Marketing as a Synonym to Education
” MARKETING IS A SYNONYM TO EDUCATION” - (Bruce Oreck, former Ambassador of the USA)
Finland is often criticized being great in technology but poor in business. Poorness includes sales and marketing. Perhaps we should think what marketing really means. For me, Mr. Bruce Oreck’s statement in morning-TV opened a new vision to marketing. In my sales and marketing career I have mostly been involved with developing countries, especially P.R. China. With my Finnish fellows, from various companies, we have often criticized “stupid customers”. Although it is really our fault if we cannot make our customer to understand the superior character of our great products.
Finnish products usually are and especially always have to be of high quality. As Finland is globally #1 country in atmospheric sciences (including air quality), our domestic customers usually understand what we are telling them. This is not the case in China. What makes situation even more difficult is that customers usually do not tell that they do not understand.
It is very difficult for a SME to allocate enough resources for customer education. The opportunity generated by great products is lost by poor manuals and too concise training. This end up to situation where the customer sends dozens of questions afterwards, making everyone frustrated.
China has noted that they require more skilled technicians and other blue-collar people. The country notes this in their current five-year plan (covering years 2016-2020). This includes involvement of industry in vocational education. Showrooms, apprenticeships, co-operation between enterprises and educational institutes. Also the importance of improving the air quality is noted in the current five-year plan. Although indoor air is not mentioned, it is part of the whole. Everything we do in our ecosystem is also required in China.
We are working with a project in Tianjin, about 100 km east of Beijing. We have a signed agreement with the municipal end customer and with our Chinese SME partner. We are supported by Ministry of Environment, Finland. We have joined Education Finland growth program to generate high-quality education. What we need now are companies willing to present their products in the showroom and who are interested in providing education in Finland and in China. Obviously, these companies will be paid for doing so!
The Tianjin-project will be realized during 2018-2019. This year we will build the showroom and finalize the design of education packages. Further education for Chinese vocational teachers will be carried out next year. They are our end customers and they will then educate Chinese students in their home organizations.
Vocational education and training in China is currently being developed towards increasing the involvement of industry. Students learn by hands-on experience. The equipment and contacts they find during their education are the ones which they also use in their industrial career.
By Markku Rajala, Ilmarium Oy