Ajeesh Venugopalan
Guest Article

Marketing as an art even for teachers...

Teachers need to practice marketing as an art. This includes studying customer behaviour of students as well as of their parents. Why is it neglected?

Traditionally many B-Schools have been teaching 'Marketing' as part of their Business Administration courses. The textbook; outrightly says; Marketing Management. It took me several years to ponder over and ask why? Why is marketing taught as a management subject? And why not as an Art?

There is an apparent dichotomy between Humanities and Science. It is easier to learn the formulated side, and for several years now, our education system has been focusing more on teaching science. The number of jobs created in the science fraternity is an evident reason for its popularity. Will there be enough and more job creation in this space post the current pandemic and with the advent of AI/ML?

I believe that Marketing is an Art. While we learn - "Marketing is an art as well as science"; the science part of marketing is only an enabler. Today's marketing is no longer traditional. It is a combination of four more significant subjects like Creativity and Psychology from the perspective of the art: Data; Analytics and Technology from a science perspective.

Marketing as an art even for teachers...

India probably has one of the best socio-economic classifications. While it is essential to collect data and to be able to understand the right target segment; the major part of any marketing campaign is always revolving around Psychology to tap into the correct section. To the best of my understanding, this is applicable for B2B marketers as well; however, utilized to only a very minimal extent. The B2B marketing segment seems to be overly complicated in terms of persona mapping and no use of N=1 marketing tactics.

Marketing as an art even for teachers...

India can be very complex and confusing for those who are not familiar with her. It also depends on a sheer observation skill to be able to understand and experience each of the target segment to be able to create a campaign that resonates with them, which indeed is an art and less of the science.

To quote an example: Online learning with the current pandemic situation; many teachers, are trying to cope with and learn new tools to be able to deliver their class online while being aware that’ the parents are watching them. A teacher is continuously marketing themselves and the school, while they are teaching a set of students. I think parents have been underestimating teachers overly and their capability of making or breaking a nation. If I were to quote one specific teacher from history, it is none other than Acharya Vishnu Gupta who is otherwise known as Chanakya. In 325 BC, at a time when we were not privileged to have any such sophisticated communication platforms, he still had managed to unite Indians against the invasion of Alexander the Great. He was the creator of ‘Akhand Bharat” – the concept of undivided India, and we are India because a great teacher like Chanakya lived on this land, a long time ago.

For instance, recently, a teacher and her marketing leadership capabilities showcased is appreciated by the entire world. She is none other than K.K. Shailaja Teacher – who is the current health minister of Kerala. Her dedication and sincerity; clubbed with her intellect, had been leading Kerala in the battle against COIVD-19. She is not a native English speaker, and I do not think it is essential for her to speak English like a Brit to be able to lead a state. So, the current anguish showcased by several parents against the teachers speaking broken English is irrelevant. After all you as a parent yourself chose not to be a teacher for a higher paid job options; then you have no right to complain.

A single teacher-led this country as witnessed in history. Teachers have been doing a thankless job for a long time now. The government has done little to enhance their intellectual welfare. I think all that we need to do is utter a few words in their praise and encourage. Remind them of Acharya Vishnu Gupta who united India from several broken Kingdoms, and I am sure; one of them will rise to the occasion and lead us to light.

Marketing as an art even for teachers...

Behaviour of students in an online learning (MOOC) platform or with their parents around on a web conferencing tool; will be an interesting observation to make. And for those parents who are jumping around making criticisms of our teachers; allow them time to become a “Modern Marketer”.

Even as teachers, they need to be practising marketing as an art.

This includes studying customer behaviour of students as well as of their parents. Then why is the art side; often neglected?

(Ajeesh Venugopalan is a Kotler Award Winning senior marketer.)