Challenge posed by discontinuity


The last one in the long series of challenges facing Indian firms today is the challenge of achieving marketing success under conditions of discontinuity. This is the cumulative and ultimate issue and the sum total of all the challenges.

Past ceases to be an Indicator of the Future

What is discontinuity in the corporate context and its consequences on the marketing front?

Discontinuity is a situation wherein the past does not provide any indication for understanding the future. One cannot get a clue to the future scenario by extrapolating the past. The future starts afresh totally broken from the past. It is this break that brings forth the discontinuity, the past pattern is discontinued and an altogether different pattern emerges.

Discontinuity implies change that is difficult to predict and managing such a change is obviously a difficult job. This is exactly what is happening in the Indian corporate sector now. There is total discontinuity.

It’s no Longer Business as Usual

In practical terms, discontinuity means the entire planning task has to be carried out under conditions of uncertainty. Organizations have to now strategize based on totally uncertain scenarios; they no longer have the luxury of strategizing on the basis of probable scenarios.

Commenting on the post-liberalization situation in India, Dr.CK Prahalad, the noted management expert, has said, ‘For Indian firms, the post-liberalization era is the era of discontinuity. There are changes in every sphere, with dramatic shifts…. The first step for Indian firms is to recognize that it is no longer business as usual and that they are at the crossroads in the true sense…’

Now, firms need to carry out a lot more of market research to find:

* Changes that are going to happen to lifestyles and consumer tastes
* Modifications that are going to take place in the realm of technology
* Anticipation of Future Market competitiveness

The New Situation Demands New Approaches in Marketing

The firms have to learn new ways of marketing to manage the mega change. When markets, lifestyles, competition, technology and everything else are changing so fast, the recipes of the past may not work. The marketers must show innovation to cope up with constantly changing situation.


The sum and substances of all the above discussions is that for Indian business firms, marketing is now emerging as the most vital function. On their capacity for learning marketing anew will depend whether, and to what extent, they will succeed

In conclusion, we summarize that in the earlier regulated regime, there was no great need for top class marketing. Indian firms operating as they were in the smug comfort of a protected economy could prosper despite their shoddy marketing. That era, however, is now decisively over. They have to now necessarily compete with global firms, at the global level. This means the time for scientific marketing management has arrived in India.