Marketing-IT Nexus

Q: How is IT incorporated in marketing?

A:  If you compare a marketer’s role from a few decades back to where we are today, with the advancement in technology and digital transformation – or as many call it, ‘the fourth industrial revolution’ – a marketer’s role is definitely changing.

Consumers today are very well informed, their behaviour and needs change dramatically with the blink of an eye. In order to be able to serve these learned consumers, marketers too should evolve with the times. Irrespective of the goods or services being marketed, technology plays a huge role across every industry and profession.

It’s also important to remember that once your brand has reached the digital sphere, it’s no longer yours – your customers can make or break your brand. Therefore, marketers should understand these dynamics and engage with their customers in a positive manner, in the process of creating and nurturing a brand in the digital sphere.

Q: How important is branding to the marketing profession?

A:  If you look at the brands in the world today, you’ll notice that some of the top brands are estimated to hold more value than the GDP of certain countries. The value of your brand can also be higher than that of your tangible corporate assets. That is the power of branding. To me, branding is a discussion for the boardroom.

More often than not, marketers are sidetracked by marketing communications – and we want to change this; it is one of the reasons we launched the Brand Excellence Awards.

Q: What key skills should a marketing professional possess, in your view?

A: In a world where digital transformation is impacting every industry and the role of a marketer is ever evolving, we need to be mindful about automation, and trends such as AI and IoT – meaning, how they would impact the marketing profession.

We live in a world where mundane work can be easily automated; and with emerging technologies such as AI and IoT, how we undertake day-to-day activities will change in the long run. Not all jobs will be replaced but they’ll be augmented. We need to take a step back and reevaluate what an individual – and human power – can bring to a brand and the business.

I think creativity tops that list. A machine can’t think out ideas the way a human being can. After all, we need a human’s creativity to build a machine! Next would be innovation. These are the two main skills a marketer must possess; but the ability to be tech and data savvy will also be an added advantage. Data science is another emerging sphere where marketers and analysts will fit in well by upskilling their digital skills.

It is important for marketers to embrace a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. Learning never ends, and I believe the fourth industrial revolution is reminding marketers to reskill, upskill and stay relevant.

Q: What would your message to the winners be?

A: Whether you win Gold, Silver or Bronze at the Brand Excellence Awards is secondary. I say this because the criteria by which you are judged comes from a well thought out scientific process designed by the late Prof. Uditha Liyanage.

If you invest quality time, and sit with your team to take your brand through this criteria and process, that would be the most important outcome of the Brand Excellence Awards.

Thilanka Abeywardena
Vice President of Events