Dilini Ratnayake – Head of Marketing at IFS.

Dilini began her professional journey as soon as she left school, joining a leading telecom service provider and then moving into the Life Insurance industry where she was able to broaden her horizons into marketing and male significant progress in her career. She currently serves as the Head of Marketing at IFS, a multi-national software company.

I think it’s important that we should not confine or limit ourselves. 
Be open to new opportunities when it comes along. Constantly challenging the norm, and having a positive mindset and time management has helped me as a working mum, to progress in my career.

The Marketing industry of Sri Lanka is a highly competitive one, with many challenges and obstacles as Dilini explained, “It works both ways. In my experience – I have faced challenges as well as had new opportunities coming my way. As a female professional, I have faced situations where I have had to work twice as hard just to prove myself, but at the end of the day I realized that I have the capability and capacity to go the extra mile; to stretch myself and learn something new during that process. It gives you a whole lot of confidence and perspective about how you perceive yourself and capabilities. It has also opened new opportunities for me, which have taken me to new heights in my career.”

Speaking of the means by which a woman can make her mark in the ever-changing and competitive Marketing industry, Dilini said, “The field of marketing is constantly evolving. As a marketer you must be aware of these changes, constantly improve your knowledge and skill set in order to be relevant and keep up with the pace of change. A positive attitude and hard work will take you a long way.”

The experienced marketer, went on to state that, “I think it’s extremely important that we share our experiences and support each other if we want to see more women excel in the marketing community. In this process we are faced with many challenges and responsibilities – as a working mum I face challenges every day. I think it’s important that as women we share our experiences with other women so that we can learn more ways of improving ourselves in order to be able to balance our career as well as manage the home front.”

On the topic of the key characteristics of an effective marketing strategy, Dilini listed – “Identifying a core need for your product or service, a well-defined target group, multiple marketing channels, being aware of your competition’s activities and having a sustainable approach to brand building over a period of time.

Moving onto a vital factor in marketing, which is customer engagement, Dilini kindly provided a couple of essential pieces of advice to her female marketers, “First-hand feedback from customers about your product or service is one of the most useful tools in marketing. By being on the front line, visiting customers in the field, or conducting market visits you will gain in-depth knowledge about what’s working and what’s not. Adapting to the technological evolution that’s currently underway is yet another useful means of promoting customer engagement. The way organizations and customers interact and engage with each other are constantly evolving due to technology.  Convenience driven processes are a key factor, which would differentiate how customers would want to continue engaging with an organization.

Sharing her experience on the most effective marketing communication methods and channels, Dilini noted,

Your website – “It offers a good first impression about your business, brand products and services” . Social media –  “It is a big player in the marketing world right now. Customers are actively seeking out brands they like or are interested in and increasing numbers of users are taking to social media to research or make buying decisions.”

Content marketing – “It is kind of like a savings account. As time goes on, you get compounding interest, making it even more valuable. Your evergreen posts can offer SEO benefits for a very long time to come as people continue to search them out, and all of your content can provide valuable relationship building and lead generation opportunities.”
“Word of mouth marketing has always been one of the most effective marketing channels, and that will continue on an on-going basis”, she concluded.