New Wave Marketeer

Combining products of Western mind, Asian heart and Indonesian soul, marketing guru Hermawan Kartajaya never stops innovating his ideas and thoughts. His contribution to a brilliant concept is bringing Indonesia to the international marketing arena.

The concept is a marketing evolution that highlights the importance of doing marketing with meaning. The concept is sophisticatedly detailed in “Marketing 3.0: From Product to Customer to the Human Spirit,” the book Hermawan wrote with Philip Kotler, a distinguished professor of international marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University in the U.S.

Launched at a gala event at the Kellogg School of Management on June 15, 2010, the book advises that savvy in marketing requires not only Intellectual Quotient, but no less importantly, Emotional Spiritual Quotient.

“As human beings, customers rely on their mind, heart and spirit when making the purchase of products and services. So, it is crucial to balance intellectual and spiritual in order to achieve a win-win solution for both buyer and seller,” explains president and founder of MarkPlus.

Hermawan, who is also tri-founder of Philip Kotler Center, notes that the technology evolution has changed the face of marketing. During the industrial age, industrial machinery was the core technology.

Recalling the famous saying of Henry Ford, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he or she wants as long as it is black”, Hermawan says that product-centric era led to the birth of Marketing 1.0. Marketing was no more than just an art of selling, persuasion and in the worse case, cheating.

Along with the rapidity of information and technology, globalization has reshaped the world and marketing has correspondingly evolved. Marketing is getting more advanced as technology allows people to easily access to information at the click of a button, Hermawan adds expressing his amazement. “The product value is defined by consumer. And this customer-centric era is what Marketing 2.0 translates.”

Even though Marketing 2.0 is still playing its crucial role in today’s marketing arena, Hermawan believes that something is missing. “We all live in the cutting-edge computerized epoch where everything has become more and more transparent. Customers are nowadays starting to use their minds, hearts and spirits to evaluate offerings. Looking at this fact, I was determined to start writing the book “Marketing 3.0.”
Behind the idea of Marketing 3.0 is the human-centric era where consumers should be treated as human beings who are credible, connected and creative. “This is what I call “3C,” he says while gesturing in excitement.

The 3C in marketing cannot be feasibly achieved unless attached with the spiritual elements of being honest and sincere. “It’s time that the world should focus on doing business with a heart,” he avers.

Born in Surabaya, Hermawan came from humble roots. As a youth, he had to support his family while building up savings to study at the Surabaya Institute of Technology (ITS) before eventually graduated with economics degree from University of Surabaya.

While taking his full-time job, Hermawan signed up for a distance-learning course program with the University of Strathclyde in England. During the program, he had to take the examinations every six months in Singapore before earning his master’s degree. “That’s where I enrolled in international marketing with Philip Kotler.”

His labor of love began in 1989 where he established MarkPlus, the Southeast Asia-based marketing professional services firm.

Hermawan has successfully taken MarkPlus to the peak of success with its offices not only in Jakarta and some cities in the archipelago, but also other countries such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City.

Throughout his career life, Hermawan has written a number of books that are worth reading. Among them are “Think ASEAN!”, “Attracting Investor: A Marketing Approach to Finding Funds for Your Business”, “Repositioning Asia: From Bubble to Sustainable Economy”, “Grow with Character” and the recent “Marketing 3.0.”

Hermawan is indeed one of the acclaimed 50 gurus who have shaped the future of marketing worldwide. He is a unique combination of a thinker of strategic business and marketing concept, as well as a practitioner.

Keen on sharing his know-how to public, Hermawan is looking forward to the official launch of the world’s first marketing and sales museum in Ubud, Bali on May 27 this year.

“The launch date was deliberately chosen because the day would be Philip Kotler’s 80th birthday and 2011 is the year when Ubud celebrates its 1000th anniversary,” Hermawan says.

“Hermawan is to Asian marketing what Philip Kotler is to global marketing,” according to Warren J. Keegan, a U.S. based strategic marketing consultant from Keegan & Company LLC.

The collaboration of Hermawan and Philip is surely one of the greatest assets in the realm of marketing. Their dedication to the making of Marketing 3.0 has built a concept for new wave marketing. The concept of connecting product to customer and human spirit began at MarkPlus five years ago. And the world will soon witness the rise of Marketing 3.0.

By Aulia R. Sungkar. Published in HighEnd, March 2011 edition.

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