Why CMOs Rarely Become CEOs?

Last week I was with a marketing professor who lamented that in his interactions with public policy makers, he observed that they did not respect marketing. In my book, Marketing as Strategy, I presented data to demonstrate that executives who had grown up in the marketing function rarely made it to the CEO position. For…

Discovering the Second World: Mexico, Peru & Thailand

As a schoolboy, the terms first, second, and third world were in frequent use. The developed countries and Japan were then considered “first world” because of their political and economic dominance, while Africa, Asia, and Latin America were dubbed as “third world”. This categorization was never academically defensible, but it captured popular imagination. Since I…

Can You “Manufacture” Customer Service? Oh United!

Many of you must have seen the video of the United Airlines customer service fiasco, where a passenger was forcibly removed by the Chicago Police from the aircraft after being boarded. At the last moment, United required four seats for their own pilots who needed to get to the destination. So much for “flying the…

Can B2B Companies Evolve into B2C Companies?

The Financial Times recently featured the Chinese giant Huawei and its success in becoming the world’s third largest smartphone company. This is truly a remarkable achievement for Huawei. As articulated in the Brand Breakout book (co-authored with J-B Steenkamp), evolving from a B2B company into a consumer company is not easy, especially for a company…

Is everyone trying to be someone they are not?

Two weeks ago, I concluded my blog with “everyone is trying to be someone they are not”. Some of you must have realized by now that I often take deliberately provocative positions. This helps unfreeze others as they feel compelled to stake an opposing view. It’s good to stir up the pot. So, as expected,…

In India, nothing is too much trouble

One of the remarkable things that strikes visitors, especially foreigners, about India is the warmth of the people one encounters. Individuals think nothing about dropping everything and going out of their way to help you without any expectation of reciprocity. They even get embarrassed if you so much as thank them for their generosity.

The Art of Seduction

Someone once told me that Machiavelli said the art of seduction is telling good looking people they are intelligent, and intelligent people they are good looking. I have no idea if Machiavelli expounded on this subject, but the advice is truly Machiavellian.

India: Demographic Dividend or Demographic Bomb?

This week, I closed my time in India as a resident and moved back to London. Those who know me well are aware of my deep love for my country of birth. I can never really leave India. My apartment in Calcutta will always be there as my home. Yet, as an academic I must…

Learning from Executives’ War Stories

In my previous blog, I had argued for why faculty at the leading business schools in the world tend to be researchers with PhDs rather than executives. Some of the responses that I received made me realize that a segment of readers had misunderstood my point on two fronts.

Should Business School Faculty be Executives?

MBA students are often puzzled why faculty at top business schools are not either current or former executives with so-called “real world experience”. Instead, academics with PhDs teach the next generation of executives. The overwhelming majority of faculty members have never been entrepreneurs or executives with any meaningful business experience. The higher ranked the business…

Is Management a Noble Profession?

Last week I spoke of marketers as liars. This week’s blog post is to atone for that. One consequence of the 2008 financial crisis, the deleterious impact of which on employment and incomes still persist, is that it tarnished the image of bankers and managers. I would be hard pressed to defend bankers, even if…

Two Biggest Lies in Marketing

There is a common perception that all marketers are liars! I am not going to comment on this. Instead, I will focus on the two biggest lies that I have observed in marketing using an example that was elaborated in my book Value Merchants (co-authored with James Anderson and Jim Narus) targeted to business marketing…