SL has highly-professional marketing approach: Abraham Koshy

Tuesday, 25 June 2013 09:43 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam A top marketing expert yesterday expressed that Sri Lanka has become more marketing oriented over the years and has become highly professional in terms of its approach. Visiting Indian Professor of Marketing Abraham Koshy said that the country has an increasing number of qualified people in the industry who understand the need of marketing to uplift the identity and value of their respected brands. Professor Koshy, who is on a two-day trip to Sri Lanka to address the CIM Annual Conference 2013 in Colombo, said that the country’s professionals have managed to clearly differentiate between sales and marketing and are carrying out practices in a professional approach while keeping up with the trends. “Earlier, if you ask a marketing professional if he was doing justice to his job, he would say yes and when asked why, he would say because he can sell, and that is not the case now. Sales and marketing are two different things,” said Koshy, who will be speaking on the topic ‘Theory on Value Creation’ at the conference today. Furthermore, he observed that the local marketing professionals were noted to be following good marketing practices such as getting to know their consumers, conducting market research, and most importantly, reaching out for expert advice. During an interview with the Daily FT, Koshy said the South Asia region had many success stories that the West could learn from. “Earlier we had to look up to the West for success in marketing. Now we have our own,” he expressed. Stressing that marketing approaches should be conceptualised to be region specific, he said: “It is important to look at what is important to the South Asian market since buyer characteristics and behaviours are different when compared to the West. Effective marketing is getting about a business model that is appropriate to your country.” When asked to pick a few success stories that are noteworthy, Koshy applauded Sri Lanka’s very own Dilmah for having created an innovative and creative marketing pitch for its white tea. The unique concept of Dilmah is also mentioned in the book ‘Marketing Management: A South Asian Perspective,’ which Koshy co-authored with marketing guru Philip Kotler. With digitisation being an upcoming trend in marketing, Koshy observed that the South Asian region is on par with the West on this regard. “Digitisation is being embraced well in the region, but when it comes to allocation of budgets for this purpose, there is reluctance shown by the management.” Noting that the success of online marketing is unpredictable, he attributed the reluctance of allocation to the fear of failure. “The big names have made their place online since they took the risk, may have failed a couple of times, but managed to secure their market position using different e-avenues. Smaller companies also have to understand this and take a step forward. In the current context, if you are not online, you simple do not exist,” Koshy asserted.