I have exactly 3 blog posts in the entire year on this blog, and one of them is the annual review of 2015. 😀

It seems this blog might become a log of my work experiences of the year. This year was crazy on many fronts – professional, travel and personal so I am finding these year end blogs tougher to write than usual. But here goes…

In-House v/s Agency

One big change in this year – I was mostly dedicated to one project as in-house Marketing Head. And I realised I really enjoy focusing on one project this way. It allows me to get into it and figure out the nitty gritties. There were some clear advantages to working in-house

  1. Building necessary structure as required. In an agency one may have to make do with a lot of inadequecies. For example: the website may suck, in which case one has to make do because the client has their views. When in-house, one can work on the website first and then the marketing plan especially if it is a smaller setup.
  2. Work in more fields and directions. This is not always true but in this case it was. As an agency for example I maybe managing 5 brands presence on social media channels. All those brands will have a unique communications challenge but in terms of actual work area it is limited to social media channels. While @ SwitchMe, along with social media channels, I was looking at SEO, newsletters, partnerships, branding, recruitment, training and a whole lot of stuff. Since I was an entrepreneur I was anyway doing all this at my agency but here it was on the same project.
  3. Relevance to Business: Work at SwitchMe was also more relevant to business, because I was looking at the conversion funnels and actual business impact. This was a much more interesting learning experience. And important work too.

Overall agency work focuses more on delivery. Campaigns, content, designs have to be delivered on a timely basis. But probably because of this the analysis part tends to be shallower. A lot of agency work is not lead-centric rather it is brand-building-centric. While this makes sense for bigger brands, the smaller companies are still figuring out how to use social media. Even agencies which provide lead generation services they do not work at the conversion end of the funnel.

My only grouse with working in-house is when it becomes permanent. Then I get very antsy, cause I like to travel and the nomadic side in me rebels.

SEO & Performance Marketing

While I was aware of both these fields because they overlap with social media marketing, I was always more keen on communications and branding angle of marketing. At SwitchMe I moved to business impact, so focused on SEO and online advertisements to drive leads. And finally also the conversion component of it.

It was an interesting experience and also good growth in terms of work skills.

In fact these are the areas I want to work on going forward.

I quit SwitchMe as Marketing Head and am now working on project basis but in similar field – generating business, looking at conversion funnels, SEO, advertising and other more direct business impact initiatives. I have a few projects lined up (including SwitchMe 😉 ). Hoping to find a good mix of projects to focus on for some months, and so I can also take adequate time out to travel every now and then between projects.

Apart from this I have ‘taught’ social media to two different batches of XIC students. With this second batch of students, I am fine tuning my class lectures more. And I had this interesting distinction take place,

Communications v/s Marketing

Marketing includes a whole bunch of activities like ads and sales depending on the context – but the basics of marketing lies within communications. And the fundamental rules are very similar.

  • Target Group: Identifying who is being addressed
  • Objective: What has to be said
  • Positioning: Best way to say it

So initially it was a bit odd cause I was addressing the journalism students at XIC and they weren’t sure why they should be learning Marketing basics. But I also learnt in the process that these are also communication basics, even for one to one communications between people – it makes a huge difference to keep the fundamentals in mind.

And anyway in today’s digital world – Journalists are very much content marketeers too. And they have to create their own brand in the market. In fact newspapers insist on it.

Overall this past year may have been one of the most intense learning period for me. And I enjoyed.

Oh yea and in the last year review I mentioned how hard it was to grow a team, well I did manage a good team for a while here and that was a lot of fun. 🙂