The Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing appointed Pradeep Edward as the 40th President at this year’s Annual General Meeting. Pradeep is a dynamic personality with immense experience in the fields of Sales and Marketing.
He joined SLIM in 2000 where he completed most of his marketing related studies. He was appointed the Charter President of the SLIM MBA Alumni and the Director of SLIM CPM Society. In 2013 he was elected to the Ex-Co of SLIM and moved up the ranks as Assistant Secretary, Secretary, Vice President and President.
According to Pradeep, he did not ‘stumble’ upon marketing as it was a conscious choice to join the dynamic field. His career began in sales, which made him aware of the value that marketing could bring into his profession. “I liked the side of sales and marketing which enabled me to meet new people every day and gave many networking opportunities,” he said.
It is with this step forward that he continued to add on to his professional qualifications as he realized that other areas such as finance and HR were equally important in building a business. “I am a firm non-believer in having role models. My personal view is that there are leaders whom one can look up to and be inspired by, but one should not try to imitate them. It is important to understand your inner strength and develop yourself”.
Pradeep Edward is the current CEO of Lanka Hospitals Diagnostics (Pvt.) Ltd. With over 2 decades of experience, out of which 15 years have been in the Managerial capacity and 8 in the level of General Manager/COO and CEO, his experience and knowledge makes him fit to lead the National Body for Marketing. He has served as a Judge and Technical Advisor at both local and international programmes such as the National Exporters Awards and Asia Marketing Excellence Awards and is a member of the National Branding Committee, appointed by the Department of National Planning of the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs in coordination with the Export Development Board. The committee aims to developa strategic global campaign for Sri Lankan Exports.
In addition Pradeep is a Certified Marketer and Chartered Marketer of CIM – UK, and a Fellow member of the Institute of Management Specialists – UK. He has also served as President of the Pharma Promoters Association of Sri Lanka and Hon. Secretary of the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry. He holds an MBA from the Buckinghamshire New University, Postgraduate Diplomas in Marketing and Business Management as well as a Diploma in Finance.
Expressing his views about marketing in Sri Lanka, Pradeep stated, “similar to many other areas, Sri Lanka has alot of talent in the field of marketing as well, but we fail to achieve the mark at the final outcome. I have been involved in several judging panels of several awards and seen the magnitude of thinking that is behind the campaigns which come from our very own region”. According to him, a major drawback in the industry is that we tend to focus only in our area of expertise and as a result do not have a cohesive approach.
The country lacks international exposure and the President of SLIM is proud to declare that SLIM is in the forefront in bridging this gap. “We initiated this by bringing down Philip Kotler. Last year we had Ron Kaufman conducting a Knowledge Forum and CEO Forum on Services Marketing. This year everything is ready for the forums with none other than John Mattone, coach of Steve Jobs,” said Pradeep.
At events such as SLIM Brand Excellence, excellent products are showcased but are not marketed well enough to be brought from the village to the city, let alone to be marketed internationally. This is one of the reasons behind SLIM introducing Gamata Marketing, where the village based manufacturers are educated about the importance of marketing.
Under his leadership SLIM is also working on a few new projects to address the need of the hour in the marketing industry. “We are currently planning an awardsprogramme for young entrepreneurs and start-ups, which is definitely the future of marketing. The idea behind it is similar to what we had when we launched the Digital Marketing programme at SLIM. Taking cue from the success of this course, we will launch the Digital Marketing Awards this year which is today only a category in Brand Excellence. SLIM has continued to be proactive in identifying and catering to the needs of the time in the marketing industry”.
Sri Lanka as a country has a lot of potential and assets which other countries do not. In his opinion, it is important to understand the strengths we have and take every opportunity to brand and market the island. “There is no worth in trying to imitate or follow what other countries do. It has not worked for us at all,” he stated. “We should also decide on what areas that we are to develop and do it gradually. What we are doing currently is that we try to develop all industries at once, which is not practical,” he added further.
According to Pradeep, the issue we face in building the national economy is that we attempt to cover all industries at one go. He sees Tourism as an industry which we should focus on developing first. “A majority of Sri Lankans can communicate in English and we are innately hospitable people. This is a key asset we have which most others do not. We should also get our segmentation right and aim for high-end tourists to improve the sector. This coupled with effective marketing can develop the industry tremendously.”
The year under Pradeep Edward’s leadership will be gearing up for a special year towards SLIM celebrating its 50th anniversary. The year is themed as ‘The Year of Gratitude’. Following the tradition of felicitating past presidents, he looks forward to including the backbone of the Institute; members, affiliated institutes and the SLIM staff. The laying of the foundation for the new SLIM building too is part of the plan for the year as well as setting up the SLIM archives to document and record the work and achievements.
The most important aim for Pradeep under his reign is to establish the women’s association. “Unfortunately SLIM has not produced a female president for the past 47 years. We have quite a number of active female members who have contributed to the growth of SLIM, and this year I have 3 ladies in my committee including the Hon. Secretary. We will be focusing on this area as we have some amazing women leading the marketing industry at present,” he concluded. “As for my Marketing Mantra there are 7Ps in marketing , but I strongly believe in only 1P and that is People, if we have the correct people and work with them all others will fall in line”.