How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

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Location: India

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Book review: 'Lateral marketing' - I

We have to prepare reviews of relevant books for Marketing class. Tomorrow is our group's turn and I will be reviewing 'Lateral Marketing' by Philip Kotler and Fernando Trias de Bes (John Wiley & Sons, 2003). Am putting up the review here:

Motivation:
The book's motivation lies in the changing marketing environment that most companies face, especially in more mature, developed markets. This environment is increasingly characterized by a spate of brands within any given category or sub-category, more fickle customer
preferences, shorter product life-cycles, hyperfragmented markets, etc. In the face of all this, how do you bring in innovative thinking in the marketing process? The repeated use of traditional (or vertical) thinking will only serve to fragment the markets further. Therefore,
you need to think out of the box. How to do that? That is the subject of the book.

Objective:
The main objective of the book is to construct a framework for 'lateral marketing' - a process for systematically developing breakthrough marketing ideas. For constructing this, the book heavily draws upon Edward de Bono's model of 'lateral thinking'. Indeed, Kotler dedicates the book to de Bono and other thinkers on creativity.

Structure:
As one can expect from Kotler, the book has been structured extremely well. The authors' clarity of thought comes through in the structure. Starting with the book's motivation, the authors go on to enumerate the strengths and weaknesses of the traditional marketing process.
The methods of creating innovations using traditional and the lateral marketing thinking are then shown (the latter using 11 different examples to give us a feel of how lateral marketing creates new markets or categories rather than segmenting existing markets further).
Finally, the major topic of the book - a formal method to do lateral marketing is detailed using lots of examples. The book ends with a brief comment on implementing such a process.

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