Book review | ‘Rethinking Competitive Advantage’: Ram Charan’s lucid guide to six traits of successful businesses

The book lists and illustrates concepts like increasing returns and company ecosystem that give digital firms an edge over traditional businesses.

Rethinking Competitive Advantage cover image

Management guru Ram Charan‘s latest book, Rethinking Competitive Advantage: New Rules for the Digital Age, co-authored with Geri Willigan, is primarily addressed to traditional Indian businessmen who are (still) scrambling to go digital.

At the onset, the book sets out the ways in which digital companies differ from traditional ones; why they have an edge over traditional ones, and why and how many traditional companies are going digital.

Rethinking Competitive Advantage offers little reassurance to traditional business leaders. To quote: “Some conventional competitive advantages persist, such as brand, reputation, patents, and proprietary technologies. And for capital-intensive businesses like steel and car manufacturing, scale still matters.” But by and large, we are told that in the digital present, few traditional advantages hold good, and provide no certainty of future market leadership or even survival. In the same vein, we are given a fleshed-out list of old-fashioned business concepts and strategies that must now be abandoned.

Along the way, we are introduced to ideas that make digital companies effective, such as the idea of increasing returns. We are told about Amazon, which focuses “not on earnings per share, Wall Street’s favourite metric, but on revenue growth and cash gross margin”.

The book hand-holds the reader through lucid explanations of digital tools such as algorithms, without going into their virtual nuts and bolts. A wise move – most business leaders are not going to code their own algorithms, but will hire coding talent or buy algorithms. They need just about enough information to communicate their needs to domain experts. This book provides that.

We also read about the “ecosystem” as seen in companies such as Amazon, Apple and more. We are told how to create, manage and join an ecosystem. By way of example, we are given an idea of Softbank’s global ecosystem, which is an intricate structure of smaller ecosystems across various industries, and which works towards Softbank’s grand vision, which is also described.

The kernel of the book is a list of traits shared by digital companies:

(1) They “imagine a 100x market share that doesn’t yet exist”

(2) They are based on a “digital platform” – an “expertly stitched together mix of algorithms” that can turn data into the basis of insight

(3) “They have an ecosystem that accelerates their growth”

And three more traits that I won’t offer spoilers for. Digital companies intuitively developed or designed such innovative modes of functioning; they are collected in this book, and thoroughly elaborated upon.

The authors say that digital operations must not be “tacked on” to existing ways of functioning, must not be “run in parallel” with existing ways; digital operations must be central to the way the business is run. The point is superbly made that in most ways, digital companies have a different DNA than traditional ones, including a fundamentally different company structure. The authors cite the example of Amazon, where “[b]reaking work into bite-sized missions and giving stand-alone teams the autonomy to figure out the ‘how’ leads to faster, better decision-making”.

Digital companies, we are told, also emphasize company culture and a “way of getting things done” – the “social engine” of the company. For one, in a company that’s going digital, traditional managers and leaders have to lose their “command and control” mindset and working styles, or ship out.  Leaders at various levels are chosen not only as per “their talent and skills” but also their “values and behaviour” that enable their mostly millennial employees to thrive. The qualities of good managers in digital companies are elaborated in ample detail, as is the mindset of their employees.

We are told that digital companies require rethinking of most ‘traditional’ career aspirations; we are told about the new parameters of career growth in digital companies. By way of illustration, the book provides a superb case study to show how the American company Fidelity PI transitioned from a traditional company to a digital one, and in the process, unleashed the potential of its employees and boosted its revenues spectacularly.

The book is studded with plenty of case studies that enliven unfamiliar concepts and drive them home. All are engrossing and easy to follow. While some of the case studies are from other markets, some are from India, which is a busy theatre of competition between digital companies, particularly the ecommerce companies Amazon, Flipkart, and a subsidiary of Reliance. The book also explains briefly how digital companies responded to the challenging business conditions created by the Covid pandemic.The book is written in a remarkably simple, efficient, and friendly style. I imagine an entrepreneur or company executive, even a busy one, breezing through the book over a long weekend, and being rejuvenated by its wealth of ideas. If you read this book, it is highly recommended that you keep a pen and notepad handy. Be prepared: this book will provoke you to think.

Source: MoneyControl. SUHIT KELKAR is a freelance Journalist. He is the author of the poetry chapbook named The Centaur Chronicles.

Facebook’s ad algorithms are still excluding women from seeing jobs

facebook ads discriminatory

Facebook is withholding certain job ads from women because of their gender, according to the latest audit of its ad service.

