Marketing and selling in tough economic conditions :
Post-conflict marketing opportunities
Series by : Prasanna Perera,
Management Consultant, Chartered
Marketer, CIM UK
After 30 years of conflict, Sri Lanka looks forward to a bright and
prosperous future. This undoubtedly opens opportunities and marketers
would do well to identify and capitalize on them. It is important to
remember that the early bird catches the worm. Hence, timing is of
essence as well. What are the opportunities opening up? Let me endeavour
to highlight some of them.
* Tourism - Tourist arrivals have been hovering around 0.5
million for the last few years. With the war over, there will be an
influx of visitors towards the end of the year. Hence, the hospitality
and related industries will have great opportunities. The question is
whether the industry is ready to deal with an influx of visitors, having
been in a negative mindset for so long.
* Precious Gemstones - Related to the tourism industry is
gemstones. This industry has been through torrid times recently. Now, is
the opportunity to turn-around this industry, which brings in valuable
foreign exchange to the country.
* Inland Aviation - In order to accelerate growth, quick
transportation will be required. This is an opportunity for domestic
airlines and helicopters. Further, with the anticipated increase in
tourist arrivals, an additional need surfaces.
* Building Materials - In order to create a sense of normalcy
in the Northern Province, construction of houses, retail establishments,
banks will be needed. This provides opportunities for marketers of
building materials such as cement, roofing materials, PVC pipes, nuts
and bolts, For the building materials industry the time is now.
* Marine - The sea extent is eight times larger than the land
extent in Sri Lanka! Hence, the fisheries sector is likely to boom with
the gradual relaxation of fishing restrictions in the Northern seas.
Marketing opportunities arise for boats, boat engines (outboard motors),
batteries and for fisheries products. (Both for domestic consumption and
* Agricultural and Related Industries - Sri Lanka’s main crops
such as paddy, tea, rubber and coconut will have better times in the
near future. Paddy cultivation will increase in the Northern theatre and
marketers of rice can look forward to larger supply volumes. Brand
Marketing of rice should be carried out to add value to consumers. Paddy
cultivation also creates opportunities for agricultural implements such
as tractors, threshers and agro chemicals.
It is important to note that the largest contribution of rice volumes
comes from the Eastern Province and the Northern Province.
* Tea - With the improvement of the domestic tourism industry,
the market for value added teas will increase. Hence, marketers of tea
will do well to develop value added teas and also iced tea. Brand
Marketing of tea is the way forward, for exports and the domestic
* Supermarkets / Retailing -
Tremendous opportunities in the North and East for food retailers
initially, followed by clothing, footwear and numerous others. Retail
players need to move in and grab the opportunities.
The time is NOW! GET MOVING!