Saturday, November 8, 2014

Living through the Rise Cliff and Fall of Marketing

Selecting University of Kelaniya was one of the most controversial decisions I took, which happened to be one of the best decisions in my life. When everyone criticized myself for selecting MIT degree program I stood straight with my opinion because I believed in DIM. Every other thought which came from outside was secondary to me. "Exposition Magazine", the magazine bridging Management and IT is one of main activities to all the MITians in Department's calendar.

I being the Head of Interviews for the Exposition Magazine had the privileged of interviewing many leading business personnel in Sri Lanka who were courageous enough to live a few years of their life like most people won’t so they can spend the rest of their lives like most people can't!!

AWAIT!! For my blogging on the 10 Beautiful minds which I came across as the interviewees...

This is my article for the Exposition Magazine which became the Runners Up in the "Best Article Competition" of the Exposition Magazine 2014. Since I was busy working for the interviews, I postponed writing my article for about 10 to 15 times and its Janaka Senanayake who kept disturbing me saying "Malith!! Article?? Malith!! Article??" So finally at the last moment, a day before the date given the magazine for the printing I was managed to give Janaka my article. This happening remembered me of this saying "There is always a little distance between trying and winning"(Something like this which I don't remember exactly :D)

Exposition Magazine launch was a GALA launch in the real sense of the word. Let me share few shot of the I appearing on the screen of the day.

LOL! They say my famous scarecrow walk! On the way to collect the certificate. Was feeling good I would say while walking with all the applauds ;)

These are the Winner and 2nd runners up with me!! They were having cool articles I would say :)

The Appreciation for the achievers of the Department.

My lovely DIM family!!

My article reads.....

‘The Evolution’, may be the most sought after word of the world’s history from those times which we had no flora and fauna ornamenting the earth, to nowadays which we are trying to extinct the life on earth by our own selfishness. With the evolution of the species called humans, all our surroundings changed and today it’s world of humans that we have.

When humans evolved in the path of the evolution, all other aspects of humans such as Sciences, Arts, and Technologies evolved with them. Management and Technologies are such main areas of human association which changed rapidly with the development of this dominating species. Today, we whom our ancestors might had run scared to death from leopards are killing them to produce designer hand bags. That’s our so called development. Though sometimes it is hardly to call it a development, as a human I might call it the same driven by my human chauvinism. Amidst reaching all the advancements, humans found something called ‘Market’ which is the center of most talks which In essence it stands for money, demand and supply. Today we have a world which we can’t even think about our lives without this so called Market.

A ‘Market’ is a situation where the sellers and buyers get together for the exchanging purposes. Those days when we were not civilized, one set of our ancestors used to hunt animals, while the other used to do cultivations and another did jobs which are now developed to the states Industries. The concept of Market came in to play when our ancestors wanted to exchange the excess they produced with the others. This idea was grown to the level which we today call as an Economy. With the rise of the concept called Economy, everything changed and today we have passed eras such as Production Era, Product Era, Sales Era, Marketing Era, Societal Marketing Era, and Relationship Marketing Era.  According to the Marketing Specialists, these are the main Eras of Marketing Evolvement and all these eras added something to the beauty of our world and contributed for the betterment of the concept ‘Market’. Every product which we are using, which are making our lives sophisticated passed through the same stages of Market Evolution.

In my opinion the most important and most influential Era of the Evolution is the Sales Era which took out the weight of the product’s success for the Market’s Success. It was on the shoulders of Sales people and those days, people thought a product will never be successful as long as that product gets a hardcore selling support. After that the weight of the success moved from Sales Person to the Marketer making the Marketer’s responsibility to create the pull from the customer. In other word’s making the customer want to buy the product rather than a person trying to push the product by persuasion. Societal Marketing concept focused on being an ethical, environment friendly organization while creating the competitive advantage and differentiating the product in order to be profitable. Relation- ship Marketing goes to the extent of building long term allies with the customers and making the customer brand loyal with the help of the relationship.

