MARCON 2012: Learning Guaranteed!

Posted on May 7, 2012 mapadmin

Continuing the legacy to improve and develop the technical and general knowledge of persons engaged or aspiring to get involved in the profession of marketing, Marketing Association of Pakistan (MAP) organizes Marketing Congress (MARCON). An event which has fast evolved to become one of the most sought after experience by professional marketers.

MARCON being the largest gathering of marketers in Pakistan gives an opportunity to every individual who aspires to bring innovation and best practices to the sector. While speakers come on one platform to share learnings and insights which no book can offer, delegates from far and wide gather to seek the light of knowledge. MARCON is one such event which not only promotes the growth of a cadre of professional marketing managers in Pakistan and encourages a scientific approach towards marketing but also endorses the study of all branches of knowledge relevant to the profession of marketing.

Over the years, MAP has organized 8 such congresses each one covering a wide range of topics, not only from a global point of view but also from a local perspective. The first ever MARCON was arranged in the city of Karachi in 1992. This was followed by another successful congress in Lahore in 1996 wherein over 450 national and international delegates participated. Renowned experts from across the country gathered to share their insights and views on prevalent marketing issues at that time.

The third MARCON was again held in the city of lights in 1999. Under its theme ‘Marketing Challenges in the New Millennium’, the congress addressed questions such as how consumer behavior and thought process is evolving with the passage of time, how they react to various media campaigns, where they get their information from and what values companies should develop to best meet their expectations. The congress was attended by key players of the business world and top marketing practitioners.

Despite unfavorable weather conditions a large number of marketing professionals participated in 2003’s MARCON, which was organized in Lahore. Similarly the following year, participants attended the next Marketing Congress with great enthusiasm to discuss the theme ‘Turnaround to Takeoff’ in Karachi. Then after a brief gap of 3 years, the 6th MARCON was organized in Lahore under the theme, ‘New Challenges, New Initiatives’.

To look towards the future and provide insights for building a successful relationship with customers, another Marketing Congress was arranged in 2009 in Karachi. Speakers at this event talked about ‘Marketing in Challenging Times’ and covered an array of topics including new trends in marketing and marketing methodologies.

The latest of the series was MARCON 2011 which was attended by more than 400 marketers. The theme of MARCON 2011 was ‘Leading in Crisis’ and it was spread over 2 days, with different sessions focusing on different aspects of marketing and their importance given the central theme of the event. A blend of top class national and international speakers shared their experiences with the delegates present at the occasion.

Like in the past, MAP once again brings to you, a marketing learning experience like none other. The largest marketing practitioners is coming back to Karachi on March 21, 2012 at the Karachi Marriott Hotel. This year experts will talk about ‘New Trends & Insights in Creating & Sustaining Competitive Advantage’.

As the theme suggests this exciting event which is divided into 8 sessions will cover topics from technology and social connectivity trends to new business models which can help in creating and sustaining competitive advantage.

The event will start off with a welcome address by Syed Masood Hashmi – President of Marketing Association of Pakistan, followed by the opening remarks of Ehsan A. Malik – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Unilever Pakistan Limited. He also holds the additional portfolio of Chairman, Unilever Pakistan Foods Limited. Prior to this, Malik was Chairman and CEO, Unilever Sri Lanka Limited. His earlier international appointments covered Unilever’s regional business in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Sudan as well as Unilever’s Head Office in UK.

Subsequent to this, the first session titled ‘Pakistan Opportunity’ will commence. Aimed towards bringing optimism to the industry, the session will highlight the underpinnings of growth in the Pakistani economy. It will also talk about the next 5 years to come with particular reference to Pakistan’s position in the regional economy. Speaker Sakib Sherani – CEO of Macroeconomic Insight and Former Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Pakistan will also shed light on political stability as well as economic implications of Pakistan’s association with SAARC.
Sakib Sherani has remained Principal Economic Adviser to the Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan from September 2009 to December 2010. He was also a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, serving from May 2008 till his resignation in December 2010. Currently, he heads his own economic consultancy based in Islamabad, by the name of Macroeconomic Insights (Pvt) Ltd. Along with Sakib Sherani, many other knowledgeable marketing practitioners will also shed light on various relevant topics at MARCON 2012.

Peter Doyle in his book ‘Value-Based Marketing’ writes that most firms face same key challenges which are rapid market change, marketing rather than production skills underpin sustainable competitive advantage and marketing performance is the main driver of shareholder value creation. But marketing has been losing influence in major firms. He further explains the main reason to be that “the link between marketing strategy and shareholder value has not been made; boards have tended to look at two other more transparent strategies. One has been cost reduction – sometimes disguised by more appealing names such as reengineering, downsizing or right sizing.”

To address this very issue and to highlight the importance of ‘Aligning Marketing with the Corporate Business Strategy’ a CEO round table will be conducted at the congress. Thought leaders like Afnan Ahsan – CEO of Engro Foods and Ian Donald – CEO and Managing Director of Nestle will participate in this discussion.