The audit, conducted by independent researchers at the University of Southern California (USC), reveals that Facebook’s ad-delivery system shows different job ads to women and men even though the jobs require the same qualifications. This is considered sex-based discrimination under US equal employment opportunity law, which bans ad targeting based on protected characteristics. The findings come despite years of advocacy and lawsuits, and after promises from Facebook to overhaul how it delivers ads.

The researchers registered as an advertiser on Facebook and bought pairs of ads for jobs with identical qualifications but different real-world demographics. They advertised for two delivery driver jobs, for example: one for Domino’s (pizza delivery) and one for Instacart (grocery delivery). There are currently more men than women who drive for Domino’s, and vice versa for Instacart.

Though no audience was specified on the basis of demographic information, a feature Facebook disabled for housing, credit, and job ads in March of 2019 after settling several lawsuits, algorithms still showed the ads to statistically distinct demographic groups. The Domino’s ad was shown to more men than women, and the Instacart ad was shown to more women than men.

The researchers found the same pattern with ads for two other pairs of jobs: software engineers for Nvidia (skewed male) and Netflix (skewed female), and sales associates for cars (skewed male) and jewelry (skewed female).

The findings suggest that Facebook’s algorithms are somehow picking up on the current demographic distribution of these jobs, which often differ for historical reasons. (The researchers weren’t able to discern why that is, because Facebook won’t say how its ad-delivery system works.) “Facebook reproduces those skews when it delivers ads even though there’s no qualification justification,” says Aleksandra Korolova, an assistant professor at USC, who coauthored the study with her colleague John Heidemann and their PhD advisee Basileal Imana.

The study supplies the latest evidence that Facebook has not resolved its ad discrimination problems since ProPublica first brought the issue to light in October 2016. At the time, ProPublica revealed that the platform allowed advertisers of job and housing opportunities to exclude certain audiences characterized by traits like gender and race. Such groups receive special protection under US law, making this practice illegal. It took two and half years and several legal skirmishes for Facebook to finally remove that feature.

But a few months later, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) levied a new lawsuit, alleging that Facebook’s ad-delivery algorithms were still excluding audiences for housing ads without the advertiser specifying the exclusion. A team of independent researchers including Korolova, led by Northeastern University’s Muhammad Ali and Piotr Sapieżyński , corroborated those allegations a week later. They found, for example, that houses for sale were being shown more often to white users and houses for rent were being shown more often to minority users.

Korolova wanted to revisit the issue with her latest audit because the burden of proof for job discrimination is higher than for housing discrimination. While any skew in the display of ads based on protected characteristics is illegal in the case of housing, US employment law deems it justifiable if the skew is due to legitimate qualification differences. The new methodology controls for this factor.

“The design of the experiment is very clean,” says Sapieżyński, who was not involved in the latest study. While some could argue that car and jewelry sales associates do indeed have different qualifications, he says, the differences between delivering pizza and delivering groceries are negligible. “These gender differences cannot be explained away by gender differences in qualifications or a lack of qualifications,” he adds. “Facebook can no longer say [this is] defensible by law.”

The release of this audit comes amid heightened scrutiny of Facebook’s AI bias work. In March, MIT Technology Review published the results of a nine-month investigation into the company’s Responsible AI team, which found that the team, first formed in 2018, had neglected to work on issues like algorithmic amplification of misinformation and polarization because of its blinkered focus on AI bias. The company published a blog post shortly after, emphasizing the importance of that work and saying in particular that Facebook seeks “to better understand potential errors that may affect our ads system, as part of our ongoing and broader work to study algorithmic fairness in ads.”

“We’ve taken meaningful steps to address issues of discrimination in ads and have teams working on ads fairness today,” said Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborn in a statement. “Our system takes into account many signals to try and serve people ads they will be most interested in, but we understand the concerns raised in the report… We’re continuing to work closely with the civil rights community, regulators, and academics on these important matters.”

Despite these claims, however, Korolova says she found no noticeable change between the 2019 audit and this one in the way Facebook’s ad-delivery algorithms work. “From that perspective, it’s actually really disappointing, because we brought this to their attention two years ago,” she says. She’s also offered to work with Facebook on addressing these issues, she says. “We haven’t heard back. At least to me, they haven’t reached out.”

In previous interviews, the company said it was unable to discuss the details of how it was working to mitigate algorithmic discrimination in its ad service because of ongoing litigation. The ads team said its progress has been limited by technical challenges.

