Monday, November 23, 2015

Jab They Failed - The fall of Lord Voldemort || Vinay Jain || IIM Shillong || September October 2015 editionhp


We have analyzed the failure of many products and services till now but let us do something more exciting this time. We will analyze why the greatest dark wizard of all time lost against a 17 year old wizard who wasn’t even half as talented and powerful as he was, from the marketing perspective of course. 

Rise of Lord Voldemort: 

Voldemort is our product and let us see how he made himself so popular. For starters Voldemort
understood what marketing was very clearly. He knew that it was a process by which companies create value for the customers and build customer relationships. His customers were his followers and were called Death Eaters. 

Voldemort offered a world where wizards will rule the muggles and only Pure Bloods will be a part of wizard world (Value proposition). His only competitor was Albus Dumbledore who offered a world where muggles and Wizards co-existed harmoniously and no discriminations between Purebloods and other wizards (Half-bloods and muggle borns). Some wizards agreed with Voldemort’s views so Voldemort had to make sure they became his loyal supporters (Brand Loyalists). He therefore, created strong bonds with them by showing his magical prowess which dazzled them and then used fear of punishment (Cruciatus Curse) to make sure they don’t become defectors (Customer Relationship Management)

He also divided the human existence into four groups based on the magic in them:
1) Muggles 
2) Pure-Bloods 
3) Half-Bloods
4) Muggle-Borns (Segmentation)

He wanted the Pure-Bloods and the Half-Bloods to follow him and used ways to make them follow him (Targeting). Also, Voldemort portrayed himself as the savior of the wizarding community who would bring a new order where Wizards won’t have to hide from muggles and can live openly (Positioning)

Voldemort isn’t even his real name, he was born with the name Tom Riddle. He hated muggles so much that he removed his muggle father’s name (Tom Riddle) and gave himself a new name which reinforced his belief that he preached that Wizards are superior to Muggles (Brand Consistency). Tom Riddle was a name but Lord Voldemort was more than a name, it represented many ideas and beliefs (Brand). Dark Lord, ‘He-who-must-not-be-named’, the Dark Mark (a skull with a snake coming out of the mouth), the death eaters, all of these brought Lord Voldemort to the minds of People (Brands Imagery). This was his way of making people more aware of what he stands for (Branding strategy). 

He also made sure to have an inner circle who were his most loyal followers who also had the responsibility of garnering more followers (Sales Force). They were sent to recruit Giants, Dementors and other magical creatures to be on his side by offering those creatures gifts and other short term incentives (Sales promotion)

Despite of such a strong Marketing Strategy Voldemort couldn’t win against his only competitor Albus Dumbledore. Let us see why. 

Fall of Lord Voldemort: 

Voldemort offered something that most of the wizarding community didn’t want. He was under the impression that he will be able to make them his followers with his might (Production concept of marketing) which obviously didn’t work. His proposal also didn’t appeal to a lot of witches and wizards because in return for their freedom they had to part with their humanity (wrong Pricing). He also thought that he knew everything there is to know about magic but he was obviously mistaken as he didn’t know about magic that involved Love, sacrifice. 

He also was unaware about the deathly Hallows and hence couldn’t really understand how the elder wand actually works which proved fatal in the end (Lack of market information). He also focused on only himself and pictured a future where he will always be there to satisfy the needs of his followers of maintaining a wizarding order where Wizards rule. He thought that the followers wanted him but the truth was that they wanted a free world where wizards could live openly and rule the muggles (Marketing Myopia). They wouldn’t have cared even if they got it without him. And therefore he never came up with solutions to satisfy the needs without him being there. 

His competitor Dumbledore on the other hand was wiser than him and made sure that even he wasn’t there the needs of his followers be satisfied of a world where muggles and wizards live harmoniously. He therefore made sure that Harry Potter and his friends continue to do this even after his death. 


You may be Apple, Microsoft, Reliance or the TATA group. You might think that you are too big to fail and may overlook things because of your confidence that you have the financial muscle to always come back. This is a very flawed strategy as we have seen that with small mistakes you might fail. So always be careful of the assumptions you make about the market and your customers. Market Research is something that should be used extensively to make sure your chance of succeeding increase. It is like Dumbledore said “for the greater good”.

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