Today we are standing in a world of marketing. Though Sri Lanka was lagging behind when it comes to Marketing, today we are learning and practicing marketing very much from small scale to large scale. The ‘Thalaguli Mudali’ who used to display sweets in unordered manner, keeps the shop tidy and ordered with a huge display saying ‘Jinadasage Thalaguli’ today. Everything has a name and price tag today! Where ever we go we can see this transformation to Marketing Oriented business. Even the winkles which used to have a ragged umbrella as the shelter are branded today. Though they don’t call it branding or marketing, unknowingly they do Marketing or Branding. Today, we can see very creative and influential adverts appealing to all the senses of the customers.The Commercial Credit’s advertisement showing the humanity of Sri Lankans being different by offering a fresh glass of water to a street seller warms the cockles of our hearts and attach us to their brand with emotional appeal.  Marketing has given us the chance to become any person on this earth subjected to the fact that we have enough money. You can become smart and tactful person like Leornardo De Caprio if you wear a T*** watch. You can become courageous like Oscar Pictorious if you wear a pair of Nike shoes. You can become rugged by driving a Land Rover or become stylish and prestigious by using a Peugeot car. All these worlds’ brands have given us the chance to become any world famous person as long as we have good figures in the bank accounts. We, the Sri Lankans who used to eat Maniocca with Sambol are now eating French fries from Burger King Franchise while giving us the feeling that we are cozy like the Americans. Brands…. Brands… Brands!! Brands are everywhere no matter how much we try to escape from them. This is how the concept of ‘Market’ which started with our ‘Veddha’ ancestors evolved with time. After all it’s a world of BRANDS we see today.

So what will be the future of Marketing?? What will happen when all the Marketing Tactics are implemented and every human in this world is taken/ owned by brands? The core idea of branding is the ownership of people. If there is a person who is brand loyal to a particular brand then that person is owned and manipulated by it. Let’s take Apple phones as the example. The basic idea of using a phone is to take a call or send a txt or do the fundamental communication activities. But today people pay hundreds of dollars on i-Phones and stay in queues for weeks to buy the latest version. Whenever there is new launch of Apple, they arouse the set of people who are brand loyal or in my terms the set of people which they OWN and manipulate them to buy their product. The idea of OWNERSHIP which is inculcated in branding is an aspect which we don’t see on surface of it. The irony is that the same concept of ‘OWNERSHIP ’had twice made the world to face World Wars!!! So is Branding going to be the next reason for a massacre??

Marketing is becoming very famous today. Those days, the marketers were respected since it was hardly to find a proper marketer who does the job not by his/her guts feeling but by being aligned with the principles. But with this sky rocketing favor which is building around Marketing, there will come a day where everyone knows Marketing. This is what happened to Accounting function sometimes back. Those days Accountants were respected since there were few who knew debit and credit properly. But today everyone knows accounting and being able to handle debit and credit won’t give you the job offering letter anymore. Like Accounting, Marketing will soon reach the climax. Everyone will talk about Kotler, Peter Druker and having knowledge in Marketing will become a very common need of any employee in the future. So WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO WHO ARE MARKETERS IN PROFESSION?? When everybody starts talking about Marketing, the Marketers will also have to improve them and keep their competitive advantage. So in my opinion the only way out for this dilemma is diversification. The Question is whether how Marketers can diversify?

One of main reasons for Marketing to become a hard but most interesting function is its nature which it has built around the Psychology. Marketers play with the human psychology and always try to persuade people to become brand loyal to the names which they are associated with. So the next level of Marketing Education should be the extreme of human psychology. That doesn’t mean merely trying to find the ways of changing people’s attitudes and perceptions. The newest advancements such as Nueroliguistic Programming and areas of human psychology like Hypnosis which is about manipulating the human mind by making the client to go into the subconscious mind with closed stimuli to the outer world will become the new chapters of the books written about Marketing tomorrow. There will come a day which you will be hypnotized by a Marketer and manipulate you to buy products even without you knowing.

Manipulation of human thoughts is the best way for the Marketers to reach monthly targets. Even today when a salesman tries to sell something to you, he/she is manipulating your thinking process and letting only the favorable stimuli to the closure of the business to enter into your mind. So when everyone starts doing that by learning Marketing, the only way out for the marketers is becoming an expert about human Psychology. There was an Era in Sri Lanka which the Marketers targeted the earning segment of the society since they are the only people with buying power who can boost their sales. They always went behind the so called customers who are known as ‘Prospecting Customers’. But today we can see that the companies, especially BIG COMPANIES go behind each and every human being irrespective to whether that person is a prospecting one or not. They first used the traditional way of targeting the earners, then entered university system with competitions, then schools and they are influencing every stage of life today. BIG COMPANIES are making sure that their brands are all over the surroundings no matter you are an adult or a teenage or a child or an infant!! So what will they do when all their efforts for the born living humans are saturated and still keeping an annual sales growth rate of 20% to 30%?? The ultimate question for the irony of all these things we do to grow business and make the world a better place will come into play when all the human beings are branded or TAKEN or OWNED by these BIG COMPANIES!!!

So what will happen next???

There will come a day where these BIG COMAPNIES will breed people in order to come to this world to use their products and boost their sales. Our mothers will one day breed children and say this is U***’s child, this is N***’s child and this is P&**’s child. The human system will become imbalanced and deteriorated. We all will be owned by these BIG COMPANIES. Our coming generations will have identity cards with the logo of those so called BIG COMPANIES. The natural nature of all our systems will collapse with time and we all be just a bunch of artificial people who are living to buy a certain set of products of a particular seller. We will be just bodies with the souls owned by big sellers.