Sapieżyński, who has now conducted three audits of the platform, says this has nothing to do with the issue. “Facebook still has yet to acknowledge that there is a problem,” he says. While the team works out the technical kinks, he adds, there’s also an easy interim solution: it could turn off algorithmic ad targeting specifically for housing, employment, and lending ads without affecting the rest of its service. It’s really just an issue of political will, he says.

Christo Wilson, another researcher at Northeastern who studies algorithmic bias but didn’t participate in Korolova’s or Sapieżyński’s research, agrees: “How many times do researchers and journalists need to find these problems before we just accept that the whole ad-targeting system is bankrupt?”

Source: Karen Hao, MIT Review, April 9, 2021

McKinsey: The future of work



Those familiar with competitive intelligence often debate whether there is a difference between strategic or tactical CI. The discussion got me thinking about how CI by itself is not wholly strategic, nor tactical. In fact, it is a tool that is applied to either strategic or tactical goals.

In this sense, CI is like a hammer. CI can be used to hammer a nail. At the same time, you can use it to drive a tent stake, separate items that are nailed together, chip a rock, or power a chisel. The hammer did not change; however, the application did.

Whether CI is strategic or tactical has less to do with specific methods than with which group is using them, and to what end. For example, Win/Loss is a CI method that can be applied to both tactical and strategic goals.

As a tactical tool, Win/Loss helps close more deals and structure the sales process to align with buyers’ preferences. Tactically, Win/Loss findings are also used to build battle cards – mini-handbooks of talking points for salespeople. Even more tactically, sales can leverage Win/Loss findings to focus their approaches to win specific deals.

Furthermore, as a strategic tool, companies can use Win/Loss to better understand how their value propositions are perceived. Additionally, companies can learn how their market positions compare to competitors’. Used this way, companies can use Win/Loss findings to inform their long-term strategies related to product and service offerings. Finally, Win/Loss fits into strategy by identifying where the entire portfolio can be adjusted to better fit market needs. Ultimately, Win/Loss helps companies differentiate from competitors’ positions.

Win/Loss is certainly not the only tool with dual strategy and tactical applications. Some other examples of these CI tools include competitor monitoring, patent tracking, and mystery shopping. The applications of these dual-use tools depend on the project requirements more than on the actual tools.

Source: Fletcher/CSI has over 30 years’ experience in applying CI tools to support tactical and strategic initiatives. We gather primary intelligence and leverage secondary data insights to offer clients first-rate support. -Erik Glitman, CEO, Fletcher/CSI. Originally posted March 29, 2013; Updated January 8th, 2019

Disruptive Innovation 2021: These 15 big ideas are most likely to change the world

ARK Invest defines ”disruptive innovation” as the introduction of a technologically enabled new product or service that potentially changes the way the world works. ARK focuses solely on offering investment solutions to capture disruptive innovation in the public equity markets.

ARK began publishing Big Ideas in 2017. This annual research report seeks to highlight the latest developments in innovation and offers some of our most provocative research conclusions for the year. ARK notes that risks associated with investment in disruptive innovation include: rapid pace of change, exposure across sectors and markets, uncertainty and unknowns, regulatory hurdles, political and legal pressures and competitive landscape.    


Special Report: 5G: What it means for edge computing (free PDF)

Special Report: 5G: What it means for edge computing (free PDF)

This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet / TechRepublic special feature, helps business leaders understand how cloud providers, telecoms, and carriers will make 5G part of their edge-computing plans.

Read More

ARK Big Ideas 2021 include the following:

  1. Deep Learning
  2. The Reinvention of the Data Center
  3. Virtual Worlds
  4. Digital Wallets
  5. Bitcoin Fundamentals
  6. Bitcoin: Preparing For Institutions
  7. Electric Vehicles (EVs)
  8. Automation
  9. Autonomous Ride-Hailing
  10. Delivery Drones
  11. Orbital Aerospace
  12. 3D Printing
  13. Long Read Sequencing
  14. Multi-Cancer Screening
  15. Cell and Gene Therapy: Generation 2

The ARK Big Ideas 2021 report is quite comprehensive, covering several key emerging and new technologies and innovation opportunities. I recently interviewed ARK with a focus on the future of autonomous electric vehicles and Tesla. In this article I will share some of the big ideas that I believe to be the most immediately impactful and disruptive innovation for 2021 and beyond. 


