’s, I can say I think he was correct. He may despair that we are still to resolve the issues, but he was correct in identifying the major tasks in what we have (un-poetically perhaps) called ‘do marketing’.

So with comments based on our client work, here are the Kotler 10 from 2000. How well do you think we have got these under control in the last 10 years?

  1. Relationship Marketingthe view that a single transaction is too narrow a definition of our relationship with a customer, and that we need to understand the value of our customers across multiple transactions and know which of them are most important to us overall. Our customers are getting better at this, understanding that there is not an infinite supply of new customers and retention deserves attention. This insight leads to the next of Kotler’s issues;
  2. Lifetime Value – measure the value of a customer over multiple transactions, in fact over the lifetime of their relationship with you. Many organisations still struggle with this. The need for quarterly results focuses the mind of many customers on what I call the ‘disembodied sale’, thinking that sales exist independently of customers that you want relationships with and whose value you can measure over time.
  3. Customer Share – as opposed to market share. Is there a market without customers?
  4. Target Marketing – sell to all of your chosen customers since selling to all customers is not realistic.
  5. Individualization – treat different customers differently. Don Peppers said this first I think, in 1993.
  6. Customer Databasesdata about customers rather / in addition to data about sales. The enabler of modern marketing, most customers are working on this, some have it under control but they are in the minority.
  7. Integrated marketing communications – there are so many channels for customers to choose from, it is important to balance and integrate your usage to match theirs. We agree.
  8. Channels as partners everyone who represents your product to customers is a partner, not a passive channel.
  9. Every employee a marketer – your brand is the sum total of all customer interactions. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a new and useful tool to measure how well you are doing with customers and employees at achieving this virtuous circle of customer and employee advocacy.
  10. Model-based decision making – more commonly called data driven marketing. Our solid believe is that ‘you should not guess when you can know’.

What do you think, have we made progress?

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