Imagine a day which we don’t know who our father and mother is? Imagine a day which we don’t     remember the great teachers who built us to this state? Imagine a life which's sole reason for existence is to fill someone's pockets with notes!!!

Where there is no love, affection, humanity, belongingness, there is no LIFE!! That’s the utmost truth in life. After all these chaos which is a direct result of the so called vision of giving people a better life condition will one  day make us remember of how beautiful our lives WERE. Our grandmother and fathers never had all these branded goods or services. They never wanted to be like Leonardo De Caprio and bought T** watches!! Our grandmother used to have a ‘pung malla’, not branded designer hand bags by FCUK! But they all lived happily, smiling every day. The simplicity of their lives, the low level of expectation of them made them to live the highest satisfied smiling lives throughout every passing day. It is just amazing how we like so much to go to KFC or McDonalds and eat French fries but finishes the plate excitingly when there is Red Rice with coconut sambol, dhal curry and fish curry made at our granny’s place. It is ironical how we like to go and have a coffee at Barista but we excite ourselves having a plain tea while climbing Adam’s Peak in freezing cold!! It is nothing other than because our genes shout out and remember us who we are though we are a generation of fools going behind sophistication.

The word’s development should happen. Marketing should happen. We all should give our fullest strength to push the human race forward. But while being busy with all these ambitions, we should NOT forget one thing! That is not to oversee the future and the repercussions of our today’s deeds. The answer to this dilemma lies with no one but with our own grandmothers and grandfathers. I still remember, once my grandfather advised me of life and running after materialistic gain. He said, “Son, always be a person who enjoys sleeping on the MAT!! Because when you sleep on a mat there is nowhere for you to fall down. But if you sleep on a fancy bed, one day in case you fall from it, you will cry over the fancy bed which you lost!”. Though this looks like a very simple saying with no sense, I think this saying has all the answers to avoid the chaos which can happen tomorrow. As a nation, we shouldn’t go behind the so called unbearable growth influenced by the globe. We should as a country walk in our own speed which is sustainable to us. Let the world to run!! Let them to go up in the corporate ladder. But we will walk by our own speed. Today we might feel like we are lagging behind in the race. But one day when the world falls off the cliff and go to hell, we will still be sleeping on the mat happily on earth surrounded by beautiful Mother Nature!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

From a Stammer to a Jabber!

I though of sharing with you all something which I was very not-capable of, but was one of my dreams-came-true. I am not shy to say that I am a born stammer. People with stethoscopes around their necks said," Son, your tongue is tied to your lower jaw from tongue ties too much, so we have to operate and remove the extra tongue ties." Yes, of course not-surprisingly I was dead scared to do that because it sounded like cutting my tongue into pieces. Those days there were hundreds of times which I answered the Land Phone of my home and hung up without saying anything because I hardly can pronounce the word "Hello" without stammering. "HEHEHEEELLLWOOOOWWW!!!" That was my normal 'Hello' which made me for years not to answer any calls. I always asked my younger brother or my sister to answer the phone and give it to me in case the person at the other end of the line asks for 'Malith'.

I dreamed of becoming a good speaker during my school days. I would say, the only set of people whom I respected and admired was the people who played on stage with their words. I wanted so seriously to go to a stage and show the whole world whether what is going inside my mind and express my soul to the whole world.

I did my 1st speech infront of just one person. Then infront of a panel consisting 3 people. Then with time my spectators who enjoyed the craziness of my words increased. I would say, last month it came to the climax. SLIM Speech Idol Season 2 gave me the wings to fly to the heights which I always wanted to fly. I did my speech in front of more than 500 people at the Grand Finale which was held in Galadari. Yes! I believe that I did my best and it was one of my optimum performances which helped to become whom I always wanted and dreamed of.

After the event I was sitting in the lobby of Galadari while looking at the old parliament which was right in front of me. Though Galadari is a place which is supposed to be hustle and bustle, the surroundings sounded quiet and it made my thoughts to run towards my past. I asked myself the question!

'What made me to become who I am standing today??'

It is with no reluctance that I say that I am standing as a fairly good speaker because of the people who absorbed the cream of my souls by hurting me,breaking me and disappointing me a level which a person can hardly bear. I may sound as a person who is living in the past when you go through my blog. I wont't say that you are wrong. Yes!you are correct.But still the reality and harsh truth is that this Malith who is standing today vigorously is a direct product of the people who played with me when I was sometimes too honest and too emotional with them.

