ESSENTIALS in Marketing Management Practice, by Kola Afolabi has four sections, each containing two chapters. Section One focuses on “Professional Selling Skills.” Section two deals with “Practical Sales Management.” Section three addresses “Product (Brand) Management” while Section four takes care of “Strategic Marketing Management.”
Written by an insider, who blended theory with professional practice, the book is awash with 43 illustrative diagrams, 36 sales procurement guides, 19 case studies and 46 discussion questions – all intended to drive home the author’s points, trigger the reader’s thoughts on the subjects treated and sensitize the readers to the prevailing situation in marketing studies and practice.
Afolabi’s Essentials in Marketing Management Practice has thrown a challenge on the popular phrase: The Marketing Mix. At any level of study and practice anywhere in the world today, the notion of the Marketing Mix is not understood beyond the Four Ps of product, price, place and promotion. But Kola Afolabi has discovered four additional P’s (i.e. process, perception, people and physical evidence) which bring The Marketing Mix to 8 Ps now.
Because these new elements pose a challenge, the author takes time to shed adequate light on each of them. His explanations are not only revealing but also convincing. For instance, (i) Process: This element, according to the author, is a company’s service speed. For example in 1980, some smart financial institutions came up with computer banking, thereby fast-tracking their service delivery to the amazement of their customers. This was against the erstwhile conventional snail-speed banking that required a customer to wait for the better part of a working day to get a transaction through.
The new generation banks improved the process with online banking. This accomplishes service delivery almost at the speed of lightening. The original Marketing Mix did not consider process as a fundamental aspect of marketing that required a special focus or study. (ii) The same attitude applies to perception, which the author describes as the customers’ own rating of a company, product or service. (iii) Physical evidence: This is the performance record of a business/product/service. (v) People, the author argues, represents the premium placed on ascertaining whether the right or the wrong personnel is put in charge of product/service delivery by a company.
The book is an invaluable compendium of ideas, facts and figures on the principles and practice of marketing management. It elaborately treats fundamental issues relating to the roles of all the stakeholders in marketing. These range from Identification of Prospects (customers) to products demonstration and building future sales. Chapter one particularly highlights several types of customer – objections (including the objective, the subjective, the malicious etc) and offers 10 helpful strategies to handle them.
Chapter two presents the “Essential Sales Personality.” It highlights his sterling qualities and gives 10 commandments he must obey to propel his sales force in the field. That is not all. It identifies 15 sales pitfalls the marketer must avoid to succeed.
In chapter three, the author exhaustively discusses “Sales Management System & Strategy,” emphasising development paradigms, policy formulation, sales personnel guiding principles, training and manpower development and of course, market forecasts-techniques that yield high business dividends.
Essentials In Marketing Management Practice prescribes the cure, which guarantees effective time management and territorial control to the marketer.
This book is a greater asset even to the casual reader, not to talk of academics, students and practitioners, who have very high stakes in marketing. Chapter 5 chronicles, the author’s research findings, field experience and explanations on products and brand management, packaging decisions/functions, new product and adoption process, dangers of brand change, the market-place as a “war zone” to business competitors and the role of advertising and public relations in marketing practice. It marshals 12 strong reasons for product’s failure and provides 18 powerful antidotes.
Chapter six discusses tangible and intangible goods and services presented as “services marketing.” It provides a road-map on the development and management of business concepts. How does a company providing service marketing become moribund? According to the author, it is when there is overbooking of services. That is: when customers’ demand outweighs supply. This results in sharp practices by service provider’s employees through their exploitation of the customers.
In chapter seven, the author, in two parts, takes business managers through the issues involved in the dynamics of Nigerian business environment. Part “A” deals with definitions and discussion of certain terms that are sometimes used interchangeably. Part “B” dwells on the business variables in Nigeria’s geo-political, socio-cultural and economic environment.
The closing chapter addresses market segmentation or target market strategy in detail. For the purpose of effective utilisation and value maximisation of available resources, the author advises service providers to pay attention to their sub-markets on the basis of, geographic demographics, personality demographics, behaviouristic demographics; and psychographic demographics or consumers’ life styles.
He places emphasis on population density, locations/territorial zones, transport network, climate, religion, educational status, economic/commercial outlook and people’s values.
The book did not fail to make reference to the relevance of information technology (IT) to marketing management. It attempts to discuss how the internet and other components of IT are helping to achieve maximum business successes over manual field operation like personal selling approach, which cannot reach millions of target audiences around the world in a record time.
In determining the chances of a company’s products/services in the market, the author stresses the need for each organisation to undertake a critical evaluation of its current position in terms of strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats technically known as SWOT analysis. The book offers a lavished explanation of the SWOT analysis.
According to Afolabi, an organisation may adopt the strategy of “jump-starting” by taking the market leader “head-on” in all fronts in terms of product innovation, conceptualisation, price war and marketing communication mix war. This is with a view to displacing the leader from the No.1 position. Doing so is, however, fraught with danger. It can backfire as proved by one of the case studies in this book.
From the foregoing case study and the 18 others of its kind contained in his book, Kola Afolabi’s efforts are a product of his cutting – edge marketing research and studies reinforced by his pragmatic field operations. His “essentials in marketing management practice” is a brilliant fusion of marketing theories, precepts and practice.
The author took great pains to make the book “reader-friendly.” He registered all his points in clear, succinct and lucid language. Every chapter keeps the reader’s response stimulus quite functional from the beginning to the end.
This publication is essential to the academics, the marketing practitioners (in both formal and informal sectors), products/services consumers (corporate or individual) and students of marketing. The author presents the customers as the “king” in any business… the central focus of marketing. This means that “customers are the greatest assets of a business, while the quality of customer-service is the key to any organisation’s long-term success.” Kola Afolabi’s ability to communicate with, and carry every category of readers along is a big mark of scholarship. His vote for high-quality printing materials for the book also affirms his high regard for the readers. Essentials in Marketing Management Practice offers the best in service delivery.
Kola Afolabi has chronicled the true success story of his enviable career in marketing.