The autobiography of Philip Kotler, father of marketing, has, among others, two interesting ideas.

The first is the impact of the net on marketing, which is twofold: it creates a new channel for promotion, in addition to television, radio, press, billboards, etc.; and a revolution in both marketing and management, in the way of doing both.

Kodak had a dominant position in photography (and film). Now mobile phones take pictures and printers reproduce them at home or in the office.

Digital has also revolutionized music (iTunes, MP3, peer exchange), cinema (Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, downloading movies), bookstores (Book Depository, Wook), the press (websites and digital newspapers) and general food and non-food retail (Amazon).

Other examples are occasional transportation (Uber), long-term transportation (the Relay Rides website allows you to rent a car from a private person who does not need it) and hospitality (Airbnb lists homeowners offering a bed for one night).

Zara’s business model with a few weeks between the design of a product and its placement in a store is facilitated by the net and higher education (except in the best universities) threatened by videos, classes and longer programs, for example MBAs, on the Internet.

The cell phone allows a customer in a store to check if there is a better price at another point of sale and Facebook and communities share experiences with brands and products.

In summary, the net not only 1) is a new communication channel, but also 2) kills some business models (Kodak), 3) seriously threatens others (universities) and 4) creates new competitors (Uber to taxis, Airbnb to motels), and consequent 5) opportunities (Relay Rides and Airbnb), 6) allows new business models (Zara) and 7) makes the customer more informed (mobile and net communities).

Death. threats. Competition. Opportunities. Modus operandi. And empowerment (of consumers).

Also interesting is P. Kotler’s analysis of demarketing, which although a half-century-old concept (introduced with the Harvard Business Review article: Demarketing, yes, demarketing), is now revivalist: using marketing not to sell more, but less.

How? Inverting the meaning of the four Ps (product, price, promotion and placement), whether in relation to transversal problems (tobacco and foods saturated in sugar, salt and fat), increasing problems (lack of water) or local problems (vodka consumption).

In the Middle East water consumption is the subject of demarketing through 1) designing products such as showers that consume less water, 2) raising the price, 3) decreasing availability in certain channels and 4) promotion shaming people of the waste.

And in Russia, the government could legislate a cap on vodka production, raise the price, restrict point of sale and publicize the drawbacks of overuse.

But reading Adventures in Marketing is not just a review of various topics. The book also conveys a lot of information about the author. A man not only decent but good.

When asked in the final interview if he is the father of marketing, Philip Kotler responds that one must remember its grandfather, Peter Drucker, with his unique “insights”: the purpose of a business is to create a client; in companies there are only two functions that create value (innovation and marketing), everything else is costs; etc.

Oscar Wilde said that for many people there are two kinds of disasters: their own failures and the successes of others.

Peter Drucker was hated, I repeat hated, by many university professors. Only a good man is able to recognize the qualities of others.

Jorge Sá

MBA Drucker School

PhD Columbia University

Jean Monnet Chair

Tenured Professor

Article published in 18th February 2022