When the world moved forward, laughing at me including my past, while I was standing in one place hardly to make my mind to move on, I wanted to share my grief with some other person. That's where Public Speaking came handy for me.

I had never chosen the path of finding some other person to reveal my pain and then start a relationship immediately with that person. Instead of that I chose to absorb the pain and find my own way to get rid of the grief. Because I knew for a fact that if I use someone to express my grief its going to be same as myself using that person's valuable life to get rid of my pain. I knew for the fact that if i had moved on easily i would have been happy in the very beginning of the new relationship. But with time every grief of the past will pop out as a rubber bowl  pops up in waters no matter how hardly you try to push it in.

Its because of the ever lasting unbearable grief, I wanted thousands and thousands of people to share my past.So that I will feel relaxed. I knew definitely that one person won't be able to absorb all the pains which I was going through.I found that PUBLIC SPEAKING was the hardest but the most effective way of expressing my self to the whole world so that I will make my personal grief or pain, something which everyone shares. Yes, I do accept the fact that it worked soo much for me. Whenever I speak about my life and get down from the stage, I always had 10 to 20 people coming around and me and talking further of my life while giving me advises and courage to move on life. Most of them showed how much it is useless to spoil my soul while repenting of the past. It's then only i realized that the things which happened to me has happened to most of the people who are out there. Its then only I understood that I am not alone broken up in this world.Its then only I understood that I have soo many people out there who are concerned of my happiness,who wish for it,who pray it.

Thanks to public speaking I am no longer a person with a personal issue. I am a person of people.So now everything is a public pain, a public hurt. What I know about myself is the same exact things which most of the people know about me. If not public speaking I might have ended up as a person with psychological disorder. But YES! Life and gods never leave you alone nowhere. When something, some hope is long gone in life there will be always another reason to live. If there is something in our lives which is no longer there believe me its not there because it is not a part of your life. Everything happens for the best of every person. I never blame my past for anything. Because its the sole reason which helped me to stand with vigor and which made me to find my own strengths.

I thought of putting the speech which I did for SLIM Speech Idol season 2 Grand Finale. This is me talking about my own past. My own story of losing things and taking back the things which I lost.

I speak............

"   Let me take you way back to my past and enlighten you, on what I would say is the greatest memory of my life. I being a Carholic, I still remember the very first day I drove a car. Let me create the setting for you.

It was this calm and quiet evening, and I, the person who was playing havoc under the skies, fortunately or unfortunately I would say, wanted to drive our car.

 I went out to the garden, got into the car, and it was marvelous. Look at me! I am Helios the driver of the sun chariot, UNTIL, the car went and hit nearby tree.

I was shivering like crazy. Because I knew when dad sees this, that’s the end of my life. Dad came out, he looked at the car, looked at myself and said, “Son when you hit the car next time, PLEASE don’t hit it any harder”. And that was his response.

 For him what he  valued wasn't that bunch of metal but myself. Because he loved me unconditionally without expecting anything back in return.

Exactly after 2 years after  that incident, I had to go to a particular place and see that our car had met with another accident. But that day gods didn't give me the chance to say “ Dad, when you hit the car next time PLEASE don’t hit it any harder!” because my dad had already been sighted for the last time there!”

I felt like there was  dark black blind in front of me so I couldn't foresee my future. I lost all hopes of my life and for the 1st time in my life I felt like that was the end of my life.

But that was the phase of my life where  I understood the real meaning and the value of my mother. She came out from nowhere and took the controls of my family and drove us to the marvelous present in which we are standing today. Under the guidance of her I grew up. And I would say I became this so called TEENAGER. Me, being a teenager I met so many people outside my family and among them I met this SOMEONE. I would say those days she was the prettiest SOMEONE I had ever seen in my life.Hehe! Stupid I!

Let me compare that someone with my mother;

                I have this someone who is texting me each and every second and asking whether I ate or drank, but my mum, she never does that!
               I have this someone who is calling me in the morning and saying how much she loves me but my mum, she never does that!
          I have this someone who buys me valentine day presents. But my mum, she never does that!

With all 3 plus points, I turned against my mum and I grabbed that someone who was rendering me the conditional love which stupid I thought was unconditional. Those days when I was going to tuition classes I was like …………… (showing the pride walk) because I knew, or I would say I thought, I am dating the prettiest someone of the town.

Life went on. Believe me, everything was perfect until the day I got my A/L first try results. That day, all my friends became doctors and engineers.Look at how marvelous their lives are! But I stood as no one but just as a person who was having BCC . Making everything worse,all  my parents and relations were expecting me to become a doctor. Stupid I though. "Ok! Forget about my A/L results, I still have this someone with me, so I am going to build my whole life with her."

