It took Hermawan Kartajaya 25 years to grow MarkPlus, Inc. into what it is today; a leading integrated knowledge-based firm in Indonesia. Hermawan Kartajaya founded MarkPlus, Inc. in 1989 in Surabaya – then known as MarkPlus & Co. He left his position as Sales & Distribution Director at a multi-billion dollar cigarette manufacturer in Indonesia in order to pursue what he believed to be his ‘calling in life’. In its earliest form, MarkPlus, Inc. was an education company offering in-company & public training programs, specializing in marketing strategy.
In 1994, MarkPlus, Inc. had successfully positioned its brand in Surabaya as a professional services and education provider in marketing, market development and business strategy. In addition, the firm continued to use its own conceptual frameworks and research methodologies to develop practical business strategies for clients. In the same year, the company opened its second office in Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta and found its real growth opportunities. The firm grew steadily during those years in tandem with Indonesia’s economic boom until the year 1996.
However, the country was hit hard by the Asian Financial Crisis in late 1997. In 1998 the world witnessed the rebirth of Indonesia, when the country entered “Reformation Era.” Since then, the new Indonesia has embraced and instilled democracy values and regained its status as one of the powerhouses in ASEAN.
The impact on businesses was enormous. Companies started to decentralise their operations and compete by merit. As a result, demand for consulting services grew and MarkPlus had benefited greatly from this. The Asian Financial Crisis had also helped Hermawan Kartajaya’s rise to fame on the international stage. He impressed the father of modern marketing, Prof. Philip Kotler with his views on the crisis during the 1998 World Marketing Conference in Moscow. Since then, the two have built a close friendship and co-authored many international marketing books together.
By 1999, the firm had established a strong list of clientele, which consisted of privately-owned, state-owned and multinational corporations in Indonesia. In the tenth year since its founding, MarkPlus, Inc. had more than 100 employees, mainly serving in the company as consultants, researchers and trainers. By 2004, MarkPlus, Inc. had spread its operations to three new cities; Bandung, Semarang and Medan. The firm grew to more than 10 offices across the country from 2004 to 2009.
Indonesia’s strong growth over the past two decades has helped accelerate MarkPlus’ growth in the country. MarkPlus & Co has re-branded itself into MarkPlus, Inc. and is regarded as the No.1 domestic consulting firm in Indonesia, with over 400 full-time employees and 18 branches across the country.