Marketing is a tricky as well as puzzling subject to study. It refers to all activities a firm or company does to promote and sell products or services to consumers. Four Ps (product, price, place, and promotion), also known as 'marketing mix,' reflects the core of marketing. It seeks to take a product or service, identify its ideal consumers, and draw the consumers' attention to the product or service available. The definition and scope of marketing have changed over the time. Dr. Philip Kotler, known as 'marketing guru,' has revised the definition of marketing for a dozen of time since 1965. By doing so, he tries to accommodate new ideas and areas of marketing.
The challenge of defining the term 'marketing' and describing its functions in accordance with the change in time is lucidly described in Md Abdul Hamid's book titled Marketinger Sohozpath. Instead of writing a traditional text book, the professor of business administration at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), produces a book to decode the puzzles of marketing in a simple language with appropriate real-life examples. Books in simple and plain Bengali language presenting the theories and concepts of marketing are hardly available. Hamid has come up to fill the gap.
The writer presents a number of interesting dimensions of marketing in regards to some familiar things which will definitely strike the readers. For instance, he labelled late Humayun Ahmed, the popular fiction writer, as 'marketing guru of Bengal.' Every book of Humayan Ahmed was a business success. The publishers were ready to pay hefty sums as honorarium in advance to obtain the manuscript of the writer. Humayan inspired a large number of people to read books, instil vibration in the country's publication industry. Hamid opines that all these are nothing but outcome of smart marketing strategy. Ignoring the criticism of Humayan's writing quality on the benchmark of literature standard, Hamid shows that the popular writer skilfully applied market segmentation tool by creating characters like Misir Ali and Himu. Hamid says: "The modern marketing teaches that it is essential not only to occupy 'market shares' but also to 'win the hearts of the customers.' He had done it. His books got remarkable response even in Kolkata book fair and book stalls. At one time, hawkers of West Bengal used to sell books of Humayan Ahmed which is "the brightest example of success of any Bangladeshi writer" (P-83). By analysing Humayan Ahmed through the glass of marketing and suggesting to study the creative writer at marketing class, Hamid shows uniqueness of thinking. In this connection, he could have analysed the marketing strategy of Qazi Anwar Hussain, the eminent Bengali thriller writer and publisher. Anwar's Sheba Prokashoni is another bright example of successful marketing in Bangladesh.
While discussing different aspects of marketing, Hamid tries to link those with gradual change in socio-cultural arena of the country. That's why he mentions role of marketing in festivals like Pohela Boishakh, Bengali New Year. The writer points out this is the age of corporate culture when many things have changed. For instance, there was a time when children living in villages felt proud when they had visited a town. Now, children living in town feel proud visiting a village. "In a similar vein, Boishakhi festival of village farmers has turned into a matter of enjoyment for urban people. Getting tired of their daily mechanical lives, the urbanites now get down to roads once a year for becoming Bengali" (P-125). Hamid shows that enhanced financial capacity makes the people a target of the marketers. He explains that marketing can be successful only when it can rightly touch the hidden expectations of the consumers. In Bangladesh, the marketers have done this quite successfully on the occasion of Pohela Boishakh, he notes.
Hamid is also concerned about the erosion of moral practices especially among the young generation and he puts blame on attractive but misguided commercials or advertisements. Though a critical tool of marketing, he cautions, the practice of frequent advertisements of consumer products in print and electronic media packaged with false promises of big benefits is harmful for society. About electronic media, the author observes Bangladeshi viewers prefer Indian TV programmes than Bangladeshi ones. He points out that local producers and broadcasters are yet to penetrate the demand of target groups adequately. They, instead, give more preference to companies providing advertisements. The flawed marketing makes the survival of the local TV channels challenging.
The book is helpful to the under-graduate students of marketing at any university. For them, also for other who have some interest in marketing profession, Hamid lucidly explains the guiding principles and laws of the marketing with relevant examples in the fourth chapter of the book. Here he briefly presents different marketing formulas like 'not better but leader', 'maintaining the best one' or 'viewing the world through the eyes of the consumers.' He points out that 'hypes are temporary' and so suggests 'to be fit for retaining the crown before achieving it.'
In the tenth chapter of the book, the marketing professor tries to clarify a number of critical concepts in brief. He says that though the term 'market' may be used in many senses, to a marketer it is nothing but buyer or consumer. He lucidly explains the fundamental differences in the terms 'need', 'want' and 'demand.'
Hamid's discussion on Philip Kotler's 'Ten Deadly Marketing Sins' with local examples is another strength of the book. In a chapter, he focuses on stress management tips for the marketers extensively using Brain Tracy's book titled Eat That Frog! Many of these tips are also relevant to other professionals and consumers. Eat the frog early in the morning - is a tip meaning that one needs to deal with the hardest but unavoidable task first before doing the easier ones. Another tip - planning in time - says that spending 10 minutes in planning will save 90 minutes in working.
Hamid is a lucid and enthusiastic writer. He also has excellent command on the tricky subject he deals with in the book. The combination of these two is probably his marketing tool to attract the readers to read his book without dropping it quickly.