In this article, I am going to narrate 5 fictional stories and bring out the marketing rules through the content of those stories. We will also talk about a mathematical formula for marketing at the end of this article. This article will be useful for professionals, freelancers, mentors and entrepreneurs who want to understand the basic concepts of marketing.
Our first 2 stories revolve around 2 male characters — Ajay and Franco and 2 female characters — Megha and Madhu.
Megha is an utterly pretty 25 year old girl with a lot of talents and a strong liking for makeup and styling. Ajay, Franco and Madhu are her batchmates in the same university. Madhu is Megha’s closest friend and she also started liking makeup and styling due to the company of Megha.
Franco used to like Megha and came to know from Madhu that Megha loved styling and makeup. One of the virtues that was missing in Franco was patience. In order to approach and impress Megha, he took admission in NP Beauty School and got a diploma certificate within 2 months. As a result, he was able to complete the certification course but he learnt the subject only superficially. He was too impatient even to practise and master his newly-learnt skills. So he directly approached Megha on the very next day after he completed his certification and started talking about his newly-acquired skills.
Franco: “You know I completed beautician diploma course from NP Beauty School and I have already started to get so many calls for consulting and mentoring people for their party makeups”.
Megha believed him and got quite excited.
Megha: “Next week I have my cousin’s wedding. Me and my sisters have to get ready for that event on that day. I have only been able to book a very noob makeup artist for the event. Would you mind directing him to do our makeup so that we look perfect for the event?”
Franco: “I can surely do that.”
Franco thought that this might be a good opportunity for him to impress Megha although he was quite tensed since he did not have any prior practical experience.
On the day of the event, he directed the makeup artist to work in a certain way. However, he was not able to handle the whole situation. The makeup made Megha and her other sisters look horrible. Their day was ruined and she was utterly disgusted with Franco. She even stopped talking to him from that day.
Moral 1: Marketing a service or product which is not good, can backfire. Customers might get attracted by the marketing strategies but will surely be disappointed when using the product or service.
Here, Franco marketed himself as an expert beautician and makeup artist although he lacked adequate skills which led to disaster.
Moral 2: Personal branding should involve the cycle of Learning — Working — Blogging — Consulting — Mentoring — Startup. These steps are what effectively constitute the masstrust blueprint. Due to his lack of patience, Franco neglected the other blocks of the cycle and jumped on directly to mentoring/consulting for Megha. He did not even enhance his newly-acquired skills by practising them on some clients.
Graphic designing was one of the side-skills that Ajay had. Ajay used to like Megha. He started making friendship and talking to her. Slowly he came to understand the likings and interests of Megha. He started spending a lot of time with her. He wanted to extend the friendship with Megha into something more. So he took admission in DD Makup School and started learning the tips and tricks of makeup in a very sincere manner. Finally after 6 months of hard work, he became an expert makeup artist. He practised his skills on volunteer models and other clients. He made some digital posters to let people know about the skills he had learnt in order to get more clients for himself. He shared some of his works and the beautiful posters he had created with Megha by email later on. Megha saw those beautiful posters and contacted him.
Megha: “Hi Ajay! I saw your posts regarding your new skills on makeup and beauty just now. It sounds really big. Congratulations.”
Ajay: “Thanks Megha. It’s just 6 months that I have started learning and I still have a lot to learn.”
Megha: “Even then, your works seem to be impressive. You know, Madhu’s birthday is next week and she has invited me along with a couple of other friends for her birthday party. Can you please help me get ready for the event that day?”
Ajay: “Sure. I would love to help you out. Just let me know the time and I will be there.”
On the day of Madhu’s birthday party, Ajay helped her get ready for the party. Everyone in the party praised her looks that day. Megha was thankful to Ajay and she started interacting with Ajay even more after that day.
One fine day, Ajay finally proposed Megha and she accepted his proposal.
