Marketing and selling in tough economic conditions
Market trends for 2011
Prasanna Perera, Marketing and
Management Consultant, Chartered Marketeer, CIM U.K.
Prasanna PERERA- Marketing and Management Consultant, Chartered
Marketeer, CIM U.K.
During 2010, the Sri Lankan marketplace has been transformed and
energized, with many industrial sectors recording substantial growth.
Many brands have been re-launched successfully and other new brands
introduced. What is in store for 2011? I will endeavour to share some of
The following are the key trends that I envisage in 2011.
A greater need for convenience in everything. The consumer is
fighting for time and hence convenience goods and services will have
great success. For example fast food restaurants, laundries and home
A greater demand for vegetarian food, due to health and religious
reasons, vegetarian restaurant and sales of vegetables are likely to
A greater demand for smaller and cheaper packages. (Mainly food,
beverage and personal care products). Brands will be able to penetrate
the lower income segments by following this trend and satisfying it.
A rapidly ageing population that demands health foods and specialized
services. For example food products with low salt and sugar and services
such as homecare, doctor on call and other medical services.
A decline in the child population due to late marriages, aspirations
for higher education and economic reasons. Products and services that
are targeted towards children will find that demand is sluggish. Adult
segments may have to be targeted by these products and services.
Sri Lankans are becoming more and more fashion conscious. Hence,
clothing, lifestyle products and services and footwear will continue to
grow. Western attitudes and perceptions are being observed across the
With smaller families the housing and real estate sector will record
significant changes. Apartments and flats will be preferred to houses.
In the case of houses, smaller ones will be demanded. (two to three
rooms maximum). A good demand will prevail for value-for-money, middle
A shift is observed towards self service stores across the country.
Hence supermarkets, hypermarkets and convenience stores will continue to
have growth. The traditional trade (kade's) will continue to decline,
specially in major cities and towns.
A greater feeling towards Sri Lanka and products that project the Sri
Lankan identity. "Be Sri Lankan, Buy Sri Lankan" is a slogan that has
emotional connections. Hence, Sri Lanka origin brands will have great
A boom in the market for all types of transport vehicles. Small cars,
vans and buses. Since all sectors of the economy is growing, the vehicle
market will grow in all market segments.
Sri Lankan marketeers' response
I believe that Sri Lankan Marketeers should get onto the "top gear."
It is now imperative that this is done and no holding back please.
Those who hold back, will lose market share and possibly never
My mandate to Sri Lankan Marketeers is as follows:
* Be aggressive in developing marketing strategies. "Growth" is the
name of the game.
* Explore new market segments within Sri Lanka. Rely on research
inputs for this purpose.
* Aggressively launch new products and services in keeping with the
market trends and lifestyles.
* Introduce smaller and cheaper packages to target price conscious
consumers, as well as the "singles" market.
* Simplify service processes, in order to improve service response
times, accuracy and customer satisfaction.
* Build brands by prudent investments in innovation, marketing
communications and customer equity.
* Avoid unnecessary sales promotions, that do not add value but
destroy margins. Instead introduce loyalty programs and if promotions
are required, they should be carried out very selectively.
* Do not unnecessarily incentivise the distribution channel members.
Maintain the balance of power between manufacturers and retailers.
Presently, manufacturers are paying more attention to retailers than
consumers! In the long run, consumer loyalty and demand will be the
winner. (As the modern trade grows).
* Be accountable for all marketing budgets. Rely on research inputs,
as well as your executive judgement. Key campaigns should be measured in
terms of effectiveness and efficiency. Shareholder value should be
delivered at all times.
* Marketing Plans are a must. Don't just keep muddling about! Without
plans, there is no direction and valuable resources are wasted. Please
remember the saying "Failure to plan, is a plan to fail."
In this brief article my endeavour was to educate marketeers in Sri
Lanka about the changing landscape of the marketplace. There is no lack
of opportunities, provided insight, creativity and common sense is
applied. The North and East of the country are virgin markets that offer
great scope. My message is "Go to the market aggressively and reap the
benefits." The moment is now!