CIM embarks on the role of marketing at national level
As the euphoria continued at the end of the 27-year-old war against
terrorism, the ninth CIM Annual Conference ended on a high note
embarking on the role of Marketing at national level, towards rebuilding
A flagship event of The Chartered Institute of Marketing Sri Lanka
Region the CIM Annual Conference was held recently at the Cinnamon
Grand. Organized under the patronage of Sri Lanka Telecom, the strategic
partner for the seventh consecutive year, the conference spotlighted six
locally and internationally acclaimed speakers who shared their
knowledge and thoughts on unconventional marketing strategies to survive
Shiraz Latiff, welcoming the audience, said that the nation has
overcome its greatest challenge and that it is time for marketers to
think beyond their organisations and contribute towards rebuilding the
war-torn economy and marketing Sri Lanka as a country. He said that if
sheer leadership and common sense could turn-around the destiny of a
country, it is not impossible that professional marketers could survive
The chief guest at the ceremony, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs Dr. Palitha Kohona, in his address, ‘Winning the War on
Terrorism - The New Dawn’ elaborated on the victory that Sri Lanka as a
nation has achieved against all odds.
“One obvious victim of the conflict was our economy - and it suffered
immensely during the past 27 years. It is estimated that the country
lost USD 200 billion in lost opportunity.” All should join hands for the
reconstruction and development of the country, he said.
Chairperson of Sri Lanka Telecom Leisha de Silva Chandrasena,
highlighted the significance of Information and Communication Technology
in the current context and the role of Sri Lanka Telecom.
The technical sessions commenced with a situational assessment by a
moderated panel hosted by senior marketers and business leaders.
Managing Director, Eagle Insurance PLC Deepal Sooryarachchi, outlined
the new opportunities and challenges that have surfaced with the
liberation of the LTTE controlled areas. As the resettlement of the
Internally Displaced People progresses there will be a boom in economic
activities in the area.
He said that it would be interesting for marketers to find strategies
to enter these new markets which could be different in terms of culture
and demography. Managing Director, Fonterra Brand Lanka Ltd Achyut Reddi,
said that it’s time to revisit the basics and to achieve brilliance in
He emphasized on a disciplined approach towards the organisational
vision and the need to strengthen its core value proposition. CEO of
Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd. Suren Amarasekera, spoke of the relevance of value
innovation as a competitive strategy in turbulent times.
Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka
Dr. Saman Kelegama, enlightening the participants on an economist’s
perspective of the current contest envisaged that Sri Lanka’s economy
will recover faster than the world economy.
The economy had sustained a positive growth even during the time of
war and that it is not impossible to achieve a double digit growth rate
in the ensuing year, if we all get our act right.
Emeritus Prof. Michael Baker in his presentation ‘Back to Basics’
said “those who forget history are bound to repeat it.” He said that the
world had experienced boom and bust many times before. He also explained
how an organization could turn turbulence to its advantage with the
Dr. Uditha Liyanage said that organizations should be flexible and
adaptive to environmental changes as the relevance of deliberate
strategies tend to grind down in turbulence. In his presentation, Dr.
Liyanage addressed several common misconceptions of strategy - which he
defined as a ‘stand’.
He said that organizational values should go hand in hand with their
strategy and added that it was surprising to have found that out of 32
top companies in Sri Lanka only three companies had strategies that go
in line with their values.
Prof. Amitava Chattopadyay making his presentation, ‘Marketing in
Recessionary Times’ said “doom and gloom is not for everyone”.
Explaining the doctrine of price sensitivity, he said that the most
vulnerable sectors are the durables and semi durables.
Prof. Amitava said that it is common that most companies to cut down
on their marketing and brand development during recessionary times. He
encouraged the participants to continue brand building activities
thereby increasing their voice share in the market which goes up as the
competitors cut down on their advertising spend.
Prof. Amitava also stressed the need to use the correct vocabulary
and create a link between the marketing objectives and overall
organizational objectives when convincing the top management. One of the
highlights of this year’s conference was the presentation by Air Vice
Marshal G Y De Silva - “Military Warfare” - which enlightened the
participants on the applicability of military warfare strategies in
marketing. The conference also hosted panel discussions led by eminent
marketers and business leaders.