What is machine learning? Everything you need to know

What is machine learning? Everything you need to know

Here’s how it’s related to artificial intelligence, how it works and why it matters.

Read More


According to ARK, Deep Learning could be the most important software breakthrough of our time.  According to ARK’s research, deep learning will add $30 trillion to the global equity market capitalization during the next 15-20 years. Deep Learning is creating the next generation of computing platforms including: 

  • Conversational computers: Powered by AI, smart speakers answered 100 billion voice commands in 2020, 75% more than in 2019.
  • Self-driving cars: Waymo’s autonomous vehicles have collected more than 20 million real-world driving miles across 25 cities, including San Francisco, Detroit, and Phoenix.
  • Consumer apps: TikTok, which uses deep learning for video recommendations, has outgrown Snapchat and Pinterest combined.
Deep Learning is software 2.0 ARK Invest

Deep Learning requires boundless computational power. ARK states: “While advances in hardware and software have been driving down AI training costs by 37% per year, the size of AI models is growing much faster, 10x per year. As a result, total AI training costs continue to climb. We believe that state-of-the-art AI training model costs1 are likely to increase 100-fold, from roughly $1 million today to more than $100 million by 2025.”

Deep Learning will also create a boom in the AI chips. ARK estimates that data center spending on AI processors will scale more than four-fold during the next five years, from $5 billion a year today to $22 billion in 2025. ARK is forecasting an expansion of AI from vision to language. The reports notes: “2020 was the breakthrough year for conversational AI. For the first time, AI systems could understand and generate language with human-like accuracy. Conversational AI requires 10x the computing resources of computer vision and should spur large investments in the coming years.”

Total AI chip market 

Perhaps the biggest bold estimate in the reports is that Deep Learning could create more economic value than the Internet did. ARK believes that deep learning will add $30 trillion to equity market capitalizations during the next 15-20 years.

The economic impact of deep learning may be bigger than the Internet. ARK Invest


AR and VR mean business: Everything you need to know

AR and VR mean business: Everything you need to know

An executive guide to the technology and market drivers behind the hype in AR, VR, and MR.

Read More


A virtual world is defined as a computer-simulated environment (video games, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)), that can be accessed by anyone at any time. Society interacts daily with virtual worlds which today are in their infancy. According to ARK, revenue from virtual worlds will compound 17% annually from roughly $180 billion today to $390 billion by 2025. 

By 2022, consumer-grade AR headsets should turbocharge investments in augmented reality on mobile devices.  ARK forecasts that by 2030 the AR market could scale from under a $1 billion today to $130 billion. ARK estimates that virtual reality could approach realty by 2030 with best-in-class VR headsets only achieving 10% of human visual immersion today.

Augmented Reality AR market growth projections. ARK Invest

The revenue from virtual worlds could approach $400 billion by 2025. Based on our research, the global gaming market will increase at a 16% compound annual rate during the next five years, from $175 billion in 2020 to roughly $365 billion by 2025. The AR & VR markets will grow at a 59% compound annual rate during the next five years, from $3 billion to $28 billion in 2025.

The global gaming and VR/AR market by 2025. ARK Invest


ARK estimates that digital wallets represent a $4.6 trillion opportunity in your pocket. ARK points to Venmo, Cash App, and venture funded startups who are likely to upend traditional banking by activating the mobile phones — the bank branches — in users’ pockets and handbags.

According to ARK’s research, digital wallets are valued between $250 and $1,900 per user today but could scale to $20,000 per user, representing a $4.6 trillion opportunity in the US by 2025. ARK references China as the best example of digital wallet adoption. Per ARK: The volume of mobile payments in China has exploded more than 15-fold in just five years, from roughly $2 trillion in 2015 to an estimated $36 trillion, nearly three times the size of China’s GDP in 2020.

Digital wallets are now a global phenomenon ARK Invest

In the US, digital wallet users are surpassing the number of deposit account holders at the largest financial institutions. Square’s Cash App and PayPal’s Venmo each amassed roughly 60 million active users organically in the last 7 and 10 years, respectively, a milestone that took J.P. Morgan more than 30 years and five acquisitions to reach.

Deposit accounts versus cash apps in the USARK Invest

The most important takeaway here is that digital wallets can acquire customers for a fraction of banks’ customer acquisition cost.  According to ARK’s research, compared to the roughly $1,000 that a traditional financial institution might pay to acquire a new checking account customer, digital wallets invest only $20 thanks to viral peer-to-peer payment ecosystems, savvy marketing strategies, and dramatically lower cost structures. Given the rising cost of bank branches, the benefits of mobile banking and digital wallets is key to offset expenditures and also deliver a more seamless user experience.

