As one who has written several articles on Marketing on ISC, and also as one who has been advising small entrepreneurs on marketing tricks and actual tips to take on the competition, I can safely advise you to just read all the books written by the true Marketing Guru of the world, whose name is Philip Kotler.
Please do go to Amazon.com and just type books on Marketing by Philip Kotler. You may find so many books written by him. A few of them have been written in collaboration with Indian professors. Since am not at home at the moment, I will not be able to give you all the names of books, but you will get them anyway through the internet.
I do not want to say anything about the books mentioned by our experts. I have read at least a few of them. However, please do note that Marketing is a very dynamic field, where one can only learn from experience. One cannot go on reading so many concepts without understanding the implications in the real world. Furthermore, you must just go through each concept, beat it down to the basics and then explain the concept in terms of what you see all around.
I will explain some basic concepts in Marketing for you to understand how it works. I have only a distance learning MBA degree from IGNOU. I specialized in marketing. My other basic degree is the full time MSW degree from Loyola College, Chennai. But I keep on reading everything written by Philip Kotler. When you understand the other authors, you must be very thorough with your basics and must have read, cover to cover, at least three books by Philip Kotler and at least twelve articles written by him.
Let us come back to the simplest concept called segmenting the market. You need to understand this at the macro level and then the micro level. Let us take the example of the food industry. Marketing is essentially all about creating billions of customers and making them glued to you. That is, you simply envelope their collective consciousness. Google and YouTube are classic examples.
Let us look at the macro. We are only talking about food. Nothing else. Segmenting the market means making the market cater to different customers. This is followed as a routine in every market, but it is fabulous in the food industry. Macro means country, that is India. Micro means one city.
Look at all facts you see around you. I will explain. In every city, you will find five star hotels. Four star, three star, two star and no star but a branded hotel. All hotels serve food and also same food as well. For example, a cup of coffee in a five star hotel may cost you Rs.800. The waiter will come neatly dressed, you will have world class ambience where you can feel like a movie hero and have the coffee. In a branded restaurant, like for say, Saravana Bhavan of Chennai, a cup of coffee will cost you Rs45/-. Now even this too costly for over 60 percent of Indians. So, they will go to a friendly shop nearby where the same cup of coffee will cost only Rs15 or at best Rs.20/. Now, you have one example of coffee, where the market is hugely segmented.
Take another example of Mumbai. Once again micro. Take the classic example of the signature breakfast dish called vadapav. The guys near the railway station may be selling it at Rs 10 or Rs. 15 even today. The taste is simply superb. No one can make it like them. They serve billions of customers every day. Now take the same vada pav. Go to a branded Udipi hotel and ask for the price. You may pay Rs60 at 2020 prices. Go to a three star hotel and you may Rs180/. Same size vada pav. In a three star hotel, you also pay for the ambience and the comfort. This is exactly how you will understand marketing.
Want to know more? Remember, marketing is nothing without sales. The promotion and all tactics used to make anyone a customer, is broadly marketing. But the sales has to happen. Anywhere in the world. Anywhere, in any business. But if you want to know how there is a cheaper substitute for every single product under the sun, go to a big retail shop called Saravana Stores in T.Nagar Chennai, when you visit the city. Remember, there is a joke that you just cannot buy your father and mother here!! But you can anything. The range is so huge. Yearly turnover of this single shop is reportedly Rs3600 crores. Yes. That is perfect. Around Rs10 crores per day. Every single product sold will be unique. Want to buy a raincoat for just one season? Rs250 or Rs300 is all you need. Use it for just one rainy season. Just go there and buy it. The logic is simple. His target customer is anyone with a fixed income of Rs20,000 or less at 2020 prices. You cannot even find space to move around. That is perfect market segmentation for you.
Life is all about marketing. Even my attempt at this answer is marketing. I always use common sense examples to explain. I never ever read anyone else s answer. Here, I just looked at the books listed. Nothing more. I am wedded to just one Marketing Guru whose name is Philip Kotler.
Keep on understanding everything with examples. You will learn Marketing in a practical context. All the best.