But unfortunately from that day, that moment on wards, everything became conditional. Let me show you how everything became unconditional.

"Malith, you go and pass this exam and come. I will love you in this way
Malith you go and buy this car and come, I will love you in that way
Malith, you buy me a valentine day present. Then  and only then  I will buy you a present back."

That’s how conditional everything became. I lost all hopes of my life. For the 2nd time in  my life I felt like I lost everything and it was the end of my life.

WAIT WAIT! Whats that’s murmur? Is that my mum??

“Son, even though you have lost everything. Even though you have failed your exams. I am always with you. Take courage GO repeat your exams, and take everything back which you lost!”

Encouraged by the words of my mum, I let go of that SOMEONE, I let go of the odds in my life and I repeated all the exams and I took everything back which I lost. But still today I am not a doctor today! 

Can I ask you a question? Do I really look like a doctor?Am I that decent? Noway! But today I would say I am a SMILING Marketer. But  standing as a person who had obtained 2As and 1B in Biology stream for local A/L. That's my story.

Having all these stories in your mind. Let me come to the core idea of my speech which is all about giving the right privileges to right set of people in life.
You and I both know that,when we were small,when we really needed the help, it was all about our closest honest relations and parents who backed us. We built our lives on the grounds of them. But when we grow up, when we become the so called teenagers, we completely forget the people who helped us when we really needed the help and we give the benefits of our present to those SOMEONES who have no contribution whatsoever for the betterment of our lives. So that is something which shouldn't be doing.

Let there be million someones out there!
And may you enter into relationships with them billion times,
Get your heart broken billion times and trillion different ways,
But remember one thing. Always give the right privileges to right set of people in life. So that you will never ever go wrong in life.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness!

We all are busy with making ourselves BETTER. Passing exams BETTER than the one who sits next to your desk, earning BETTER than your neighbor, getting a BETTER salary than your friend, trying to spend a BETTER life than what your ex is spending, finding a BETTER girl/boy than you had previously. Yes, we all are very busy with making our lives better. When we were born, our parents wanted us to spend a better life than they spent/ or were spending. From our birth to this moment we all were going after something better. Something better which we thought is we are reaching every passing day, but it never happened. Actually what happened was, when we didn't have something we shoot at something more than that and when we reach that more than thing, we tend to shoot another by standing in that better place. So we all were in a rat race which we can never ever finish or win. Yes, I am referring to you also. While you were reading this blog, let me say what you felt. "I am going to write a better blog than this". If you were a foe of me, you must definitely be saying to your own self, "Yes I am going to be a better person than this bugger." May you be my friend,my foe or my fiance or one of my past, I am asking you to stop running and ask yourself!

" Am I really going to end wanting myself to be BETTER?? What is the end of this??"

STOP running! Wait for a minute and have a discussion with me.My coffee table is ready!Come sit.Join with me. Can I ask you a question?

" Are you that BETTER person whom you wanted to be good few years back? So are you satisfied of your self?"

Your obvious answer would be, "YES ofcourse I am a BETTER person now.Far more better than whom I supposed to be" But wait I can hear your conscience shouting. "NO NO! Still you are not that better person. You have some more to achieve! What about your degree? What about completing the PgDip in SLIM? What about CIMA exams? What about your MBA final dissertation??" See you are still not the better person. You have a lot more to do and a long way to go.

It is ofcourse good to dream of a better person. According to the "Law of Attraction", what you dream is what you become. So dream bigger, you will become bigger or at least big. But the unfortunate is while you were so very busy with becoming a better person, you were completely ignoring the the happiness of your life. "Are you really happy?" Or I would ask, Were you ever happy? If the answer is YES! For how long? 1 second? 2 second? 1 minute? 1 hour? Tell me that you were more!!

Yes, while we all were very busy with going for our so called targets, we all knew that there is no happiness inside us. We all are victims of a rat race which the former generations offered us. They raced like rats and they poisoned us with the same poison of the conspiracy of a BETTER person or a BETTER world.

Stop running and think for a moment. What is happiness?? Is it getting the degree? Or taking the doctorate or passing all the exams of your professional qualifications before your fellow people do? You and me both know that when we go for one target, we make some other targets and keep us going forward in the rat race. That's the harsh truth!

Let me define what life's happiness is! Life's happiness is not having reasons to be happy or reasons not to be happy ( or in other words sad) Am I confusing you? Let me explain it to you further.

