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!!