Do You Know Your Market?

CIM Talking Point – Marketing Insights for 2017

“In an increasingly turbulent business environment, the only way to be ahead is to see ahead” – CIM, Talking Point

How important is market research? How can we hold steady during a time of highly volatile economic conditions? Do we really know our market and how we should approach them? These are some of the essential questions that the CIM Talking Point looked to answer during the latest edition of their program held on the 31st January at the Hilton Colombo Residencies. Commencing at 6 pm, the program ran for about 02 hours featuring four key speakers who contributed from their fields of expertise.


Our team from Copacetic Media attended the program in order to understand the market conditions of 2017 better and thereby implement marketing strategies that will prove to be intelligent this year.

CIM Flyer Talking Point 2017

The first speaker, Mr. Shiran Fernando, Lead Economist and Senior Product Head – Frontier Research, started off the program with an interesting look into the political conditions of Sri Lanka and the world and analysed their effects on the economic impacts it will have on us in 2017. He further spoke about,

  •  The low confidence of clients and businessmen in the current economy
  • The possible negative impacts due to removal of the CBSL governor
  • Decline in the growth of banks and the consumer
  • Possible downfall in the macroeconomic interest rates
  • Stabilising of rupee compared to the recent past
  • National debt could be controllable through re-financing

Surprisingly, on the contrary to what most of us believe, he pointed out that 2017 could “be good given everything goes our way.” While this is certainly great news, clarity on the basis for this positivity would have been welcome!

Speaking about what he gained from attending the program, Sumedha from our team said,

“This program helped me understand the current marketing factors affecting businesses and how to make decisions based on these factors. As marketers, we should understand what is happening out there and we should be able to grab the opportunities from a changing environment.”

Roshani Fernando, Coo – Quantum Consumer Solutions spoke next on a particularly insightful and interesting topic titled “The Sri Lankan Household through a Fresh Lens.” She looked into

  • Segmenting and psychographically understanding the consumer from an intimate angle
  • The 05 divisions of the Sri Lanka consumer market: Survivors, Strivers, Aspirants, Progressives and Achievers
  • Identifying the monthly income and expenditure of each sector

In order to accomplish this breakdown of the consumer psychographic she had utilised extensively immersive research methods which included

  • Personally visiting the households
  •  Speaking to them about their dreams and goals and identifying the kind of shopping that they did.
  • Did they buy any branded products? Do they prefer offers? Did value come before quality?
  • For example, the “Striver” category saw the female employed or doing what she could to help expenses, stressing that their biggest expenditure was on baby/children’s products and education.

“I create content for brands. Understanding the psychology of our consumer has never been more important. Looking at these pointers, it is clear that we perhaps may not truly know our markets; we tend to judge the book by its cover. I think that if we can tackle the psychographics of our consumers, we can easily adopt accurate marketing strategies to put our brands out there, how can we word our products and services intelligently? What should we highlight the most to each segment?” says Sajani from our team who also attended the program.

Himali Madurasinghe, Chief Executive at LMRB spoke on the emerging patterns in consumer behaviour and lifestyles. The other factors explored were,

  • Changes in household income and size
  • Increase in the female labour force participation which is now 36%
  • Lifestyle improvement and increase in Per Capita Expenditure
  • Increased consumption of luxury items such a pasta in the lower income strata
  • Age dependency – Sri Lanka’s ageing population and its implications on marketers
  • Decrease in FMCG volume
  • Blurring of the Urban – Rural divide
  • How can we market relevantly to overcome “habit shopping” or brand loyalty when introducing new products

The final speaker for the night, Erosha Tennakoon, Director – Mindshare Group M (Pvt) Ltd, looked into emerging trends in media and communication landscape. She analysed briefly,

  • Interactive and adaptive communication due to dynamic consumer behavior, such as the introduction of Amazon dash, Chat Bot and interactive billboards.
  • Flourish of the e-commerce sector
  • Statistics – 31% of anticipated internet usage in SL in 2017, Facebook 150%, Instagram 258%, Twitter 61%, 6 million Youtube users with majority search for arts and entertainment
  • Traditional Media Vs. New – TV 89%, Radio 59%, printed media usage on the decline
  • Rise of young opinion leaders such as Gappiya
  • Big data analytics – building an audience based on marketing
  • The need for a successful marriage between traditional and new media

Sharing his thoughts, Niroson from our team thinks:

“As a Social Media marketer, I found the psychographic and other marketing research agency’s statistics and predictions for 2017 very important than financial and political topics. Knowing that how digital devices and the internet have gained popularity in Sri Lanka in the recent past will help me draw my Social Media marketing strategy effectively. However, the seminar could have focused more on Social Media as well as it is becoming famous among internet users in Sri Lanka.”

The program closed off with an interactive panel discussion where many questions were posed to the speakers.

In conclusion, the program was helpful and insightful. However, social media and how the market research could be implemented into it could have been discussed more given that the consumers are showing trends of relying heavily on social media.

“This gave me an understanding of how traditional marketing methods combined with digital media can benefit both companies and the consumer market. It was an insight into different methods of marketing and research and how these new methods can bring better understanding of the needs of the consumer and how best companies can cater to them” Amal, Copacetic Media


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