Philip Kotler

Philip Kotler is an American marketing author, consultant, and professor; the S. C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He gave the definition of marketing mix. He is the author of over 80 books, including Marketing Management, Principles of Marketing, Kotler on Marketing, Marketing Insights from A to Z, Marketing 4.0, Marketing Places, Marketing of Nations, Chaotics, Market Your Way to Growth, Winning Global Markets, Strategic Marketing for Health Care Organizations, Social Marketing, Social Media Marketing, My Adventures in Marketing, Up and Out of Poverty, and Winning at Innovation. Kotler describes strategic marketing as serving as "the link between society's needs and its pattern of industrial response."
Kotler helped create the field of social marketing that focuses on helping individuals and groups modify their behaviors toward healthier and safer living styles. He also created the concept of "demarketing" to aid in the task of reducing the level of demand. He also developed the concepts of "prosumers," "atmospherics," and "societal marketing." He is regarded as,"The Father of Modern Marketing" by many scholars.
Kotler's latest work focuses on economic justice and the shortcomings of capitalism. He published Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System in 2015, Democracy in Decline: Rebuilding its Future in 2016, "Advancing the Common Good" in 2019, and Brand Activism: From Purpose to Action in 2018.

Early life

Both of Kotler's parents, Betty and Maurice, emigrated in 1917 from Russian Empire and settled in Chicago, where Kotler was born on May 27, 1931. He studied at DePaul University for two years and was accepted without a bachelor's degree into the Master's program at the University of Chicago and his PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning both degrees in economics. He studied under three Nobel Laureates in Economic Science: Milton Friedman, Paul Samuelson, and Robert Solow. He did a year of postdoctoral work in mathematics at Harvard University and in behavioral science at the University of Chicago.

Views about marketing

Kotler started teaching marketing in 1962 at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He believed marketing was an essential part of economics and saw demand as influenced not only by price but also by advertising, sales promotions, sales forces, direct mail, and various middlemen operating as sales and distribution channels.
Philip Kotler holds that:
"the organization's marketing task is to determine the needs, wants and interests of target markets and to achieve the desired results more effectively and efficiently than competitors, in a way that preserves or enhances the consumer's or society's well-being."

He links the profit motive to the satisfaction of consumer wants and society's well-being. In order to market effectively, Kotler believes the marketing purpose of elevating consumer well-being has to be put at the heart of company strategy and be practiced by all managers.
In 2003, the Financial Times cited Kotler's three major contributions to marketing and to management:
First, he has done more than any other writer or scholar to promote the importance of marketing, transforming it from a peripheral activity, bolted on to the more "important" work of production. Second, he continued a trend started by Peter Drucker, shifting emphasis away from price and distribution to a greater focus on meeting customers' needs and on the benefits received from a product or service. Third, he has broadened the concept of marketing from more selling to a more general process of communication and exchange, and has shown how marketing can be extended and applied to charities, museums, performing arts organizations, political parties and many other non-commercial situations.

Kotler argued for "broadening the field of marketing" to cover not only commercial operations but also the operations of non-profit organizations and government agencies. He held that marketing can be applied not only to products, services, and experiences, but also to causes, ideas, persons, and places. Thus a museum needs the marketing skills of Product, Price, Place, and Promotion if it is to be successful in attracting visitors, donors, staff members, and public support. Kotler and Gerald Zaltman created the field of social marketing, which applies marketing theory to influence behavior change that would benefit consumers, their peers, and society as a whole. Kotler and Sidney Levy developed the idea of demarketing, which organizations must employ to reduce overall or selective demand when demand is too high. Thus, when water is in short supply, the government needs to persuade various water consumers to reduce water usage so that enough water will be available for essential uses. In 2018, Christian Sarkar and Kotler began promoting brand activism, the idea that businesses must go beyond Corporate Social Responsibility to tackle the world's most urgent problems.

Writings and activities

In 1967, Kotler published Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, and Control, now in its 15th edition, and the world's most widely adopted textbook in graduate schools of business.

Honorable distinctions

In 1975, Kotler was the first person to receive the "Leader in Marketing Thought" award voted on by the academic members of the American Marketing Association.
The Financial Times on November 18, 2005 surveyed 1,000 executives in 25 countries about the Most Influential Business Writers/Management Gurus, and Kotler ranked fourth after Peter Drucker, Bill Gates, and Jack Welch. Kotler's contributions are described in at least one chapter found in every book written about the "gurus" of business and management.
In 2007, Kotler was appointed a special Ambassador at large for Indonesian Tourism. In May 2011, the city of Denpasar in Bali bestowed the title of honorary resident of Denpasar.
On February 16, 2013, he was the first recipient of the William L. Wilkie "Marketing for a Better World" award from the American Marketing Association to "honor marketers who have significantly contributed to the understanding and appreciation for marketing's potential to improve the world." Also, in 2013 he was the first recipient of the Sheth Foundation Medal for Exceptional Contribution to Marketing Scholarship and Practice.
On November 7, 2013, Kotler received the Badge of Honor of Officer of the Order of Academic Palms established in France in the 19th Century.
On November 19, 2013, Kotler was inducted into the Management Hall of Fame, along with 10 other management gurus.
On March 1, 2014, Kotler is number 16 in the list of the 30 World's Top Management Professionals and the only marketer.
On May 28, 2014, Kotler is inducted in the Marketing Hall of Fame in New York City.
On April 23, 2016, Kotler received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Leaders International at the 6th Global Leadership Awards.
In 2020, Kotler was voted the #3 Guru in Management in the top 30 Gurus of Management.
Kotler is also the founder along with Fahim Kibria of the World Marketing Summit. WMS sponsors global conferences with top speakers discussing the latest developments in marketing and business practice that will improve commerce and the quallity of life. He also established with Hermawan Kartajaya the world's first Museum of Marketing in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia..
Kotler is a collector of fine Japanese netsukes and swordguards. He and his wife Nancy are major collectors of studio art glass. They contributed a major portion of their glass collection to the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. The Kotlers and the Covilles funded the Glass Pavilion building at the museum.
Kotler has received 23 honorary degrees from around the world.


Philip has two brothers, Milton and the late Neil Kotler. Philip met Nancy at Radcliffe and they married in 1955. They have three daughters, Amy, Melissa and Jessica and nine grandchildren.

Kotler Board of Impact

Philip started a strategic marketing community to ensure marketing and economic progress through diversity. As a part of this initiative, every year Marketing Summits and Conferences are held across the world that acts as a potpourri of young minds. In India, the board works with Niti Ayog and the project is spearheaded by Dr.Somdutta Singh.

Selected publications

"Guru" books that contain a complete chapter on Professor Kotler's contributions include such titles as: