StartupTalky is one of the largest and the active communities connecting startup ecosystem across the globe. StartupTalker is one such section on our platform where we interview professionals from our community and to learn from their experience.
Today, we are interviewing Mr, Abhishek Singh, Marketing head @VakilSearch, one of the biggest legal service provider in India. This is the story of this marketing hero in his own words.
Abhishek, give us a brief on your academics and professional journey.
To talk a little about my academics and initial years, I completed an MBA in Marketing from Bangalore University. I've spent the last 12 yrs working with media industry very closely. I spent my first few years with some of India's best startups like Via.com, CommonFloor.com etc. I specialize in media planning, buying, advertising, marketing automation, growth hacks, team building etc.
I was one of the few initial hires at CommonFloor who was instrumental in taking the brand from 30 to 1200+ employees. During this period I was responsible for end to end marketing initiatives at Commonfloor from the brand launch to digital campaign to first TVC etc. in the year 2012 to 2015.
How does your Normal Day looks like?
I typically start my day with meditation. To me reaching office early is a must. After which the first thing I do is analyse the previous day’s numbers such as Marketing spends, website traffic numbers, lead numbers etc. This is one of the vital habits I follow day in and day out. Based on the analysis, I call my team and plan the day to ensure the smooth functioning of the marketing activities. Of course, as a Marketing Head, I attend meetings and discussions spread across different sections of the day.
What do you think has made you a good marketer?
Reading books and watching Cricket have always been a few of my favourite hobbies. Growing up, I was always intrigued by advertisements and how a product was marketed. Therefore, I took a keen interest in learning and developing it.
While I was doing my Masters in MBA, many of my classmates were preparing to get into sales. Personally, I felt I had a calling for Marketing, though I knew it may not be as illustrious as a career in sales. However, I had a thirst for it and was eager to add value to marketing right from the beginning.
Some of my noteworthy accomplishments in Marketing were, PKHD - Property Ki Home Delivery which was ideated on the concept of, “If Pizza can be delivered at home, well, why not property?” This campaign garnered the Most Innovative award in the Real Estate sector at the First Time Multiple Marketing Forum.
In 2019, I ideated the iAdvocate campaign, on the tagline Voice out B’cause. “iAdvocate”, was a CSR initiative, which allowed people to champion against causes that they were passionate about such as violence, sexual harassment, human trafficking, honour killing etc, just to name a few. The public was given a chance to voice out for a cause on their social media platform. The cause that secured the highest number of votes was supported through this initiative. “Women empowerment” garnered the highest support. As a result, Vakilsearch partnered with a Women’s NGO in Chennai and gave away day-to-day essentials and infrastructural supplies to 105 girl children living in the home.
What do you think about the current scenario of marketing as a career?
Absolutely! Marketing is a creative-driven career. Though Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are slowly replacing a lot of people and their jobs, when it comes to Marketing, a machine cannot match a human’s creativity. Having said that, different tools such as automation etc. can make the working better & easier but it cannot replace a good marketer.
Do you think one needs a degree to become a good marketer?
To be a good marketer you don’t necessarily need a degree. However, what a Marketing degree can do is, it could definitely complement and give the person an edge over the others.
What have you failed at?
Downs have been plenty. However, as a result, I am what I am today because of my setbacks. Some of my early lessons as Marketing leader was to start taking decisions no matter good or bad and stand for it. Being answerable is vital no matter what.
Challenges & Struggles: Vakilsearch being the most disruptive company in the legal-tech sector is aiming to do something which hasn’t been done so far. We are registering close to 10% of companies and 3% of Trademark month-on-month in India. So, the challenge is rather big, because, in order to scale up to 12% or 15 % and 5% to 7% of Company Registrations and Trademark registrations respectively in India is an uphill task.
However, what others see as a challenge we see as an opportunity. The legal sector is also heavily dependent on offline while we are trying to make this market online. Nevertheless, we see this happening as a collective effort of the industry itself. And that’s where Vakilsearch comes in. We educate people and make them understand that what you do offline often through laborious processes, could easily be done online with a lot more transparency, better pricing and amazing customer experience. So, I term this as an opportunity, though it is a big challenge that is standing in front of us in 2020.
What are your Superpowers?
I respect values a lot. I like being answerable and therefore I always deliver. I am also very disciplined in my approach. That makes me stand apart. Most importantly, I carry values. I also believe in this saying, “Don’t say what you cannot sell. Say what you sell. There should be humility in your approach which I always try and embody.
What are some tools and Gadgets that make you feel like the Doraemon of the Marketing world?
There are multiple tools that I use for Marketing that makes me feel like the Doraemon of the Marketing world. To name a few, Automation tools such as Hubspot, Gamooga, Marketing tools such as SEMRUSH, Google Analytics, GTM, APPS FLYERS, Meltwater etc.
Who has a significant influence on you professionally?
My Eldest brother who is a Marine Engineer had a significant influence on my life. His discipline and hardworking nature had an impact on my career. I learned how to be fearless and kind from him. I also admired Swami Vivekananda and learned from his life and his teachings.
What are some hacks you have learned in the Marketing world?
The life of a marketer is a mix of product marketing and Technology. The moment we learn how to stitch both together, we can devise a lot of hacks at every point. These hacks could be growth hacks, traffic hacks or even attention-seeking hacks. However, when we talk about hacks there are no shortcuts as such. When we learn to analyse the data, it will give us a lot of insight on where to improve and how to cash it.
What’s your workspace setup like?
How do you recharge or take a break?
While talking to my team I recharge myself. The more I recharge them, the more it recharges me. In a way planning, inspiring my team helps me grow.
What's the most inspiring quote for you?
Be fearless yet polite.
What are some marketing blogs and books you would recommend someone to read?
I would definitely recommend every marketer to read Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown and Subscription Marketing by Janzer.
If you get a chance to start your marketing career again what would you do differently this time?
In case I start my career again I will give more emphasis on learning and making use of the available tools to solve problems on my own.