Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Lateral Marketing

In his book, “Lateral Marketing", the marketing guru Dr.Philip Kotler draws some lessons from the ideas of Edward De Bono, he of the Six-Thinking-Hats and Six-Action-Shoes fame. According to Kotler the marketing techniques pioneered in the 1960s and '70s have worked well so far, but have outlasted their utility. Fierce competition among products with little or nothing to distinguish one from another has led to increasing market segmentation. If the trend continues, individual market segments will cease to be profitable. He urges companies to look beyond narrow, vertical segmentation and generate fresh marketing ideas and opportunities

Take breakfast cereals. The whole world thought that these cereals had to be sold in granular or flakey form for people to consume at the breakfast table, until one day some wise guy decided to sell cereal bars that could be eaten in the car on the way to office, saving precious time. This is an example of innovative thinking, says Kotler, munching his Nature Valley granola bars.

Take this desktop computer. Most of the time it is idle. Why can’t it double up as a microwave oven when I am not blogging?

Or the microwave oven itself. Why can’t we have a reversing switch that inverts the microwaves, so that we can instantaneously cool or freeze an item, instead of waiting for hours for the refrigerator to do it?

Better still, can’t Tupperware introduce plastic vessels which have built-in microwave micro-generators, so that we can heat food wherever we want to? If we can have thermal underwear, surely they can come out with thermal Tupperware?

The refrigerator. Just standing there all day long making that funny low sound. Can’t it have some tools attached to cut the vegetables, peel the fruits and grate the cheese inside? Can’t it make some effort to improve its productivity and serve its master better?

And, all you bloggers out there. Why don’t you think of ways to rehash your blogs and re-post them? Which is what Kotler and De Bono have been doing laterally the last thirty years- coming out with thirty different books with thirty different titles, but bearing the same idea? And laughing all the way to the bank.


A Motley Tunic said...

Don't give out ideas like this. someone could steal it, patent it. right away! Then when someone, later on, actually wants to work on one of your ideas, you can collect royalty and laugh your way to the bank!!

I thoroughly enjoyed your 'thermal tupperware' idea!

Mysorean said...

LOL! This was too much!

But yeah, come to think of it, a mobile phone already doubles up as a camera, so the computer-oven transformation might take some time before we see it happen!!!

Raj said...

Sowmya, you are right. When I file my claim to royalty, I am going to call you as the witness.

mysorean, and a washing machine doubles up as a lassi-churner in Punjab!

Usha said...

I am completely against this 2 in 1 and 3 in 1 gadgets.One part goes and you cant get anything done around the house. I am happy if a machine serves one function properly - even that seems to be too much to ask for these days.

vi said...

Heh! good point :)

Raj said...

Usha, do read my first ever post on this blog, on multi-purpose gadgets.(

vi : Thanks

Kavita Jayram said...

hi this is kavita happend to read your bolg while i was just browsing through some searches. i did enjoy reading most of ur post.