Lahore School of Economics

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Marketing Strategy

Mr. Arif Ijaz, one of the most senior and well respected consultants on business management in the country, and a regular speaker at the Lahore School, visited our campus on March 4, 2015 to share his views on Marketing Strategy with the MBA students.



In his wide-ranging talk, which was characteristically iconoclastic and provocative, he addressed subjects as diverse as B2B, B2C, relational marketing, branding and strategy in general. His message was that one could not departmentalize marketing, let alone business management, into boxes and one had to look at it holistically.

He challenged the class to give him examples of Pakistani businesses that were truly “differentiated”. Differentiation was important, otherwise one would be forced to fall back on “cost leadership”. The whole point of strategy was to find a “unique way to win”.

To him Marketing Strategy was all about integrating systems, shared values, CSR and structure. And in accordance with Porter, you had to look at your value chain and improvise, innovate and differentiate.

As an example he discussed the case of Maple Leaf cement. At Inbound Logistics, the company shifted to railroad to save costs; at Manufacturing, it decided to save electricity costs by switching to waste-based electricity; at Outbound Logistics, it set up “five star” hotels for its drivers where hot showers and food were available – this would induce faster turnaround for them.

At Marketing and Sales, the company “differentiated” itself from its competitors. There was a time when five or six distributors controlled the market – his company introduced a system of having many dealers who were managed with attention. The company also introduced the now famous “Master Mistri” program. He was happy to announce that the company’s stock has increased manifold over the last two years.

At the same time, Mr. Arif lamented the fact that Pakistani businesses lacked vision and good governance without which they would be unable to build world-level brands. He also advised students to think out of the box, instead of slavishly following textbooks.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 3/05/2015 11:32:00 AM,

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