Hits and Misses are part of the game - Journey of a B2B Marketeer!

About the Author:

Pradyut Hande (MBA, SIMS 2013-15)

"A B2B SaaS Marketer, Mobile Growth Consultant, Guest Speaker, Podcaster, and Author, Pradyut Hande is currently lead Product Marketing at Netcore Solutions, a leading marketing technology company. Featured in the list of “100 Most Innovative Martech Leaders, 2019” by the World Marketing Congress, his guest articles have been featured in leading industry publications such as HackerNoon, GrowthHackers, YourStory, Economic Times, MartechCube, and Martech Vibe. He has also spoken at various leading industry events like The Global Martech Summit, 2019 in Dubai, Digital Marketing Leaders Summit. 

He has also taught Marketing, SaaS Marketing, and Martech at some leading educational institutions 

In April 2015, he published and released his first book - Add to Cart! - a work of academic research on the B2B and B2C e-commerce industries in India. In May 2015, he co-founded the New Media platform - The Your Voice Project to the gap between on-ground public opinion of grave significance and mainstream media stories fuelled by the desire to further the democratization of journalism in India.

When not brainstorming over the next major martech idea, he spends his time traveling extensively (pre-COVID, of course!), being an Influencer on YouTube and Instagram, making rap music, and catching up with interesting folks over great coffee"

MA: How did your B2B journey begin?

Pradyut: My journey in B2B began in December 2016 at the Data Analytics startup - Atidiv - in Pune. Having always had an interest in Content Marketing and Marketing Communication, I lead the Content function there. This was my first foray into the B2B Marketing domain.

Post that, I joined a leading US-headquartered startup in the Mobile Marketing space - CleverTap - in 2017. Heading Solutions and Events Marketing at a hyper-growth startup as one of the first hires in the marketing team was a tremendous learning experience. Not only did I get the chance to work on my B2B Marketing fundamentals - content, SEO, demand generation, PR, tools, etc. - I also had to put plans into action rapidly. That’s the exponential growth opportunity that a startup provides. Your job description might say something but the fluid and dynamic nature of operation gives one a chance to learn, experiment, fail, and course-correct fast.

Having gotten a sound understanding of how the marketing automation SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) industry operates; I then joined Netcore Solutions in July 2018. I’ve donned multiple hats here; having set up the Inbound, Growth, and Product Marketing teams from scratch to date.

As a B2B SaaS marketer, blueprints and best practices can only take you that far. You then need to figure out what works best for you and adapt on-the-fly. It may not be as glamorous as being a marketer at a B2C brand always, but the need to build customer-centric products that solve genuine pain-points remains common. It has been a non-linear and hugely rewarding journey in this space so far, and I hope to continue in the same vain; creating and delivering value for both my company and end customers.

MA: What do you think is the most important thing for someone to grow as B2B Marketeer?

Pradyut: I'd like to highlight 3 critical keys to success for a B2B marketer in this regard:

1. Evergreen learner’s mindset: The pace and scale at which everything is changing - technology, customer needs, and expectations, market competition, economy, etc. - it’s important to constantly empower oneself and learn. Gaining knowledge through blogs, podcasts, articles, books, and videos on relevant industry trends and developments is important. Upskilling through relevant courses and certifications is equally valuable. And, being open to feedback, new ideas, inputs, and strategies from seniors, peers, and juniors will serve you well. You’ll never be the smartest person in the room and the earlier you recognize that the better an individual contributor, manager, and leader you’ll become in the future.

2. Don’t let the fear of failure cripple you: Not everything that you touch will turn to gold. There’ll be some great campaigns and tactics that you execute. There’ll be blunders along the way and failed experiments that will shake your confidence. But, you’ve got to think long-term. You’ve got to look at the bigger picture. Every failure, in fact, is an opportunity to learn and get better. Of course, your scope for experimentation must have the buy-in of the senior leadership and must be well thought through; but don’t let that deter you. Hits and misses are part of the game. And, if you want to play the game longer; you’ll have to take bets and risks along the way. Be data-driven, but don’t be data-dependent. Sometimes it’s good to go with your gut instinct.

3. Find yourself a good mentor: This is really important. Someone, within or outside your company; who can guide you, show you the ropes, point you in the right direction, be critical, and acknowledge your work - will hasten your growth curve greatly. It’s not easy to find the right mentor who is also willing to invest his/her time, effort, and energy into you. But, it’s definitely doable and worth bearing in mind. Years later, you’ll find yourself in a position to mentor someone much younger, and you’ll then see how life has come full circle! Until then - seek out those who can help you along the way.

MA: One of the highlights of your Linkedin profile is 'Martech Evangelism'. Can you let us know a bit about it?

Pradyut: Sure! So, as a Product Marketer, I evangelize or talk about my product, brand, or company across platforms or fora. These could be physical industry events, virtual summits, interviews, panel discussions, fireside chats, webinars, podcasts, guest blog posts, articles, and interviews in relevant publications. These platforms could either be company-initiated or third-party outsiders who may invite me to share my thoughts, opinions, and insights. It’s a lot like being a product expert and resultant spokesperson for the company.

As a Martech Evangelist, I usually share insights on things like - digital marketing and transformation, mobile app marketing, marketing automation, email marketing, user growth, engagement, and retention, etc. Essentially I talk about how B2C websites and mobile apps can use technology to help serve their end-users - like you and me - better. To help satisfy users at scale in order to increase revenues or Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV). The end objective here is to increase the digital and mental footprint of my brand by initiating or participating in relevant conversations around the pain-points that we’re trying to solve through marketing and technology; i.e. Martech.

It’s something I enjoy doing and have consequently been successful in increasing brand awareness and opening up sales opportunities along the way.

MA: The pandemic has changed many aspects of the market, followed by the expectations companies have from the fresh MBA graduates? What is your advice for them?

Pradyut: The pandemic has changed the global job market economics. But, it hasn’t changed the basic expectations that potential employers have from future employees. I would urge fresh MBA graduates to keep a few things in mind, as they pursue new job opportunities or seek growth in their relatively new roles:

1. Keep a firm pulse on where the industry tide and customer demand are moving: Industries like EdTech, FinTech, Media and OTT, Gaming, E-Commerce, etc. are booming and will continue to see growth over the next few years. Once you’ve identified the roles you want to target, see how you can be a fit in these industries since they’re actively hiring. Whether it’s Sales, Marketing, or HR - it’s up to you to figure out how you can get a foot in the door. It could involve upskilling, networking better, or expanding your knowledge base - the ball is in your court and action is for you to take.

2. Be patient and develop a thicker skin. Not everything will go your way: There will be times when you feel that time is slipping away. When your peers are getting ahead. Or, when you’re in a job that’s not the right fit for you. It’s perfectly okay. You have to use the next couple of years, straight out of MBA, to find and then create your niche. Failures, disappointments, and rejections will come your way. But, you need to be patient yet purposeful.

3. Experiment. Build a resume that stands out: Is everyone doing an online course or relevant certification? Mostly, yes. That’s alright. Do something else. Start your own podcast on Marketing or Finance. Start your own YouTube channel. Start building a personal brand by sharing quality content on LinkedIn. Explore digital publications where you can get yourself published. Pursue live projects and remote internships. All that knowledge and experience will never be a waste. Learn new tools that will give you an edge in the future. Work on that side project or hobby. There’s a lot that you can do. You just need to prioritize and work towards it.

I understand it’s easier said than done, especially in a relatively uncertain situation such as this. But, you have access to time, the internet, and information. All you need to access and activate is the drive, organization, and relentlessness to be in the right position at the right time, with the right skills, for the right job in the future.

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