Let's say you are happy in this moment. Now you are happy because you were sad a moment before. Or if you are sad now, it's because you are happy before. Happiness and Sadness are 2 different concepts which are relative. So it's always about the perception of you towards the things in life which makes you happy or sad.Let's say you failed an exam! Now you are sad. Because previously, before the exam results come, you weren't a failure. But now you are a failure. But before the exam results come, if you never EXPECTED results to be good, you will still be happy because you accept your failure as it is. OK! Now let's say you have passed the exams. But you were EXPECTING big grades. So are you happy now? Still you are NOT! Because you expected to pass the exams with flying colors since you didn't get those you are upset. But wait. But if you were expecting to fail the exams, but you have passed it very marginally, you must definitely be happy. Aren't you?

By the above example I put you forward the most importance concept of this discussion which is EXPECTATIONS! If I say it's all about life's expectations which defines whether we are happy or not, you will be surprised. Let me take a Marketing Theory and explain you the Pursuit of Happiness in a different way of how it was defined by Will Smith in the movie Pursuit of Happiness.

In Marketing, there is a very primitive, but one of most influential theories of my life called the E2 cross. Let me explain you the Marketing theory before going for my definition of Pursuit of Happiness.

As you can see in the above illustration, from the right side of the intersect point, the customers are delighted because

Customer's Experience >> Customer's Expectations

From the left side of the intersection, the customers are unsatisfied because,

Customer Experience << Customer Expectations

At the intersection the customers are satisfied since,

Customer Experience == Customer Expectations

So it is the sellers/businessman's duty to make sure that they are offering a product or a service which their customers are delighted. Or atleast satisfied. The beauty of Marketing is that the marketers can play with the actual and perceived experience of a good or a service. Let a particular good's actual experience be lesser than the actual expectations.The customer is dissatisfied. But if the marketers, the magicians of customers can increase the perceived experience of the good than the actual experience, then the customers will be delighted. The beauty here is without actually modifying the attributes of the good or service, the marketer drives a customers from unsatisfaction to the delight by his wits.

So after some hardcore theories, let me again focus on the main purpose of this article which is to define the perfect pursuit of happiness. This E2 cross can be applied perfectly to our real life situations to define the margins of happiness and sadness.

Let me take you as an example. Let's say there is this friend of you, who is always very polite and gentle, whom is always the first person you want to see when you enter to the office. Everyday he/she greets you  in the morning. So oneday you go to the office and meet that person, and here you go! You serve him/her with a smile expecting he/she to do the routine greeting. But today, that person didn't even look at you, didn't greet you and simply didn't even bother of your existence. And you are obviously very upset. From the morning till the evening of that day you were bothering, thinking, lamenting about what happened in the morning. During the whole day you were sad.

So what went wrong?Were you sad just because of that person didn't bother you or said Good Morning to you? Ask your self? You will obviously say YES! But what I am saying is you were upset because you EXPECTED that person to greet you in the morning. So,

Your Expectations >> What you experienced

which at last made you ended up with sadness. You can never blame that person for making you sad. It is you who defined what he/she should do which is completely uncontrollable from your hands. So basically you were sad not because of that person't act, but because you had high expectations of you towards him.

Let's say you have this enemy of you who really wants to slap you off in the morning. So you meet that person, and here you go, he doesn't even look at you or say Good Morning. He not at all bothered you. So now you are happy. In this case

Your Expectations << Your Experience 
( Because its always better not to being slapped than not greeted right? )

See! Even in this case, the person you met did the same thing of the previous example. They both didn't greet you in the morning. But in the 1st case you were sad whilst in the second case you were happy.
So yes, it's all about a matter of perception or how you look at the things in life which makes you :) OR  :(

Never ever give someone else to define who you are, whether when and where you are happy or sad. Your life's happiness is in your hand and you should be the person who decide whether you are happy or sad on a particular day. So lighten up. Rethink of your life. Rethink of what you were doing all these time!

We expect OUR past to come again to our lives, we expect people to be always honest with us, we expect people to be gentle and mild to us, we expect people to treat us equally, we expect people to give us recognition which they never want to give. So let the happened be happened. Let the people to do whatever they want to do. It's all about the level of expectations which defines your happiness which is the ultimate goal of everyone living in this world. Always try to have low level of expectation in life. So when you get something, even a small, you will be happy.

So connecting the dots of the article, we started talking about the conspiracy theory of having a BETTER life which we can't do in our lives because a BETTER life is something which we can't ever stop finding. Inside the word BETTER lies the concept of EXPECTATION which defines whether we are happy or sad in a particular moment. The lesser we EXPECT the happIER we are! That is how E2 cross can make you all time smiling person.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Myth of Engineering into Marketing!

