Guilt nips at every big business marketer’s heels. Over the course of a long and distinguished career in the trade of telling intricate lies for money, the nips add up. The conscience yearns to justify the work. Luckily, experience renders the aging marketer adept at lying not just to others, but to the self.
Hence, we see the latest work by Philip Kotler, S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Having spent 50 years as one of the profession’s leading gurus, Kotler is now trying to console himself with the most outlandish fantasies about how big business marketing is supposedly about to enter into “Marketing 3.0,” an age in which maximizing profits for shareholders will no longer be the sole aim:
Marketing 3.0: From Products to Customers to the Human Spirit, Kotler’s new book—one of more than 40 that he has written, including Marketing Management, which has become the preeminent marketing textbook and now is in its 13th edition—describes an evolution in marketing from a narrow, rational process built around a corporate mission (1.0), to a visionary process defined around winning hearts and minds (2.0), to a new values-based discipline that seeks to support the spirit and soul of humanity (3.0).
“A company that’s mission is to make a good product efficiently and profitably, that’s all there is to a marketing 1.0 company. No broader agenda. … Customers need toothpaste and the company delivers. It’s a vertical view,” Kotler says. He sees marketing 2.0 companies as more horizontal and more visionary. “These excellent companies delight the consumer and their employees,” he says. “Thee 2.0 company appeals not only to the mind of the buyer, but to their heart.”
Marketing 3.0 organizations, meanwhile, play at an entirely different level. They’re “values-driven,” Kotler says. “I’m not talking about being value-driven. I’m talking about ‘values’ plural, where values amount to caring about the state of the world.”
And, by the way, check out how deeply serious Kotler is about all this. His examples of 3.0 corporations?
Kotler points to General Electric, which hopes to do well by doing good and profit by solving societal problems in the energy field. He points to IBM and its advertised agenda of making the world a “smarter planet.”
Yes, GE and IBM — two charities in action!