Saturday, September 4, 2010
Markathon February 2010
Many people often ask me, why “Markathon” is the name of your magazine! With a big smile I reply back – “It’s a blend of marketing and marathon, a platform for sustainable marketing strategies; A winner in the long run”. But the curiosity refuses to die down as to how marketing strategies can be made sustainable, when companies are looking for quarter end results? Well, it necessarily is not, as explained in the rest of the editorial. It is a philosophy of marketing which suggests, as marathon is a test of endurance, marketing strategies built for the future, distinguishes you from the crowd. Definitely short term promotional measures are essential to keep the customer engaged, but companies succeed only when their marketing acumen has clearly identified the gist of the consumer requirements or the jobs to be done and create a business model to tap the need throughout his lifetime. Hindustan Unilever might have been impacted time to time by our home grown companies like Cavinkare, Wipro, Ghari or Nirma taking over its market share, but HUL’s business model is built around marketing strategies which go far beyond what the other companies have ever thought about. Companies such as HUL, P&G or J&J do not just create products but also innovate new markets, categories and even consumers too! They build complete solutions which are in line with the simple principle of Marketing Guru Ted Levitt that “Consumers do not want a drill; they need a square inch of hole.” Especially HUL’s marketing strategy in conjunction with its distribution reach through programs such as Shakti can unsettle the competitors for good in the long run. Similar phenomenon can be observed in the Indian Automobile Industry, where Suzuki (MUL)’s unbeatable might is centered on crafting a perfect value proposition for an average Indian and delivering it proactively where ever he goes. These companies are patient for growth but impatient for profit.
On the eve of the Auto Expo, we decided to dedicate this issue to the wilderness happening around the Indian Auto market. In the aftermath of the dotcom bubble and the recession, companies have shifted their base towards some unknown territories like India, China, Latin America, also known as Rapidly Developing Economies. And as far as I can see, it’s the auto companies who have migrated the most. The recent auto expo has highlighted not only the faith of these companies in the pockets of Indian consumers but also their eagerness to mould themselves to the latter’s taste. Right from GM to BMW, Tata to Hero Honda all are now flying high on the strength of Indians which is fuelled by a perfect confluence of economics and politics. Riding on the recovery path of 2009, built by the foot soldiers of the Indian economy i.e. rural India, Indian Automobile Industry grew modestly at a rate of 15-21% in the last 8 months and is now ready to turn the unfulfilled dreams into reality, dreamt of during the economic boom of 03-07, with rapid facility expansions and new product innovations.
I welcome Mr. Peter Kronschnabl, MD BMW India as the guest of this special issue of Markathon. Mr. Peter is a perfect example of a turnaround CEO, who within a period of 8 years helped BMW sky-rocket to the numero uno position of the Indian luxury car market. The interview revolves around BMW’s gateway to success, their marketing formula and also the agility of his leadership, which has been the most crucial factor in BMW’s India conquest. I also welcome Mr. Harish Bijoor to this special issue of Markathon. He is the man behind Tata Coffee’s exponential growth through his shrewd and uncanny marketing strategies. His presence here will definitely help us recalibrate our marketing wisdom.
Dear Friends, we the founding members of Markathon are at the fag end of our Shillong days and now ready to pass on the baton to a new and vibrant team. We started the magazine with a dream of making a mark in the field of marketing and we strongly believe we have achieved the same to a great extent. Now Markathon has become one of the most popular marketing magazines among Indian B-Schools. This would not have materialized without your support and encouragement. We improved with every issue solely because of the compliments and suggestions received from your end. We take this opportunity to thank the whole B-School fraternity of the country, especially to those participants who had faith in us and sent their masterpieces to be published in our magazine. We would also like to thank the faculty and the administration of IIM Shillong for their inspiration and the support to excel. Definitely it’s the first batch of IIM Shillong that has made this endeavor possible and fruitful.
Moreover this achievement will remain incomplete without acknowledging the guidance and support of our beloved Prof. S. Shajahan for his inspiration and for encouraging us to promote industry academia interaction and helping us throughout the journey. I would also like to thank Prof. D K Agrawal for his support. I must congratulate and also thank the entire founding team of Markathon for completing this journey successfully. Saurav, Dilpreet, Soumyasanta, Ritul, Pranav and Parul have been instrumental for the present form of the magazine. Here I would like to make a special mention of Saurav, Dilpreet, Ritul and Pranav for their perseverance and support in every phase of this journey. Nonetheless the magazine would not have been in the present form without the creative intelligence of Soumyasanta. Thank you very much Somu! I would like to place on record my heartfelt gratitude to certain individuals who not only helped me but have also influenced this initiative directly or indirectly, they are Mithila Palla, Shreya Bhattacharya and Swatee Nayak.
Friends, as every new beginning comes from the end of some other beginning, we bid adieu and let the new journey begin. We are confident that the new team comprising of Debanjana, Kaushik, Keshav, Priyanka, Samita, Samrat, Saurabh and Varshik will definitely render you with amazing marketing insights and take Markathon to greater heights. I request you all to shower the same affection and love as you have done to us. They not only have immense enthusiasm for marketing but also have absolute dedication to work, compassion and a gentle heart.
So friends finally I would like to end on the same note as the beginning, by reiterating John T Garret’s words which I wrote in the very first editorial, back in April 2009,
“Even a Marathon Begins with a Single Step”
With a heavy heart and a dream of bright future ahead, I am signing off.
Yours Editor on Behalf of the Founding Team
Asit Kumar Jain
at 9:38 PM