It was the latter part of 2013, which I happened to write a Marketing Plan with the collaboration of a leading car agent of Sri Lanka. It is an European brand which is standing not only in Sri Lanka for a long time, but also in the global market as a stylish prestigious brand. For the fair reporting purposes, I am not mentioning the name of the car brand, but if you are a car enthusiastic, I am sure i will hear you say, 'Oh! he is talking about this brand'

The story started with me sending an email to the car agent ( Yes, to the common mail)  asking for an interview to gather some information about the organizational culture, the structure, the current prices of each car models and to be honest to peek inside them to get an understanding about what is really happening inside that company. Because I do believe and I always believed that the better justice can be done to that brand in Sri Lanka.

" This Lion which roared and rocked Sri Lankan market those good old days is now suffocating!!"

That was the question which was haunting in my mind. My inner voice always shouted, "Why? Why? If its an awesome brand THEN, why can't it NOW?"

Days passed, after around one week I received this call from the secretary of the CEO of that company, asking me to come for a meeting with him. Yes, not-surprisingly I knew this is going to be ground breaking because I am going to meet a CEO! The cockles of my heart started drumming off, while the expectations of me getting a MP and ending up with another Gold medal was going up. Yes, you are right! I was putting down 2 birds with one shot. This is going to be submitted to SLIM as my final marketing plan as well as this is going to be the biggest and most complex marketing plan I've ever done.

I still remember it was this sunny morning I went to the head office of that car agent. The very 1st thing which I sighted was this old lady who was sitting in the front desk. I was shocked!!! I asked myself  "OMG! is this the person who is going to greet for the enthusiastic car lovers who are coming looking for most stylish, prestigious European brand??" NO, I am not gender biased, I respect the elders, but still SHE is definitely not the person to say 'hi' to the people who enter into that showroom. So that was my 1st impression about it which was not that good but not worst also. Actually with time while I was waiting till the CEO comes, I noticed that I am very wrong of being judgmental of her. She was the longest standing worker of that company who was serving them for more than 25 years. She became this mega friend of mine and we talked and talked a lot.Indirectly I was fulfilling the purpose of my visit since she talked a lot and I knew how to keep the talkers talking!

After sometime the CEO came and I was asked to come to his office. We started the conversation and  believe me, he was such a very good person. I learned a lot about the brand as well as I was very privileged to talk to the CEO of that company because i knew that i am taking the information from the springs of the big river. Every thing was very perfect until this lady came into the play.I didn't go there empty handed. I was halfway through my marketing plan and i was having many inputs from the research i have done before meeting them. So Mr. CEO asked that lady to come and listen to me. I thought " Oh! yes i have an audience to show off now. So this is going to be awesomER". But unfortunately after me spitting out the 1st sentence of the show off after her arrival she lighted up.

SHE:" Wait wait! By the way what was your name?"
I: "I am Malith, Malith Sureweere", I said proudly, though there is no reason to be.
SHE: "Your University?"
I: " I am from Uni of Kelaniya"
SHE: "Ah! Is that so? Is that an Arts degree or something?? So yes ### (CEO's name), we can't do this in this way. #### (CEO's name) we don't know about these local uni people. So we have to sign a memorandum of understanding before we proceed"

I was silent for about 5 seconds unable to wonder whether what happened to me. I saw even the CEO's face was changed a little. He being a foreign graduated person reflected his deepest apologies from his face for what going such a terrible to innocent me! ( I think)

What really pissed me was not that she asked to sign a document of nondisclosure. They have all the rights under the skies to do that because obviously, the local universities in Sri Lanka had already killed their good impressions and yes unfortunately I was a part of that system. What pissed me was that she asked whether I am an Arts person. I still remember the durr looks which she gave me when I said that i am from University of Kelaniya. Yes, we do have a huge Arts faculty. But does that mean all the people from Kelaniya are Arts people. Yes! Our Arts faculty is a treasure for us and we do respect them.I am a science undergraduate and a member of the best Industrial Management department in Sri Lankan university system. The reason for this big headed nature was later found that she was a SO CALLED Civil Engineer who was supposed to be mixing cement and laying tar on dirty roads but appointed as the top place of Sales and Marketing sinfully.

This sudden appearance of the supposed-to-be-cement-mixing lady marked the end of my interesting conversation with the CEO. She took me to her office and gave me her business card which was completely irrelevant for her to do because I was not at all interested of getting know of her, but yes I accepted it and card read,

#########################( Name) and B.Eng (Civil) bla bla bla

I was shocked to see an engineer being the head of Marketing and Sales. I asked myself " What's the wrong with these people??" Proving my doubt of she doing her duty as a marketer I continued my conversation with her.

She being the head of that Sales position has no what so ever idea about the Emotional and Functional values of that car brand which is 90% built on emotional values.

She doesn't have any understanding about the history of the car and the emotional bond between the users with that car brand. OK! She being a so called Engineer is expected to have a good understanding about the car's functionality. But NO! She was nil on that also.