Moral 3: Niche selection is very important. Marketing is all about understanding the perceptions and requirements of the target customers. Ajay did not propose Megha straight away. First of all, he befriended Megha and slowly understood her interests. If Ajay would have learnt some other skills, like singing or playing guitar or looked to enhance his existing skill only, he would not have been able to raise the interests of Megha and win her heart.
Moral 4: Digital marketing is just one of the several ways of marketing. The way in which Ajay used his existing skill to let others know of his newly acquired skill impressed Megha even further.
Four years later…..
Megha, Madhu and Ajay have finally passed out and are into different jobs. (Audience is not interested to know about Franco since his role has already ended). Our remaining stories revolve around the same female characters to whom we are already introduced in the last stories and 3 male characters — Ajay, Sujay and Nitin.
Nitin was a colleague of Megha and used to work in the same office. He was the basketball captain of the office and quite popular among other colleagues in the department. Nitin used to like Megha. However, he was over-confident. He directly approached Megha and proposed her. When she turned him down politely, Nitin replied, “How can you even turn me down! I am the best at sports and athletics here and have won the best employee award for the last couple of years.” Megha only replied back saying, “I am happily committed to someone else and for me he is the best.”
Moral 5: No matter how good a product or service is, anyone need to compulsorily understand customer requirements and do proper market research. If there is no customer requirement or if the existing requirement is already being fulfilled by the existing market players, there is no use in launching one’s own solution which is not able to beat the existing players. Here, Nitin should have verified beforehand, whether Megha is committed or not.
Moral 6: Integrated Digital marketing always work better than stand-alone marketing. So, for eg, if the email ID of the clients are first acquired and their trust is gained slowly by communicating through their email ID, then selling them any product or service gradually, becomes much easier. If a vendor directly approaches a potential client and tries to sell a product, he has higher chances of failing. Similarly, in the last story, Nitin instantly went to Megha and proposed, due to which he failed to make even a soft corner in Megha’s heart.
Ajay and Megha had been in a relationship for the last 4 years. During this time, Ajay had started taking the relationship with Megha very casually. He had become a famous makeup artist and used to spend all his time with other clients. He did not have enough time for Megha now.
Sujay was the manager in Megha’s office project. He used to like Megha and helped her in her office projects. He started talking with Megha and they became good friends. Sujay learnt how Megha had started the relation with Ajay. So he enrolled himself for the weekend classes in the same institute from which Ajay had learnt makeup. He wanted to beat Ajay in his field of expertise. But he slowly realised that Ajay had already built his own brandname in this field which made it quite difficult to compete with him. So, he started exploring some other angle to this field. Finally he came to know his strong passion for teaching others and decided to build his own training institute in beauty and makeup. He worked hard to achieve excellence and finally registered his own beauty school by the name of ‘SO Beauty Training Institute’ after a year of hard work and practice. He started sharing free small tips related to makeup with Megha for free. Megha’s dormant passion for makeup started becoming active through the new interesting teachings of Sujay and Megha started to spend more time with Sujay. Sujay, in turn, started giving her all the attention. Slowly they started sharing an emotional bonding.
One fine day, Sujay finally proposed Megha. But she was in a dilemma. On one hand she had commitments towards Ajay and on the other hand, she had started enjoying and feeling happier in the company of Sujay. Finally, she listened to her heart and accepted Sujay’s proposal.
Moral 7: Marketing is not only about acquiring new customers. It is also about retaining the already acquired customers. So, taking constant feedback from existing customers and making them feel important is a subtle art of marketing. Afterall, “Customer is king.” If Ajay would have paid more attention to Megha and given her more time, he would not have lost her.
Moral 8: There might be competitors in the market. Searching for a new problem and proposing a solution to it might be tougher than approaching an existing problem in some other way. Here, Sujay knew that it would be difficult for him to compete against the brand reputation that Ajay had built for himself. So, he started offering beauty training to his clients rather than just offering beauty and makeup services like Ajay. He had slowly gone ahead of the curve for self-branding and become a mentor himself. He had approached the market in a different style and that was his secret ingredient to win over Megha.