Digital wallets is the most cost effective methods for customer acquisitions in the banking industry ARK Invest

ARK highlights a potential sizable risk to traditional banks. According to ARK estimates, bank interest income on credit cards fell more than 10%, or roughly $16 billion in 2020 and is likely to drop more than 25% further, from $130 billion in 2019 to $95 billion by 2025. ARK also estimates that at maturity, each digital wallet user could be worth about $20,000. If digital wallets were to become consumer financial dashboards, ARK estimates that the net present value associated with their financial service revenues will exceed $10,000 per average US user. 

The value of a digital wallet owner to a bank in a mature market. ARK Invest

According to ARK’s research, if each of the estimated 230 million US digital wallet users were valued at $19,900 in 2025, the US digital wallet opportunity would be worth $4.6 trillion.


Cryptocurrency 101: What every business needs to know

Cryptocurrency 101: What every business needs to know

There’s promise and peril in the still-evolving world of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether.

Read More


As bitcoin’s price hit an all-time high, ARK’s research indicated that its network fundamentals remained healthy. Per ARK research, if all S&P 500 companies were to allocate 1% of their cash to bitcoin, ARK estimates that its price would increase by approximately $40,000.  As of November 2020, roughly 60% of Bitcoin’s supply had not moved in more than a year, a testament to the market’s longer-term focus and a holder base with stronger conviction. Another interesting data point about the hype around bitcoins is that ARK shows that bitcoin’s search interest is low relative to the increase in its price. As its price neared all-time highs, Bitcoin’s Google search interest was at 15% of its all-time high.

Bitcoin’s Market Participants Never Have Been More Long-Term FocusedARK Invest

ARK notes that Bitcoin could play a pivotal role as corporate cash. The research sites Square and MicroStrategy, both with balance sheet investments in bitcoin, are showing the way for public companies to deploy bitcoin as a legitimate alternative to cash. According to our research, if all S&P 500 companies were to allocate 1% of their cash to bitcoin,1 its price could increase by approximately $40,000.


2021 is the year of EVs.  Electric vehicles are approaching sticker price parity with gas-powered cars. Leaders in the EV market are developing innovative battery designs to enable longer range vehicles at lower costs.

Based on Wright’s Law, ARK forecasts that EV sales should increase roughly 20-fold from ~2.2 million in 2020 to 40 million units in 2025. ARK believes the biggest downside risk to our forecast is whether traditional automakers can transition successfully to electric and autonomous vehicles. The total cost of ownership for a like-for-like EV dropped below that of a Toyota Camry in 2019.1 Soon, sticker prices likely will do the same. The auto market is undergoing a shift to both electric and autonomous. ARK believes that traditional automakers lack the software and electrical engineering talent necessary to succeed.

EVs Are Competing On Range And PerformanceARK Invest

If traditional automakers overcome obstacles, global EV sales could scale roughly 20-fold from 2.2 million in 2020 to 40 million by 2025. ARK expects that sales of smaller, cheaper, “neighborhood electric vehicles” will rise dramatically as a share of total EV sales.

Global Electric Vehicle Sales: 40 million by 2025ARK Invest



AI, Automation, and Tech Jobs

AI, Automation, and Tech Jobs

There are some things that machines are simply better at doing than humans, but humans still have plenty going for them. Here’s a look at how the two are going to work in concert to deliver a more powerful future for IT, and the human race.

Read More

The robots are coming to help you and create jobs. Per ARK: automation has the potential to shift unpaid labor to paid labor. For example, as food services automate, they will transform food prep, cleanup, and grocery shopping into market activities including food delivery.

ARK believes automation will add 5%, or $1.2 trillion to US GDP during the next five years. Thanks to increased productivity and automation, ARK expects a combination of the following four outcomes:

  • Higher wages: benefiting employees
  • Lower prices: benefiting consumers
  • Higher margins: benefiting companies
  • Higher investments: creating virtuous cycles

According to ARK’s research, for every percentage drop in labor share in the industrial and agricultural sectors, operating margins increased 30 basis points and 280 basis points, respectively. ARK would not be surprised to see a similar relationship in all industries. If labor share were to fall 15%, in line with manufacturing, operating margins could double to more than 20%.

