Was Mahatma Gandhi the Ultimate Marketer?


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As India celebrates its independence day, we remember the leaders and the hundreds of thousands of martyrs who laid their lives for the country.

As I look upon the history and Gandhiji’ s actions, I can’t but think of him as the ultimate marketer. The job of every marketer is to move people to action. That is exactly what he did, he moved people across the nation to action. So, I think there are some lessons that every marketer can learn from Gandhiji.

  1. Know whom you want to move: There were three sets of people – The British, The Indian common man & the Indian leaders. He made a special effort to get to know all of these people, what their current state of reality was, what motivated them, how they thought and what they feared. This helped him to tailor his message to each of these people in a way that would move them the way he wanted. He never let an opportunity pass by when he could meet & communicate with them. This led to him travelling to attend British conventions, round table conferences, courts of law and prison. This also led him to travel to almost every congress leadership sessions to meet the Indian leaders. He also used these travels to connect with the common men whose support he and his country would need to achieve his goal.
  2. Talk to their emotions: He always made sure that he would talk to the emotions of the people whom he is addressing. Every single of his actions were designed to evoke an emotional response. Whether it was about peaceful non-cooperation, burning of foreign clothes, the salt march, fasting until death, the call to clean our toilets ourselves. Each of these actions directly appeals to the emotions and elicits emotional reactions. He clearly understood that it is emotions that move people to action, not rationality.
  3. Honest and open communications: He also understood the importance of Open, honest and continuous communication. He never missed an opportunity to write (to the press, to the leaders, to his fellow countrymen or the British government). He also never missed an opportunity to talk to people during his innumerable travels across the country. Every one of his letters or speeches was tailored to its audience. He was capable of switching between talking to the intellectual elite to talking to the peasants of the country with ease.
  4. Use of theatrics to surprise and inspire action: He was a strong believer in the idea of symbolism. Every movement that he started was symbolic to a deeper motive. All his movements also required theatrics, whether it was burning all foreign clothes or walking 240 miles to make salt (which at that time was totally controlled by the British) or his attire of wearing just a loin cloth, similar to the peasants of the country or his fasts unto death in public places or cleaning his own toilet.

As marketers, these are the exact traits that we need to show in order to succeed to move our customers.

Do you agree with my opinions? Do share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting to me at @rmukeshgupta.

PS: Interesting videos about Gandhiji:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mukesh Gupta
I currently work for SAP as Customer advocate. In this capacity, I am responsible to ensure that the voice of the customer is being heard and play the bridge between customers and SAP. Prior to joining SAP, I have worked with different organizations serving in different functions like customer service, logistics, production planning & sales, marketing and business development functions. I was also the founder-CEO of a start-up called "Innovative Enterprises". The venture was in the retail & distribution business. I blog at http://rmukeshgupta.com.


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