Kumar Samarasinghe acknowledges the generational approach to marketing

Compiled by Randheer Mallawaarachchi

Q: What upgrades in skill sets are required by marketers in the modern era, in your assessment?
A: Marketing in the modern age has shifted direction and is focussing more on customer satisfaction derived through their use of products and services compared to the traditional approach of affording primary importance to the quantity delivered.

These days, marketers prefer to deliver optimum customer satisfaction at every available touch point.

Technological advancement has significantly changed the marketing landscape. Digital platforms are highly sought after given that they’re customisable and relatively easy to adapt. Marketers take it in their stride to upskill and upgrade their available competencies to better excel in streams – viz. email marketing, internet advertising, e-commerce and social media engagement.

Modern marketers must remain updated on the latest technologies and trends if they wish to remain abreast of their peers. They need to keep tabs on changing market dynamics and technology, as well as consumer needs and behaviour.

Q: And what are your thoughts on the concept of generational marketing?
A: A generational marketing strategy is formulated through the use of generational segmentation when approaching particular concerns such as product development, marketing and communications.

The possibility that a consumer’s age influences the decisions he or she makes forms the basis of this strategy.

Marketers should realise that certain types of content and media might be engaging to one generation but wouldn’t appeal to another.

Generational marketing isn’t restricted to customising a brand’s tone, voice and language to fit different forms of media platforms. Marketers need to understand what drives a particular generation and provide useful content that will attract that demographic to engage with the brand and boost sales.

Baby boomers (who were born between 1946 and 1964) are experimental, individualistic and free spirited.

This generation is receptive to direct marketing and sales tactics, and is most likely  not to understand social media advertisements.

Generation X comprises those born between 1965 and 1980, and currently has the least representation.

These people are currently at the height of their careers and display characteristics of rebelliousness, independence and entrepreneurialism.

Despite establishing a considerable online presence, this generation remains loyal to traditional shopping due to the fact that they were raised at a time when online shopping was not yet popularised.

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1999, and are known to be socially and environmentally aware, tech savvy, independent and motivated to earn wealth from a younger age. The stock that this generation has in the market – in terms of economic and financial power – is such that marketing strategies are generally formulated to appeal to millennials.

They are responsive to online shopping and it’s in marketers’ best interest to approach this generation through social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

Generation Z refers to those born between 2000 and the present; they are considered to be digital natives.

A major share of their time is spent on the internet and they’re technologically savvy, brand conscious, community oriented and multicultural.

Marketers prefer millennials over the gen Z demographic. Despite this, I have a strong feeling that the latter has the potential to become the next ‘in’ generation in the near future as they come of age.

Q: And finally, how do you view digital disruption in the field of marketing?
A: Digital disruption takes place when a new technology, platform or strategy comes along to challenge the status quo of a market.

New apps and media regularly pop up as the next big thing but to gain recognition as a digital disruptor, the technology must contribute to a complete change in the playing field, and mobilise marketers to reconsider and evaluate their marketing efforts.

Nowadays, a company’s website is designed with a virtual assistant (chat bot) that guides consumers throughout their visit.

This technology – which appears on websites, messenger apps and other social media platforms – has revolutionised the manner in which organisations offer their services while at the same time collecting valuable data on their consumers.

Meanwhile, it is a fact that virtual reality enables customers to engage with and conduct test trials on products before making a purchase decision.

The interviewee is a former Marketing Director of Singer (Sri Lanka) and presently an independent consultant