Automation could add 5%, or $1.2 trillion, to US GDP during the next five years. ARK believes automation will boost US real GDP growth by 100 basis points on average per year to 3.4%.

Automation could add 5%, or $1.2 trillion, to US GDP during the next five years.ARK Invest

The big ideas 2021 report from ARK is incredibly insightful. Here are some more bold predictions you can find in the report: 

  • AUTONOMOUS RIDE-HAILING: ARK’s research suggests that autonomous ride-hailing platforms will generate more than $1 trillion in profits per year by 2030. In addition, automakers and fleet owners could enjoy profits of $250 billion and $70 billion, respectively. Enterprise value for autonomous platform operators could scale to 3.8T by 2025.
  • DRONES:  ARK believes that drone delivery platforms will generate roughly $275 billion in delivery revenues, $50 billion in hardware sales, and $12 billion in mapping revenue by 2030. ARK estimates that at some point during the next five years, drones will deliver more than 20% of parcel shipments and significantly drive e-commerce adoption. While not yet commercialized, ARK estimates that drone delivery platforms will generate nearly $50 billion in revenues, $14 billion in hardware sales, and $3 billion in mapping revenues by 2025.
  • 3D PRINTING: ARK believes 3D printing will revolutionize manufacturing, growing at an annual rate of roughly 60% from $12 billion last year to $120 billion in 2025.  ARK estimates that drone hardware revenues will total roughly $100 billion by 2025.  

To learn more about the 15 disruption innovation categories in the ARK Invest Big Ideas 2021 report, visit here

Source: Vala Afshar | January 29, 2021 — 15:59 GMT (07:59 PST) | Topic: Digital Transformation



Competitive Intelligence Best Practices

Develop a Successful Marketing Strategy With Sales Tech

Savvy marketers use sales tech illustration

Marketing technology is no doubt an essential part of the marketing strategy. And the global market is becoming saturated — there were approximately 5,000 marketing technology competing globally in 2017 that exponentially increased to more than 7,000 by 2019 as famously portrayed by Scott Brinker’s Martech 5000 supergraphic.

With too many options, marketers are increasingly finding ways to streamline their tools to break the silos and engage customers in a personalised way. Then there are the savvy marketers pushing beyond the marketing realm, aligning more closely with the sales teams to tackle challenges together for the greater business impact.

Marketers are starting to use sales tech alongside martech to achieve these goals, and we are seeing this trend on LinkedIn – steady and significant increase in the number of marketers using our sales solution like Sales Navigator. We crunched the numbers and made some interesting discoveries

  • 26% increase in the number of marketers holding Sales Navigator licences
  • 2x growth in the number of leads and accounts saved by these marketers 
  • 2x growth in the number of messages sent by marketers on LinkedIn 

This tells us two things: (1) more and more marketers are using Sales Navigator, and (2) they are as active as users from other professions. Now, marketers don’t invest their time unless there’s a return, so why are they using it? 

Plugging into the Sales Universe

We believe that marketers use sales tech because they want to share the same view of the customer as their sales teams. They want to know, in real time, who their sales reps are prospecting so that they can direct their marketing efforts to partner with them. That way, marketing is able to make a more visible and attributable contribution to revenue won. 

In the hands of a savvy marketer, sales tech like Sales Navigator can help to: 

  • Inform marketing strategy and segmentation approach, with insights that you can use to identify, prioritise and target the accounts and contacts that matter most to your sales teams and the business.
  • Advance account-based marketing (ABM) efforts by helping you gather intelligence and track engagement levels across your highest-value accounts .
  • Stay closely aligned with sales teams with real-time visibility into who your sales teams are prospecting so you can refine your lead generation efforts accordingly.

For a closer look at why sales tech deserves a place in your organisation’s marketing arsenal, check out our latest playbook. 

Download Sales Tech for the Savvy Marketer now.

Definitions of Marketing

Foto profissional grátis de abstrato, arranhar, cartas
Joshua Miranda

What Is Marketing?

The AMA’s definitions of marketing and marketing research are reviewed and reapproved/modified every three years by a panel of five scholars who are active researchers.

Definition of Marketing

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (Approved 2017)

Definition of Marketing Research

Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information—information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications. (Approved 2017)

Definition of Brand

A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers.

ISO brand standards add that a brand “is an intangible asset” that is intended to create “distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefit/values.”

Types of Marketing

Influencer Marketing

According to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), influencer marketing focuses on leveraging individuals who have influence over potential buyers and orienting marketing activities around these individuals to drive a brand message to the larger market.

