Kotler offers marketers no real insight…

You report that “Philip Kotler caused uproar at Marketing Forum with ‘TV ads a waste of money’ claim” (MW September 25).

There was criticism from the audience but for different reasons. Most of us were expecting some interesting new insights to the issues facing marketers. Instead, it looked as though Professor Kotler had dusted down an old PowerPoint presentation and rolled out the old mantra of precision marketing.

We all know that one-to-one marketing is more measurable, that PR and guerrilla marketing have a role to play, that we need to make promotional spending more accountable and that call centres are important. The problem with theoreticians is that hard cold logic doesn’t always make sense. Precision marketing theory would probably have the likes of Prada and Gucci whipped out of the pages of Vogue and going for a more direct approach. Sounds great, but in the real world it’s a non-starter.

So what did we conclude from the sage’s words? We’re still strugg-ling to put theory into practice in a lot of areas. Marketers need to be more financially literate. Marketing is still not central in most company cultures and marketing departments tend to be left controlling the one P: promotion. All true, but not new.

And TV advertising? We’ve seen TV advertising work time and time again. Frankly, I’ve even seen some pretty pedestrian creative ideas on TV build market share faster than any other medium.

I’ve read, admired and advocated many of Kotler’s theories over the years, but in 2003 I expected a little bit more.

John Wood

Managing director

bds beechwood

London W1

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here