Sri Lanka apparel industry gets marketing savvy

Aug 09, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s clothing industry, one of its top export earners, is acquiring more marketing skills as fears grow over the looming loss of duty free access to European markets. It was organised by the JAAF and the Sri Lanka Apparel Marketers Alumni, professionals trained by the Sri Lanka branch of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) for the apparel export industry.

“When that (the concession) is not there, the incentive to come to Sri Lanka is that much less,” Amalean said.

“So you have to make additional efforts to reach your customer and you really need to have competencies to do that. The CIM programme helps you build those competencies which are critical at this point in time.”

Apparel is Sri Lanka’s largest export industry, directly employing over 250,000 people.

Its main export markets are the United States and EU with exports generating about 3.2 billion a year.

Exports to the US are slowing as the American economy slows down, making the industry even more dependent on Europe.

Amalean said market intelligence on customers provided by marketing professionals his company employs has “helped me be a smarter businessman in negotiating w