In influencer marketing, rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, a brand inspires or compensates influencers (which can include celebrities, content creators, customer advocates, and employees) to get the word out on their behalf.

Relationship Marketing

According to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), relationship marketing refers to strategies and tactics for segmenting consumers to build loyalty.

Relationship marketing leverages database marketingbehavioral advertising and analytics to target consumers precisely and create loyalty programs. 

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message.

Nicknamed “viral” because the number of people exposed to a message mimics the process of passing a virus or disease from one person to another.[1]

Green Marketing

Green marketing refers to the development and marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe (i.e., designed to minimize negative effects on the physical environment or to improve its quality).

This term may also be used to describe efforts to produce, promote, package, and reclaim products in a manner that is sensitive or responsive to ecological concerns.

Keyword Marketing

Keyword marketing involves placing a marketing message in front of users based on the specific keywords and phrases they are using to search.[1]

A key advantage of this method is that it gives marketers the ability to reach the right people with the right message at the right time. For many marketers, keyword marketing results in the placement of an ad when certain keywords are entered.

Note that in SEO, this term refers to achieving top placement in the search results themselves.

Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing describes an unconventional and creative marketing strategy intended to get maximum results from minimal resources.

4 Ps of Marketing


A product is defined as a bundle of attributes (features, functions, benefits, and uses) capable of exchange or use, usually a mix of tangible and intangible forms.

Thus a product may be an idea, a physical entity (goods), or a service, or any combination of the three. It exists for the purpose of exchange in the satisfaction of individual and organizational objectives.

While the term “products and services” is occasionally used, product is a term that encompasses both goods and services.


Price is the formal ratio that indicates the quantity of money, goods, or services needed to acquire a given quantity of goods or services.

It is the amount a customer must pay to acquire a product

Place (or Distribution)

Distribution refers to the act of marketing and carrying products to consumers. It is also used to describe the extent of market coverage for a given product.

In the 4 Ps, distribution is represented by place or placement.


According to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), promotion marketing includes tactics that encourage short-term purchase, influence trial and quantity of purchase, and are very measurable in volume, share and profit.

Examples include couponssweepstakes, rebates, premiums, special packaging, cause-related marketing and licensing.

Visit the Marketing Dictionary for additional definitions.

2017 Panel

  • Bernard Jaworski, Peter F. Drucker Chair in Management and the Liberal Arts, Claremont Graduate University
  • Richard Lutz, J.C. Penney Professor of Marketing, University of Florida
  • Greg W. Marshall, Charles Harwood Professor of Marketing and Strategy, Rollins College
  • Linda Price, Philip H. Knight Chair and Professor of Marketing, University of Oregon
  • Rajan Varadarajan, University Distinguished Professor and Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Ford Chair in Marketing & E-Commerce, Texas A&M University

Source: American Marketing Association.

Competitive Intelligence 2.0 Competing in a Digital World

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Rebuilding a better, post-Covid-19 world with a new mindset of stakeholders: WEF founder Klaus Schwab

WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab (left) speaking with Straits Times Editor-in-Chief Warren Fernandez on Feb 9, 2021.
WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab (left) speaking with Straits Times Editor-in-Chief Warren Fernandez on Feb 9, 2021. PHOTO: ST DIGITAL

Thoughtfully, Professor Klaus Schwab tells the story of the enormous task of rebuilding the war-battered towns he grew up in as a young boy in the Swabia region of southern Germany.

World War II was a time of great crisis and hardship, which forged a sense of solidarity that helped pull ravaged communities together.

“To a certain extent, we are in a similar situation today…we went through a major crisis, which affected everybody in the world,” says the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

“So, can we create again this tremendous effort, based on solidarity, to recreate a world which is better?” he adds, alluding to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, during an interview with The Straits Times on Tuesday (Feb 9) at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa.

He is in town, partly for a bit of a break after the hectic Davos Agenda week of webinars, held last month in lieu of its annual meeting in the Swiss alpine town, but also to lay the groundwork for the WEF’s planned Special Annual Meeting to be held here in August.

He is also here for the launch of his new book, Stakeholder Capitalism: A Global Economy That Works For Progress, People And Planet, which he has written with a WEF colleague, Mr Peter Vanham.

“After the devastation of World War II, I was lucky enough to grow in a town and a society that embraced the stakeholder mindset in all that it did.

“I saw it at work at my father’s factory, where everyone, from the shop floor to the corner office, had the same drive to make the company and its products a long-term success, and everyone shared in the fruits of it when it arrived,” he says in the engaging book.

