How I turned into a Marketing Junkie

A white van with the message 'get your shot, take your shot' on Preeti's blog of Marketing Junkie
Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

As I venture deeper into this world of marketing I have come to realize that not only does it permeate industries and media but also cultures, emotions, and even time. Marketers have the unique ability to create an alternate reality of perception, often disrupting the status quo, just to offer a sweet escape with the protagonist. We are the ones who dream dreams for others.

I am a marketing junkie. And this is my story.

It was in mid-2001 on a nice summer day. I boarded the 6:21 am local for a 45-minute journey to my college all the way in Wadala. It was my first independent train journey without my parents. A spectacular solo journey in the lifeline of the city while watching a new day begin is a memory that imprints for a lifetime. But when feeling the wind in my hair and the warmth of a new day’s sun on my face, little did I know about how this journey would impact me for the rest of my life.

I was beginning my graduation in BMS (Bachelor in Management Studies) and it was the first time I could wear civil clothes to college. So there I was, with a smart backpack, a pair of snickers, blue jeans & round neck t-shirt, the classic college student. I could never forget my first day at SIWS, Mumbai.

With a background in science, I was the first in my family to enroll in management studies. My family, like most Indian families, were hoping and convincing me to become a doctor or engineer. But I had made up my mind to be unique. I wanted to be different. I wanted to be corporate.

I was soon exposed to new concepts and theories and jargons like investments, opportunity, finance, and yes, Marketing. We were taught from the marketing bible: Principles of Marketing by Philip Kotler. I was intrigued by the theory and the practicals in the form of assignments, projects, presentations, and seminars. I even remember making transparencies for presentations on the overhead projectors and getting creative with it. For those who don’t know what a projector is, it’s a variant of the slide projector used to display static images to an audience using a thin sheet of a transparent flexible material called transparencies.

After three years, I decided to pursue marketing in my post graduation from ITM, Navi Mumbai. I was using PowerPoint extensively and got super creative and competitive at acing the presentations, leaving all the other groups behind in the dust of my victory. I got confident in public speaking to a point of no stage fright thanks to attending an initiative called The Speaker’s Club back in the day. I had the flair for making an impression with presentations. I knew who my audience was: the profs when it came to scoring marks and my classmates when it came to turning into their envy.

Marketing was undoubtedly my favorite subject.

My best memories are from college days. Not only did I choose a good stream for my professional life but I also made some amazing friends for life. Staying in touch with all has been difficult over the years but I still try and keep in touch with as many of them as possible. I consider all of them as stars, I may not see all of them but I know they are there.

I started my first job back in 2007 in sales. I joined as an assistant manager with Tata Housing in Mumbai. On the day of orientations, I was introduced to the marketing team. And gosh they were impressive. The presentations, the poetic content in the brochures, the printed branding, the advertisements, all that jazz. There was an air of flair (and vanity) about the team that was all so fascinating.

I knew where I had to be. I realized my true calling on that first day of my career. I had to be a marketer.

I used to get excited with new ideas and new briefs. Whenever we were presented with new communication, I would be fascinated. When working in sales, I would always weave a new concept into the pitch. This improved my image, my client relationship, and my conversion rates. I remember the time when tiny Feng Shui bamboo plants were bought for a product. The purpose of this was unclear at the time due to a process glitch. I took the initiative to carry the tiny pots to meetings and gift them as a surprise when the client converted. They loved it.

There was this time when I was invited to a brainstorming session for new names of an upcoming project. I guess because I was one of the few people working late that day. Anyway, we were briefed about the features and my brain was inundated with ideas. Some of my contributions were shortlisted too. What can I say, it was thrilling. And I just couldn’t stop the flow of ideas.

But I realized that I had to do sales first to be a better marketer. It would give me that edge of understanding who I am speaking to and with. At the time, I wasn’t aware that this approach was called ‘inbound marketing’. I realized that to be a good marketer I had to always have a pulse of the market. The most important lessons I learned were teamwork, patience, positivity and customer centricity.

This quality of mine, along with my approach did not go unnoticed. After three awesome years in sales, I successfully transitioned into marketing. I still remember the day I got a farewell party from my sales team. They knew that I would never return from marketing and gave the best party ever.

I have been a marketer since 2010 and have enjoyed every single day of it. In the beginning, it all seemed too overwhelming. I have worked hard and learned from my mistakes over time. Not only did I survive, but I am also thriving.

I realized after years of experience that these are the hallmark features that I use and improve on each day with each project:

  • Abstract Thinking: Call me pompous but I’m actually a genius. I know because my mom got me tested for abstract thinking when I was a kid. I remember scoring above 80% in the tests.
  • Creative Streak: I had dabbled in creative writing, art, and music most of my life. I still write content from time to time for the projects I work on, both professionally and personally.
  • Curious Cat: Curiosity actually makes you smarter. I love reading about and knowing a lot of things. What are spite houses? How do I set up a website? How do butterflies fly? What’s all the fuss about mythology? I’m searching for answers to so many questions that pop in my head all the time.
  • A Geek: I’m a geek and proud of it. I can obsess over the details of a topic, hobby, intellectual pursuit, coffee, and with no chill in the world. My brain has too many tabs open at the same time.
  • Storyteller: From the cliched ‘once upon a time’ to ‘did you know about’, I love it all. We all have a story inside us. And we all want to tell our story. When I keep mine in it is pure agony. The story inside wants to breathe and live. I always surrender and just tell it. I have to give it life.
I have handled a variety of projects ranging from ATL to BTL to Digital marketing, reports, and analytics, content marketing, strategy, you name it. With so many miles of marketing and many more to go, I feel like I have become a part of it. After all, we are surrounded by marketing. It is, first and foremost, an immersive experience.

I often find myself looking out for the ads on billboards when driving. When I see a new product, I first notice the way it is delivered rather than what it is meant for. When listening to the radio, I listen to jingles as much as I listen to music. I imagine how I would do things differently.

And if I could turn back time to do it all again, I would become a marketer all over again.

To me, marketing has turned into an addiction with a really good high. And it is oh! so intense.

I am a marketing junkie. For life.