Afnan Ahsan is the Chief Executive Officer of Engro Foods Limited since 2011. Ahsan has an extensive career of 20+ years in leading multinationals like Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola and Nestle. He brings with him a wealth of experience and learning in Business Management across several geographies namely South Africa, Canada, South East Asia and Pakistan. He holds an MBA in Finance & Marketing from Arkansas State University, USA.

Half Lebanese, half Turkish, nationalized Bahraini, Tarek Miknas is a citizen first of the global order of Advertising. Born into the family that launched the FP7 brand, Tarek gained his degree in commmunications in the US and subsequently worked in New York with McCann Ericson to get his feet wet.Moving back to the region in 2003, he joined FP7 Dubai and ran the Coke account for Lebanon, UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain. In 2006, he left FP7 to help launch Lowe for the MCN group.

The young Lowe team was able to carve out a unique, relevant space in the market winning 9 Lynx Awards within the first 11 months of operation. As Chief Growth Officer at Lowe, Miknas helped grow the business from 4 people sitting on beanbags to 96 at its peak within four years, Fortune Promoseven Network as CEO for the Middle East and North Africa.

Ian James Donald is the Chief Executive and
Managing Director of Nestle Pakistan Limited. He has been serving as a Director at Nestle Pakistan Limited since September 1, 2009. Donald has also worked as Director
of Ice Cream, Chilled Products & Associated Businesses of Nestle Malaysia Bhd.

With such great names on the panel, this round table discussion will definitely be a thought-provoking one, giving the participants an opportunity to reevaluate their marketing strategies. Attendees will then break for tea and refreshments which will then be followed by another insightful presentation on ‘Measuring True Brand and Marketing ROI’. The speaker will share tips on how to measure the true value of a brand, and the mechanics of developing a workable Marketing ROI plan for business. While there are speculations on whether ROI threatens brand performance, this session will explain how branding and ROI blend together and how one can close the gap between them.

Amir Paracha – Director Marketing of Unilever Pakistan will then address the audience on ‘Driving Customer Engagement by Delivering Your Brand Promise’. Amir began his career at “Shell Pakistan” and worked there for four years in different capacities. He then joined Unilever Pakistan in February 2000 as an Assistant Brand Manager. In June 2006 he was assigned the role of Marketing Director – at Unilever North Africa Middle East for GCC cluster. He rejoined Unilever Pakistan as Marketing Director – HPC in 2009. Amir is currently holding the role of Vice President – Marketing, HPC with additional responsibility of Media, Activation and Brand PR for the Company.

Like every year, in recognition of the efforts that marketers of Pakistan put in to make our industry flourish, before lunch, MAP will announce the names for this year’s winners of the Excellence Awards. These awards are given to honour individuals who outperform others through their dedication and creativity. Lunch will be followed by an interesting presentation on ‘Digital Marketing in Creating an Effective Brand Identity.’ After which Javed Jabbar, Chairman and Chief Executive of JJ Media (Pvt.) Ltd will talk about ‘Sustainable Marketing – Unsustainable Model?’

Javed Jabbar is considered to be an icon and a legend of advertising in Pakistan, a famous politician, former information minister and an intellectual. He is also the Vice President of IUCN-International Union for Conservation of Nature, Founding President of Baanhn Beli – an NGO working in over 400 remote villages of the Tharparkar region for the past 27 years and Co-founder, past Chairman and presently Member – Board of Directors in Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO).

Following that, Shoaib Qureshy, CEO of Bulls Eye will deliver his lecture on ‘Creativity in Marketing’. He will be covering topics like the building blocks for sustained profits, what to do to gain competitive advantage, how to explore new business models and paradigms, trends and insights into innovative ideas. Shoaib Qureshy is a young, creative, marketing professional with over 17 years of client and agency experience.

Before concluding the event another panel discussion will be conducted wherein Sohail Ansar – CEO of Group M, Sarmad Ali – Managing Director of Jang Group of Companies, Adil Ahmed – COO of Symmetry Digital and Salman Wassay – CCO of Ufone will share their views on ‘Adapting to the Evolving Relationship between Client, Media and Agencies’. Questions like how clients, media, and agencies are able to respond to the changing needs of the market; can agencies remain relevant in the age of YouTube & Facebook and the need for niche skills development in these three parties will be answered during the discussion.

With such high quality speakers and dedicated time for networking and sharing of best practices in the industry, MARCON 2012 is sure to bring a new perspective on how to create and sustain competitive advantage. Henry Ford, an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of assembly line technique of mass production once said that coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. With this approach Ford from an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit grew to become one of the richest and best-known people in the world.

Examples are a plenty of people who thrive and succeed due to their constructive approach. Seeking knowledge is their sustenance and sharing it is their source of fulfillment. Marketing Association of Pakistan (MAP) also truly believes that knowledge is multiplied by sharing it with others and MARCON is one of its many efforts to promote the dissemination of knowledge among marketers in Pakistan. For this reason every marketer, established or apprentice, should attend this congress.

About the author

Dureen is the Managing Editor of Marketing Review. She has previously served at various designations in many media channels and a trade organization as Research and Publication In-charge.