Party not over but market getting tight

Wednesday, 29 August 2012 00:50 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) together with the Bucks University featured the 2012 award winners from Singapore of global business associations and chief marketing officers under the theme ‘Is The Party Over?’ at Galadari Hotel, where a select audience of 200 business and marketers attended the event.

Some of the key points discussed was with the global financial crisis creating a new poor that has emerged in the European market, the ramification is that Sri Lanka is witnessing a slowing down of its export business, whilst the depreciation of the rupee is adding pressure to the prices of goods and services, which is creating an inflationary impact on the consumer purse.Keynote speaker Rohantha Athukorala

This ramification driving up the interest rates is reducing money circulation and hence the market is getting tight was the essence of the panel discussants, who are at the cutting edge of implementation at organisational level and policy.

Keynote speaker Rohantha Athukorala who is a twice Marketing Achiever Award winner when he managed the power brand Dettol said that whilst acknowledging that the market was getting tight, the need of the hour was policy reforms from a macro perspective.

He commented that the recent protests that we see must be viewed from a more macro rather perspective than just getting into the operational aspects as highlighted in the media, and in this context urged the business fraternity to support a Public-Private Partnership for policy reforms to happen through the 2013 National Budget.

Athukorala, who sits on many key trade and commerce policymaking national boards, said that this was not new as even at the recent BRIC summit, a key recommendation from the Indian Prime Minister was for the IMF and World Bank to help the BRIC companies architecture the reforms required in the BRIC country that is shaping the world and he went further by wanting IMF to set up a monitoring team to help the BRIC nations implement these changes.

World dynamics are changing and hence policies must change in a country accordingly to support consumer orientation, said Athukorala, highlighting the need for the private sector to support the system rather than being critical.

General Manager Marketing and Sales of D. Samson Group of Companies and the current Vice President of the Asian Marketing Federation Rohan Somawansa mentioned that with the increasing fuel prices and electricity tariffs in early 2012, there is pressure on organisations to manage costs and now companies must restructure and realign, given that the world is into tough times.

However, he cautioned that this must be done in line with the cultural nuances of the country as being ethical is key to business in today’s business world. This approach to business is especially key given that many companies are in doing business in the region and some globally, said Somawansa.From left: Ravi Balraj, General Manager Marketing Janashakthi Insurance Plc, Rohan Somawansa, General Manager DSI, Theja Peiris General Manager Marketing –Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., Pradeep Edwards, General Manager Novex Pharmaceuticals and Rohantha Athukorala, Head of National Portfolio-United Nations (UNOPS)

Three times Marketing Excellence Award winner and top marketer at Ceylon Biscuits Limited Theja Peiris, who is the General Manager – Marketing at CBL, commented that similar to what Athukorala mentioned on how Apple marketed its iPad at a time when there is a recession globally to be one of the most successful brands in the world, in Sri Lanka Ceylon Biscuits is proud to state that the Apple Puff is a truly Sri Lankan brand that is making waves in the market with some cutting edge marketing practices, which means that even during tough times like we have in Sri Lanka today, brands can be developed provided that a positive attitude is maintained.

A point discussed in detail was the regulatory practices that business have been asked to adhere to in Sri Lanka either in the hotel industry or in the construction industry, which are creating many issues for business at the implementation end.

The almost 7,000 rooms to be built in the city by investors to enter the booming tourism sector and the construction of infrastructure in the north being driven strongly by the Government is resulting in a severe shortage of people for employment.

The tea, apparel and cinnamon industries and in the future a shortage for cement and key raw material was cited by the panellists. A thought agreed on by the eminent panel was that ROI based infrastructure development must be followed by policymakers so that we do not put pressure on the future generations to come and the country having to bear debt that will hurt the economy of Sri Lanka.

Janashakthi Insurance General Manager Marketing Ravi Balraj, a top marketer in the service sector, said that the current economic conditions were forcing corporates to opt for non-marketing modes and pursue various methods to reduce costs that force marketers to drive innovation as a sustainability tool.

Today, a growing number of organisations are using innovative marketing tools to generate and sustain desired levels of sales. This has given more prominence to the role of the chief financial officer.

Project Chairperson of the event Pradeep David commended the cutting edge thoughts shared by the award winning panellists and said that it was very clear that the party was not over but the market was certainly getting tight.