An experienced marketing manager with more than 40 years of service in the public and private sectors has launched a private consultancy which he says seeks to revisit the concept of marketing as a business tool in order to enable business houses to utilize marketing to greater advantage.
Eric Whaul, who has held various marketing positions with the Demerara Tobacco Company, the Guyana National Newspapers Ltd and Singers told Stabroek Business in an interview earlier this week that some of the major companies in Guyana were guilty of not applying marketing effectively as a means of selling their goods and services. Whaul told Stabroek Business that some companies had grown accustomed to “sporadic initiatives” that sought to employ their marketing staff “only when they have a problem selling a product”. Whaul said he believed local businesses had a greater chance of commercial success if they understood that marketing “is not about fire-fighting. It is about the constant application of a tool that is integral to the day-to-day operation of a business enterprise.”
According to Whaul, the failure by some big local companies to locate their marketing personnel in positions of “real authority” with their organizations may well have to do with deficiencies at the level of the human resources departments of those companies. “They are the people who are responsible for recruitment. Whaul said part of the role of human resources functionaries was to ensure that recruitment took account of the needs of the organization. He said that in far too many cases there was tendency either to overlook the role that marketing plays or to place marketing close to the bottom of the scale of priorities.
Whaul told Stabroek Business that he believed marketing was linked not only to maximizing the sale of goods and services but also to ensuring that customer expectations were met. He said he believed this was particularly so in an consumer environment where there was a high degree of suspicion about the quality of some products available on the local market. “Where the perception exists that the quality of goods is questionable, marketing strategies aimed at selling those goods are unlikely to succeed since these are competing against strongly-held views though this does not always hold true since some consumers tend to make purchases based on price rather than quality,” Whaul said.
The former Singers marketing manager said he hopes to use his experience in the field to “create a new appreciation of the role that marketing plays in the business sector.”
Meanwhile, he said, there have been signs that some categories of business houses are beginning to become more aware of the need to market themselves. “This tendency is reflecting itself particularly among the commercial banks and other lending institutions. Banks are clearly becoming more aggressive in their marketing and are seeking to make themselves more attractive to the public,” he said.
Whaul’s new Company, Premium Services, seeks to offer its services to both the public and private sectors. “What we are seeking to do is to integrate marketing into business in a holistic way. We are, for example, seeking to help local businesses expand both their domestic and international markets. We have recruited a Chinese language specialist as part of our team because we have been following the trend of Chinese commercial expansion in the Caribbean,” Whaul said. “Apart from this we are looking at the business opportunities that are beginning to open up in South America and seeking to provide businesses seeking to take advantage of opportunities with the kind of marketing advice that could gain them access to those markets.”