Compiled by Ashwini Vethakan

Gateway to Marketing

Q: What is the philosophy behind SLIM and its role in education?

A: SLIM – the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing – is the apex body for Sri Lankan marketers. Having been formed in 1970, and subsequently incorporated by an act of parliament in 1980, our vision is ‘to lead the nation’s effort for economic prosperity’ with a mission to establish marketing as the driving force that enhances business and national value.

Looking at it from SLIM’s point of view and given that it is the national body of marketing, we conduct various programmes and events with the idea of enhancing professionalism among Sri Lanka’s marketers. We have five main pillars to help us achieve our ultimate mission – they are membership, events, corporate solutions, training and education.

We currently have over 1,000 members, and conduct many events such as forums and workshops. They in turn provide members with an opportunity to network and engage with one another, thereby uplifting their professional careers as well.

When seeking corporate solutions, we offer customised programmes to organisations that are looking to develop, and transform their sales and marketing professionals.

Our training in particular is a key pillar of the organisation. We conduct many seminars bringing down talented and notable individuals in the worlds of marketing and business – for example, the likes of Philip Kotler (the father of modern marketing), Ron Kaufman (the guru of servicing) and John Mattone (who coached Steve Jobs).

SLIM conducts many events to drive and motivate the country’s marketing professionals. The National Sales Congress (NASCO), which is a national event, recognises Sri Lanka’s top sales professionals. And we’re the local body that has secured the global franchise of Effies to recognise the marketing communications industry.

Brand Excellence is the flagship event that recognises great brand stories and develops the process of branding; it is another award that’s held as being the pinnacle of a marketer’s career. This is where we recognise and reward organisations that develop brands, and the brand custodians. The award is held in high esteem and as the ultimate when it comes to prestige.

The other important pillar is education. We offer more than 14 educational programmes from certificate to postgraduate level. With a variety of programmes, a solid structure, and educational tools that go hand in hand with our vision and mission, we uplift the country’s marketing professionals by creating ‘profound marketers.’

We’re a nationally recognised institute for marketing professionals to obtain a quality assured professional qualification.

Q: And how does SLIM define ‘brand excellence’?

A: It is a portal for the brand development journey to reach a level of prosperity for any organisation or entrepreneur in Sri Lanka. A brand is a promise; it provides an organisation with an identity.

How we see it is that if an organisation is expecting to follow brand development processes and improve its knowledge, brand excellence is the ultimate portal apart from winning an award.

Q: What is your advice to marketing professionals of the future?

A: Since we live in a technologically advanced world, future marketers should ensure that  brands stay relevant to customers by connecting data, embracing insights and experiences, and leveraging on automation and intelligent tools – i.e. by taking ownership of the end-to-end customer journey.

So a marketer should continue to recognise consumers as humans and not to allow technological advancements to treat them as machines or robots. With the advancement of technology, marketers have many opportunities to become dynamic personalities and help craft their businesses.

My final message to future marketers would be to really look at the bigger picture: How can they transform the country? What is their role in the nation’s business transformation? Our mission as marketers is to establish marketing as a driving force to enhance business and national value.

Suranjith Swaris
President 2019/20