The Final Story — Story 5
Ajay was lonely and single. He had a sad breakup to a 4-year old relationship with his girl-friend Megha, when she ditched him for another guy. The break-up was too much for Ajay to bear and that started affecting his work commitments as well. Megha came to know of this recent development and started feeling guilty. She respected Ajay still now, since he was not a bad guy after all. So she sought help from their mutual friend from the university and her closest friend Madhu. She confessed everything and explained to Madhu how heart-broken Ajay was at this moment. She asked her to support Ajay through his tough time. Madhu had known Ajay since their college days and had heard from Megha how much efforts he had put in to make Megha happy. Madhu accepted the offer to support Ajay out of his tough times.
Madhu had always been attracted to lavish brands and had a luxurious lifestyle. Her association with Megha during her university days had also got Madhu to be interested in makeup and styling. But she was specifically interested in natural and airbrush makeup styles, which are two different and unique sub-categories of makeup styling.
Madhu started consoling and supporting Ajay for quite sometime and before it was too long, Ajay started to develop a liking for Madhu. He realised that it’s time for him to move on in life. However, he felt that he is not able to impress Madhu to the extent of seeking commitment from her. He realised that he needed to share some common interests with Madhu to strengthen the emotional bond betweeen them. He felt that the two styles of makeup in which Madhu was interested was missing in his range of armory. Being a renowned makeup artist, it didn’t take much time for Ajay to master those specific styles of makeup and become specialist in them. He started flaunting his new skills to Madhu when he developed confidence in them. Madhu seemed to be quite impressed with the efforts of Ajay.
One fine day, Ajay finally proposed Madhu and she accepted his proposal. Ajay swore to himself that he would never take this relationship for granted and make the same mistake like he did in his last relationship.
Moral 9: The costs involved with marketing for acquiring new customers is always higher as compared to the costs for retaining an old customer. Ajay had to spend a lot of time and effort for impressing Madhu. He could have avoided all these, had he paid more attention to his old relationship.
Moral 10: Referral is an important ammunition in the artillery of marketing. Marketing does not just stop after transaction from a customer. The cycle of marketing involves Content-Attention-Trust-Transaction-Referral(CATTR). The CATTR model can be said to be an extended version of CATT model. Involving the customer to become advocate for the product is a very powerful means of marketing. Here, Megha had recommended Ajay to Madhu and asked her to support him.
Moral 11: After getting general mastery over the entire field, it is always easy to become a specialist in any one of the specific topics in that field. For eg, a cardiologist has to compulsorily finish a MBBS degree and an email marketing specialist has to know the entire landscape and details of digital marketing. Similarly Ajay was able to become specialist in two sub-categories of makeup and styling since he already had the overall knowledge of that field.
Mathematical Formula for Marketing
Product quality x Marketing Efforts = constant
where, Product quality = (Product look&feel + 2 x Product efficiency)
The better the product quality, the lesser the amount of marketing efforts needed to spread the word about the product.
Product Quality is defined by both the product look and feel as well as the efficiency of the product. However, more weightage is given to the efficiency or functionality of the product. By product efficiency, it means the score by which the product has been able to ease the life of a common person. For eg, if we compare the efforts when people had to stand in queues to book train tickets in India (and rate it out of 10) and the amount of effort which online ticket reservation system was able to bring to the lives of people(and score it again out of a scale of 10), then the difference in the two values can be termed as the product efficiency. Classic cases where product efficiency has outweighed product look&feel is Google and Facebook. The initial version of their products looked so basic and naive, but their functionality made it so much popular among the masses. They gradually enhanced their look while increasing the customer base.
Disclaimer: The characters in all the stories are purely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Also, the fact that Ajay and Achievement, Sujay and Success, Franco and Failure, Nitin and NotSuccessful, Megha, Madhu and Market start with the same letters are coincidental.
Readers can go through the following books to have a more in-depth understanding about the principles of marketing:
 Marketing Management by Philip Kotler
 Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim
Thank you for reading this blog and please give claps if you feel that it was able to add any value to you. Also, please feel free to give suggestions as to what can be improved.