Paul T.M. Ingenbleek is associate professor of marketing. He completed a Master in history and obtained a PhD in marketing (Tilburg University 2002). After gaining experience in policy- and practice-oriented research in a part-time appointment at the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI), he switched to a full-time academic job in 2011. His current work focuses mainly on the role of strategic marketing in sustainable development with a particular interest in developing and emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
It all starts with the customer...
It is common knowledge that customers should come first in a business. Customers pay the price for the goods and services of the business and are therefore at the basis of its profitability. Bringing a focus into a business on customers' current and future wants and needs is however a complex problem of organizational, cultural, relational and infrastructural factors. Strategic marketing theories teach businesses valuable lessons on how they can strengthen their customer focus and increase their profitability.
How it makes a difference?
More than anywhere else, such strategic marketing thinking can make a difference in developing and emerging markets. In these markets, businesses should produce food and create jobs for rapidly growing populations, link to the small-scale businesses of micro-entrepreneurs and smallholders, and use natural resources in ways that can be sustained for future generations. The approach reasons from the perspective of the business and its innovative and creational power, no matter how small the business is. From there it draws implications for policy-makers and development workers.
What do we really know about strategic marketing in emerging markets ?
Although the “founding father” of business sciences, Peter Drucker already expressed comparable ideas as early as the 1950s, our understanding how strategic marketing theories can be adapted to the specific contexts of developing and emerging markets is still in its infancy. In my projects I work with policy-makers, non-governmental organizations, research institutes and universities from Africa, Asia and Latin America to understand how on-the-ground development problems can be relieved by enriching the development debates with marketing ideas.
Learning from concrete projects
Past and on-going projects focus on, among others, the integration of small-scale farmers, fishermen and shea butter producers with high-value markets, the paradox of market-oriented production of pastoralists whose traditions focus on efficient and sustainable use of scarce natural resources rather than customers, institutional arrangements for sustainable fishing practices, adoption of new farming technologies, adoption of food security-enhancing products at the base of the pyramid, and business development of juice producers.
Paul co-authored numerous conference papers and journal articles. His work is published in among others International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Product-Innovation management, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Journal of International Marketing, Food Policy, Agribusiness and Journal of African Business.