Featured as one of the most distinguished 4 gurus of all time, the most eminent expert of the world in strategic implementation of marketing, a pioneer in digital marketing, author of the holy book on marketing, “Marketing Genius”, Professor Philip Kotler is an academician who gives the real meaning of marketing, gains a well-deserved prestige and vision, is regarded as a doyen of the industry.
Having numerous articles on marketing in the most important broadcasting organizations of the world, Philip Kotler shared his opinions about the future of the world and companies after the Covid 19 pandemic. In his written interview that he shared with many media organs including Expo Haber, Mr. Kotler emphasized the importance of the necessity of focusing on profitability and making more useful activities for humans and the world after the pandemic.
What is your take on Corona pandemic that is spreading around the world?
Modern man has been raised to believe that he can conquer nature. But in the end, nature has the capacity to conquer us. Germs and viruses are part of life. We must learn to live with germs and viruses and to control them.
Most people around the world want to return to the lives they had. But for so many, their lives were not that good. They were poor, hungry, overworked. We need to shape a new and better normal, one where more people have an opportunity to live a full and satisfying life.
What is the impact of the Corona pandemic on corporate management?
Businesses must do what they can to survive in the face of losing customers, having employees without work who should be paid, many bills to pay to utility companies, and impatient and unlending banks. Companies have to decide how to hold on to their customers, which workers to furlough or lay off, how many suppliers and distributors to pay or drop, how many communities needs their support. How to make these decisions without hurting the long run value of their brand and reputation.
What should management do to keep company to stay alive? What are the important keys at this time for managers reviewing/rethinking their strategy for the future?
A company has three choices: 1. to continue doing what it has been doing, 2. to pivot to a new strategy, or 3. to sell their company or go into bankruptcy. I favor choice 2. Adapt and be resilient and creative. Form a brainstorming group to distinguish all the possible courses of action. Chosoe the course that serves your customers and employees best. Make adjustments in your marketing program, your prices, and your distribution channels that leave you in the best position when things get better and you can turn on your power again.
Please give a message to the managers facing these tough times. Could you provide some thought/words for them to build resilience?
A leader of a company and managers all the way down must present reality to their employees. Describe the real situation, and show a realistic plan for saving the company and returning to prosperity.
I had the good fortune to follow how CEO Shigetaka Komari of Fujifilm managed to save his company, a company whose major product – photo film - died. He shared the reality with his employees and recommended that they stay on board because Fujifilm had so many hidden treasures that could blossom into new businesses. CEO Komari and I just published the miracle account of how Fujifilm grew even bigger under his leadership in our new book called “Never Stop—Winning through Innovation.”
What role does marketing play during the crisis time like this? How should marketing activities be different from the normal time?
Companies will need to rethink their product and service strategies and their media planning and relationships, given the major shifts in consumer and competitor behavior and in government regulations. They need to review their value proposition, product lines, market segments, pricing, channels, and geographical areas. Companies will see a continued need to invest in social programs and in personalization to attract and retain loyal customers.