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Friday, 18 February 2011






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Marketing and selling as a discipline:

Use five human senses to make true sense of business

Marketing & Management Consultant, Chartered Marketer, CIM U.K.

Marketing as a discipline has evolved over the years from Product Centric Marketing to Customer Centric Marketing to Societal Marketing. It is widely believed that Marketing as a discipline, originated in the U.S.A. Of course, today it is a global discipline, respected for the contribution made to organizational success, and even countries. Time tested marketing concepts are absolutely essential in today’s global business environment.

I will endeavour to share some concepts in this brief article.

Experiential Marketing

Essentially this means creating a total ‘experience’, which affects the body, soul and mind. This concept is very popular in product and services marketing. For example, take the Ritz Carlton which is a 7 Star hotel chain. The Ritz Carlton prides itself in providing their guests an unique experience, that will captivate them totally.

Sensory Marketing

The human senses have long been ignored in marketing, despite our awareness of their great significance. The five human senses are of crucial importance for an individual’s experience of different purchase and consumption processes. Sensory Marketing is not about the masses or the segment; it is about the individual. This aspect is important to remember.

Take the example of Starbucks. As you enter you are welcomed by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. (SMELL). The relaxing music (SOUND), is selected with precision and care by the Starbucks team to create the ‘Sound of Starbucks.’ The green and yellow of the interior, together with pleasant lighting, offers a soothing and restful visual experience. (SIGHT). Add the unique taste (TASTE) of freshly ground coffee and you have a total sensory experience.

Shopper Marketing

With the rapid growth of the retail industry, Shopper Marketing has emerged. It is all about understanding how one’s target consumers behave as shoppers. Shopper Marketing assumes that consumers and shoppers are not always - or even often - the same. For instance, a shopper for pet food products is highly unlikely to be the consumer.

The overall process of Shopper Marketing is referred to as the 3 ‘S’ - Shelf, Shopper and Store.

Good examples in Sri Lanka include Glitz, ODEL, Mondy etc., All these retailers pay very special attention to shelf displays and merchandising, to attract shopper attention. They also keep their stores in really good shape, to create a great ambience for the shopper.

Green Marketing

This is also referred to as ‘Environmental Marketing.’ Green issues and marketing can work against each other. One wants you to consume less, the other more. One rejects consumerism, the other fuels it.

Green Marketing can be divided into three activity areas, namely;

Green - Having green commercial objectives only. For example, marketing products which are greener than alternatives.

Greener - Having green objectives as well as commercial objectives. Marketing itself achieves green objectives, for instance changing the way people use the product.

Greenest - Having cultural objectives, in addition to green and commercial objectives. For example, making new ways of life/living.

The Body Shop is an excellent example of Green Marketing. Mainly using recyclable containers and bio-degradable packaging, which create minimum environmental impact. Hybrid vehicles pioneered by Toyota, is another Green Marketing initiative. Hybrid vehicles do not pollute the environment and also reduce the carbon footprint.

Buzz Marketing

What is Buzz? Emanuel Rosen defies Buzz as infectious chatter, genuine, street level excitement about a hot new person, place or thing. Buzz is all the word-of-mouth about a brand.

With the advent of the Internet, Viral Marketing which is an off-shoot of Buzz Marketing, also appeared. If off line Buzz Marketing is infectious, then Viral Marketing is extremely contagious.

Take for example the launch of the Apple iPod. Buzz Marketing (and Viral Marketing) has done the marketing for Apple already!! People are buzzing with excitement and talking about the ‘single product revolution.’ The same can be said about the Samsung ‘Galaxy Tab.’

Mobile Marketing

Is the use of the mobile medium as a communication and entertainment channel between a brand and an end user. This is the only personal channel enabling spontaneous, direct, interactive and or targeted communications, any time, any place. This channel of marketing is for mobile devices, including handsets, PDAs and laptops. Communications include, SMS, MMS, WAP (Mobile Internet and Push Services) and full multimedia third generation (3 G) Services.

Many traditional marketing companies have adopted mobile marketing with great success. Marks & Spencer is a good example, as well as Walmart Departmental Stores. Even in Sri Lanka, traditional consumer marketing companies have used mobile marketing with great success.

Common marketing concepts

All modern marketers have realised the importance of personal, direct, interactive and quick communication, between their organizations and consumers. Marketing concepts such as mobile marketing, buzz marketing and sensory marketing open up the avenues for building closer relationships with customers. Of course, the power of ICT is being harnessed to the optimum.

Modern lifestyles with an emphasis on individualism on one hand, and digital collectivism on the other hand, provide marketers the opportunity to use modern marketing concepts for competitive advantage.


In this brief article, my objective was to educate the readers on contemporary marketing concepts. My advise is for Marketers to embrace these concepts, and implement them successfully. In a rapidly changing and complex world, old school theories may not deliver results. Hence, have the conviction to embrace change.

“My competitor stole my customers on the Internet.

I was asleep.” (Author)


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