If I happened to ask the question. " Do you know the definition of Marketing?" I am sure she will stammer more than me, I am born-stammering-person.

She was just a number cruncher. What she believes that when she spends Rs.1 today morning she should earn  Rs. 2 at the end of the very day, which is pathetic when it comes to Marketing.Yes, it works for accountants but not here. Marketing is a philosophy and its the central function of business which drives the business towards the dream of top class manager which they made concrete inside their corporate vision and mission. But no I wasn't having any intention to tutor marketing to that civil engineer whom is supposed to be on construction sites with "wadu basses".

My purpose of going there was not to make her aware of the ignorance.My purpose was to take some good inputs and write a good marketing plan which at least can be understood by the CEO who was a real passionate person about the brand which he is handling. So i singed the document and worked with that particular company.After around 3 months of sleepless nights i came up with an all new re-positioning and marketing plan for that brand in SL. And yes making my hopes came true i got a Merit Pass for that subject in SLIM PGDip thanks to them.

What I wanted to share with my readers is not my story of getting a Merit Pass for a subject. But the underlying story of Engineers forgetting what they are really supposed to do and peeking into others' washrooms. This trend of so called Engineers coming to Management functions and messing up in their jobs due to the non-alignment of integrity is something very common these days. The main reason for this is obvious. Yes engineers don't have enough jobs out there. Though they boast of them becoming engineers, the pathetic scenario is nowadays they tend to diversify into other areas which they are not-capable of functioning mainly due to the lack of philosophical thinking due to their traditional mathematical minds. For them everything is a mathematical calculation or an algorithm or a regression analysis which is complete non-sense if they are to function is a position like Sales and Marketing. It is quite stupid for the senior managers to hire engineers without going for a real marketer or a sales person who had gone through the hardcore practicing of Sales and Marketing backed by the piles of theories from social sciences to economics to behavioral sciences and psychology.

 Let me give you 5 reasons why an engineer should not be seated and talking about Philips Kotler's theories.

1. The Engineering Primitive Mentality of 1+1=2

In Marketing 1+1 doesn't equal to 2. It is more than 2 in case the marketer is expecting wisdom from what he/she does. On the other hand it should be less than 2 if the marketer is focusing on long term brand building than short term profit increase which is not reliable.

2. The Too Serious and Structured Mindset

The people who comes from doing long sums while they are undergraduates, can't suddenly become philosophers or risk takers just because they sit in a cozy management position which gives them a good car and fuel allowance. So this structured, too rational mindset is definitely not going to work with a philosophy like Sales and Marketing.

3. Money Mindedness of Men wearing Yellow Hats

Nowadays since too many are coming out from universities boasting them to be engineers, they are ready to work at any cost with cheaper salaries which drives engineers to do whatever it takes to increase the number of notes in their pockets. If given with good money, they are ready even to clean the show floor rooms. So the top managers should make sure they are not offering chairs to any tom and dick who come up saying that they are engineers and they can basically do any dirty work of the corporate.

4. Too Much of Logical Thinking

These people who comes from engineering backgrounds tend to do everything too rationally which drives them away from taking risks and being innovative. Especially when working with a function like marketing it is a must to think out of the box and be innovative if you want to remain the leader. So better to hire an ear ring wearing good marketer who doesn't look decent, than hiring a cunning yellow hats wearing-decent-looking person who is counting his fingers till the salary day comes.

5. The Born-In Wrong with the Men Wearing Yellow Hats

This is something which I thoroughly believe in. For a person to become a good marketer he/she has to make sure that he/she is having a very clear mindset to think big and creative. In most of the cases the engineers who graduate from the universities are counting their fingers (hands and in case  legs) to get married to the girl whom they caught hardly by spending after years and years of trying. Since they are not good at THAT subject ( you know what i am talking about) like marketers, they are always scared of losing their fiances which makes them collect money as soon as possible and marry and settle down. This builds too much pressure in them which in turn make them to leave the office sharp at 5, or take as much as holidays, spend the spare time wasting time on planning their wedding or selecting their engagement ring. But as the real marketers are not bothered of losing their fiances since they are very good at the keeping their fiances satisfied, they tend to be more focused on what they are doing, in this case when working in the office. Their duties of work are not considered as responsibilities, but as part of their passion. So always BETTER NOT TO HIRE someone who is keened to grab some money from your company just because he has to buy the engagement ring.

So may the relevant people understand why the Lion is in front of the lion's den while the rabbits are playing inside it..!!!! Yes, I do accept the fact that there are many talented engineers in Sri Lanka who do a great job for the betterment of out country. But the irony is there is a handful of them.

PS: This article was written with no intention of harassing a party or parties of the society but for the awareness and educational purposes only.