Recalling the solidarity he experienced in the post-war years in the German towns of his youth, he adds: “I saw it in Friedrichshafen and Ravensburg after the war, as all citizens, as well as the entire local government, came together to rebuild what was destroyed.

“And I have been advocating for it ever since, whether in business or in government, and going from Swabia to Singapore,” he says in the conclusion of his 285-page book, launched in keeping with the thought leadership efforts of the Geneva-based forum.

Indeed the stakeholder concept has featured prominently in his work since the 1973 Davos Manifesto, which set out the role of business managements to “serve clients, shareholders, workers and employees, as well as societies, and to harmonise the different interests of the stakeholders”.

It is a theme he delves into deeper in his new book.

“The idea that we need to rebuild differently post-Covid is widely shared. The sudden and all-encompassing impact of Covid-19 made us understand, much more than the gradual effects of climate change or increasing inequality, that an economic system driven by selfish and short-term interests is not sustainable…

“We can’t continue with an economic system driven by selfish values, such as short-term profit maximisation, the avoidance of tax and regulation, or the externalising of environmental harm. Instead, we need a society, economy and international community that is designed to care for all people and the entire planet.”

In place of shareholder capitalism, with its emphasis on short-term profits and shareholder value, or state capitalism, the alternative that gained prominence in Asia which gives primacy to the state, he advocates a system of stakeholder capitalism.

He points in his book to Singapore, with its longstanding emphasis on tripartite collaboration, as perhaps the “most remarkable blueprint” for such stakeholder capitalism.

In it, he details at considerable length, Singapore’s efforts to foster a cohesive society, with ethnically integrated, affordable and well-maintained public housing, a first-rate public education and healthcare system, as well as ongoing efforts to connect all segments of society digitally.


“The precise approach Singapore follows may not be replicable in the same way elsewhere: many larger, less densely populated, or poorer countries, would not be able to provide the same services if they tried.

“But the pragmatic, stakeholder-led philosophy that guides Singaporean policymaking, like that of New Zealand, or Denmark, is nevertheless one that merits to be looked at by others,” he concludes.

Listening to the urbane and even-tempered professor, with his frequent assertions on the need for harmony or solidarity across stakeholders in society, I am reminded of the recent discussion sparked by Education Minister Lawrence Wong.

He had cited a 1979 speech by Mr S. Rajaratnam, one of Singapore’s founding fathers, who referred to the 14th century Arab thinker Ibn Khaldun’s idea of “asabiyyah”, Arab for bonds of community or solidarity, as a critical factor in a society’s success.

Asked about this, Prof Schwab agrees readily with the idea, saying that at the heart of this is the fundamental question of how best to secure the welfare of a society.

The old dichotomy between the values of capitalism, and communism or socialism, he insists, is outdated. It is no longer suited to the age of what he has dubbed the fourth industrial revolution, with its increasing focus on human, social and natural capital, apart from just financial capital.

“To create welfare, you have to take care of all of those dimensions of capital,” he says, noting that this calls for collaboration among stakeholders.

“The role of corporation is to take care, of course, of shareholders, but also of its people, of its customers, of the community it’s living in. And by doing so, shareholders will be well served,” he adds.

Companies which have done so have weathered the pandemic better than others. Those which are slow to do so are “on the wrong side of history”, and risk discovering too late that their customers, clients, and even staff, are increasingly supportive of organisations which are good for people and the planet.

He points to 60 companies which have partnered with WEF to embrace what it calls stakeholder capitalism metrics, setting out benchmarks to track their progress in meeting social, environmental and governance goals. He hopes that this will grow to 200 by the time of the Singapore meeting, he says.

That forum will also provide an opportunity for greater global collaboration, given the much-needed reset in that most important of bilateral relations, between the United States and China.

“Yes, of course,” he says, when asked if that is on the agenda, and if top leaders from those countries will be invited to attend. WEF has longstanding relations with leaders in both countries, he notes.

Recent years have seen much confrontation between these two major players, and there is a need for more collaboration to tackle common challenges and pursue shared interests, even in the face of the “fierce competition” in some areas that the new US President Joe Biden has alluded to, he says.

“Where we have a common interest, we have to create much more collaboration again. And this collaboration, ideally, integrates all stakeholders. And here, the importance of the annual meeting is evident again.”

Source: ST’s Telegram, Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief, FEB 10, 2021.