Hello everyone! Our team here at GoCrackIt are extremely delighted to welcome Siddhartha Banerjee, Marketing head of K12 Techno Services. He is a proud IIMA graduate with work experience in some really amazing companies like P&G, Lava, Religare Wellness. He strongly believes that the only way to succeed in life is to enjoy and put in 100% of yours in whatever work you do.
Hima: Hi Siddhartha, it’s a pleasure having you today with us and the Gocrackit family extends our gratitude and appreciation for your time and effort in helping us understand more about the marketing industry.
Siddhartha: Thankyou Hima, I am very happy and excited to be here with GoCrackIt today. It is a pleasure to share my experiences and views and hope it is helpful to the aspiring marketers.
Hima: What factors influenced you to choose marketing as a career?
Siddhartha: It was completely based on the experiences I had in the first year at IIM Ahmedabad. I entered the Business school with a very open mind with no specific choice of career as an option. In the first year of the MBA program, like any other Business school, we at IIMA also had to undergo the core business courses and I always enjoyed marketing as a subject. Apart from the courses, I loved being a part of marketing tasks and other activities also which the clubs used to conduct.
Hima: Were there any kinds of challenges you had to face to reach where you are today in your career?
Siddhartha: I have had both personal and professional challenges that I battled through. Challenges are a part of the game that are bound to be in any corporate, there is healthy competition, sometimes even unhealthy competition, and many other such issues which keep happening. But other than that I haven’t faced many professional challenges, most of them were just personal which I am so glad to have overcome.
Hima: Job rotation is consistently seen in your portfolio, could you please help us understand your perspective behind it.
Siddhartha: Some were personal challenges due to which I had to recover my career from where it was, not only in terms of the position but also the salary that I was getting paid. So with each change, I improved on that a bit.Secondly, the amount of responsibility given according to the position I had gave me an opportunity to learn at a much higher pace with a steep learning curve. For example, when I was working for Religare Wellness, I was responsible for all the merchandising decisions, like what to purchase, what to keep in the store, so the amount of responsibility I had, the whole team management and the whole decision making was a hands-on job. And the learning was multi-fold in that. The same was with Lava International Limited as well. Even though I worked for 2.7 years, the responsibilities I handled and the experience was humongous. In Lava, unlike many other companies, we had multiple campaigns going on. In just one year we had the launch of M30 phone, A10 phone, also an Intel phone called Xolo, so the entire creatives were to be done, the digital campaigns were to be managed, the PR and everything were very hands-on. So the learning that I had in these companies is not limited by the duration I spent in the companies.
Hima: How has your experience been working with such big companies? And would you like to share your experience on any exciting projects in your career?
Siddhartha: Every company had so many things to offer. In some companies, one decision involved multiple rounds of meetings with various stakeholders at different levels of hierarchy and 1 year or 2 years of a timeline for one project. While there were also companies where decisions were taken much faster. So in many such ways, it has been different in working with such various cultures, types and sizes of the company. Overall it has been a fun and learning experience.Looking at the most exciting project of my career, it was the launch of an Intel phone called Xolo when I was working in Lava. I enjoyed that project a lot, I learned so much and I also had an excellent team to work with. We were working with 3 different offices, Singapore, India and the US. So with such different time zones, we used to start our meetings and work by 7 AM and go on till mid-nights. For the launch, the entire branding starting from the look of the box of the mobile to the advertising was all done. There are lots of experiences and moments to cherish for a lifetime.
Hima: Did you face any challenges while working as a marketer, such as work pressure, lack of coordination between the team, or any others? And how did you overcome them?
Siddhartha: Every marketer faces such challenges in their day to day lives and I cannot give a generic solution to overcome these challenges because it really depends, in which situation a person is in and what challenges and conditions one is going through but what I can definitely say is “one should stay calm and patient”. No matter how bad the situation is, if one stays calm, things start to get better. If you lose your calm and start getting hassled, you lose control over everything and then it becomes very difficult to deal with any situation. Also after MBA, the stakes get higher, with that the stakes for a company get higher because then you’re handling positions where you have to make decisions and then with that comes responsibility. So yes, my biggest suggestion to not just marketers but all the career professionals is to stay calm and be patient when dealing with challenges.
Hima: What do you think is the scope of a person in the marketing field right now, especially after this covid’19 epidemic? And what kind of challenges do you think the aspiring marketers are going to face and how can they overcome them?
Siddhartha: One, it depends on industry to industry. So if you look at tourism, that industry will be affected for a long time. People will not be that open to travel to countries majorly affected by Covid’19 for almost a year or probably more than that. Overall, it is a challenging time for the entire market as a whole. Talking about the new marketeers, the biggest challenge they are going to face is probably finding a good job and even after finding a new job, there is going to be a very high need for them to come up with more strategies and ways to market their products or services digitally. There was a lot of marketing and advertising that used to happen in shops or via direct communication with consumers for example restaurants, bars, booksellers, etc., all these industries will have to find more innovative ways to get to the consumer. Talking about even newspapers, many people now are reluctant to buy newspapers because of the situation, so the circulation of that industry has gone down and also so many advertisers used this medium to market their products or services will have to look for other alternatives in order to reach the audience.
Already more and more marketers were going towards digital media since without being in personal contact they could reach a larger audience. The revolution was towards it and the present situation has pushed us, even more, to go towards it.
Hima: Marketing is a field where there is a lot of competition. Like, you have a lot of targets to meet, quotas to achieve, you have to compete with your peers and fellow colleagues, and many other things. So what advice would you like to give to the aspiring marketer?
Siddhartha: Just be proactive in every situation, before somebody comes and tells you to do something if you have already taken some steps towards it and started thinking in that direction in advance, it will help you achieve targets. So take smaller steps, be calm and patient while dealing with challenges and put in your maximum hard work with smart work.
Hima: What do you think are the most important skills a person should possess in order to become a successful marketer?
Siddhartha: One has to be calm and patient while dealing with challenges and should be able to handle the pressure. There is always a continuous cycle of targets to be achieved, so handling pressure and dealing with things with utmost sincerity is essential. Another very important skill that a marketer must have is the skill of being proactive, the mindset of coming up with solutions and strategies without being told to is very necessary. You must always assume that you will not always be told what is to be done, you must come up with what is to be done. Next also comes the ability to quickly come up with solutions. In marketing and sales, customers come up with multiple problems and queries, you must be able to reply back to them with solutions that convince them and meet their expectations, this way the ability to think by yourself and take immediate actions is very important.
Hima: What suggestions or tips would you like to give to the other students out there who want to pursue their career in the marketing field?
Siddhartha: You’re not always lucky enough to choose the job according to your wishes, sometimes you have to choose within what is available for you, so try to choose a good field where you see yourself as a personality trait.
If you start to enjoy your work, you’re doing good. There will always be targets to finish, work pressure, competition, multiple decisions and changes and follow-ups at the flip of the coin, but you should be ready to face the scenario of not working inside the box of boundaries and rules and rather be on your feet and enjoy it since this is a very dynamic field.
Interviewed by Hima Solanki