A Case Study on TCS in Philip Kotler's latest South Asian edition of "Principles of Marketing"
The 13th edition of the Principles of Marketing, the seminal work of Professor Dr. Philip Kotler, is dedicated to the South Asian Perspective. Through the decades Kotler’s work has held the fort as the primary text on marketing for business schools all over the world. In the 13th edition Kotler has shared the credits in equal measure with co-authors Professor Dr. Gary Armstrong (University of North Carolina), Professor Dr. Prafulla Y. Agnihotri (Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta), and Professor Dr. Ehsan ul Haque (Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore).
The TCS Case Study appears prominently as the curtain-raiser of Chapter 12 titled ‘Marketing Channels – Delivering Customer Value’ on page 288. A special reference is also made to the TCS websitewww.sentimentsexpress.com <http://www.sentimentsexpress.com> in Chapter 17 that deals with Direct and Online Marketing on page 431. The TCS Story is narrated in great detail, and in crisp and clear terms, and presents TCS as an agile and innovative company “… that has dramatically changed the distribution choices and expectations of both business and home consumers forever.”
This is high order validation for TCS from Kotler & Co, if any validation was needed after the conduct and publication in 2005 of the Harvard Business School’s Case Study on TCS. Prepared by Professor Dr. Walter Kuemmerle, Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School where he teaches the popular MBA course International Entrepreneurial Finance, the TCS Case Study was published in his formidable compilation titled ‘Case Studies in International Entrepreneurship – Managing and Financing Ventures in the Global Economy’ and contained in the section ‘Growth & Harvesting.
Principles of Marketing – South Asian Perspective is an exhaustive compilation spread over 20 Chapters and three Appendices contained in over 500 pages that cover the entire gamut of the marketing discipline. While I am still in the process taking it all in, the one thing that has stood out in my read so far is the spin that the co-authors have given to an area of business that has increasingly captured the attention of management all over the world and become a central issue in the business world’s search for efficiency and competitive advantage. I am talking about Supply Chain.
The section that immediately follows the TCS Case Study is titled ‘Supply Chains and the Value Delivery Network’, and in it the co-authors assert that ‘the term Supply Chain may be too limited. It takes a make-and-sell view of the business. It suggests that raw materials, productive inputs, and factory capacity should serve as the starting point for market planning.’ They suggest that ‘a better term would be Demand Chain because it suggests a sense-and-respond view of the market.’ Under this view, planning starts with the needs of target customers, to which the company responds by organizing a chain of resources and activities with the goal of creating customer value.
Even as the reader is adjusting to this challenge to a long established terminology, the co-authors challenge their own creation! Demand Chain view of the market may be too limited as well, they say, because it takes a step-by-step linear view of purchase -production-consumption activities. ‘With the advent of the Internet and other technologies, however, companies are forming more numerous and complex relationships with other firms…. Most large companies today are engaged in building and managing a continuously evolving value delivery network made up of the company, suppliers, distributors and ultimately customers who ‘partner’ with each other to improve the performance of the entire system.’
Ehsan ul Haque is Associate Professor of Marketing at the Suleman Dawood School of Business at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Engineering & Technology , Lahore, and spent some time in the oil service industry in Pakistan and the Sultanate of Oman before pursuing his MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Haque received his PhD in marketing from the University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Haque has played a founding role in the establishment of two important institutions in Pakistan – LUMS where he spent 20 years in a variety of administrative positions culminating in dean of the business school; and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) of which he was the founder CEO. He has been involved in consulting work for the public and private corporate sector and international agencies like the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program.
For this particular effort it took Dr. Haque one and a half years to collect the data from managers, and he had to leave out a lot of case studies to keep the size and cost of the book in check. In response to a number of questions posed long distance from Karachi to Dr. Haque in Lahore, he had the following to say. “In Pakistan the faculty has to reinvent the wheel due to paucity of resources. Marketing is about making value exchanges possible, and is specially crucial for societies with less empowered consumers. Bringing the distribution cost down is an essential part of marketing, and the marketing function does not add to the cost of the product. There are a large number of companies that go bankrupt in response to consumer apathy. Demand arousal as a result of marketing is not as lethal as it is made out to be. The job of the marketer is to educate the consumer on his available choices. The masses are not morons and have the capacity to decide. There is a need for strong consumer protection, no doubt. If the marketing manager does not have the interest of his customer at heart, then he or she is a swindler. Integrity, and giving value for money are huge issues.”