Ad land’s Young Guns: Pratik Maru, iProspect India

Well-known for precision, detailing, and excellent project management, Pratik Maru, with his natural leadership and multi-tasking skills, heads the Paid Media Department at iProspect India. He has successfully executed award-winning campaigns for Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC life and Pepperfry, and several other BFSI, Ecommerce, Travel, and Remittance giants in the Indian market. 

Heading the Paid Search department of iProspect India, Maru is the Corporate Chanakya that leads an arsenal of 40+ digital marketing enthusiasts who excellently manage the digital marketing portfolio of more than 45 clients. At iProspect, Maru drafts digital marketing strategies, sets performance KPIs, and monitors the performance of various campaigns for clients. He also recruits, trains and mentors SEM talent, laying successful career paths and business opportunities for individuals and company alike. 

What does it takes to climb up the ladder in Digital Marketing? Here’s Pratik Maru in his own words... 

How did you get into the role you are serving?
After completing my MBA in Strategic Finance from the United States, I was looking out for a job in Investment Banking. However, the financial market crashed in the US in 2008, and it gave me a window to enter into the world of Digital Marketing. Though my first preference was Finance, Digital Marketing gave me a good career path, and eventually my passion towards it grew day-by-day. This diligence has helped me head a team of paid media professionals at iProspect India successfully. 

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
I love digital as a whole, but I specialise in Paid Media marketing and Programmatic Buying. Although I began my digital career with SEO, Paid Media has become my strength over the years. Right from strategising to implementing the campaigns, I help clients achieve their business objectives through the digital medium. 

One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.
My team and I have worked on several successful campaigns and won awards for various clients, so emphasising on one particular campaign wouldn’t do justice to the others. However, one noteworthy campaign which helped us win awards was the one done for Pepperfry. The main objective was to boost online sales with the launch of the TVC. The challenge was to integrate digital with TV, and that was done using iProspect’s proprietary tool – iSync. iSync proved to be a boon as there was a perfect sync between the time the TVC was broadcast and the search and display ads were shown. This enhanced campaign communication, thereby accelerating online sales. Thus, by marrying strategy with technology, we were able to achieve the campaign objectives successfully. 

While working on the creatives how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?
As creatives do all the communication to make or break the campaign, it is essential to make the copies crisp and to the point, along with relevant imagery. The first thing I look for is the target audience, followed by the channel of engagement. Be it a one-line text ad or a banner ad, brand positioning and communication need to be maintained while fulfilling the campaign objective. 

Icons in advertising you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
Dr. Philip Kotler’s ways of marketing have definitely influenced me. But more than that I look up to Mr Vivek Bhargava – the digital marketing evangelist who has a disciplined approach towards each business objective of his clients, and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and implementing innovations in the digital space. His guidance has helped me succeed in the digital marketing space. 

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?
Start my day with exercise and yoga – helps me stay active, while being cool throughout the day

Read, read, read – to enhance knowledge I read news, whitepapers, stock news, articles, and blogs during travel. This helps me strategise better by assessing market conditions.

Daily huddle with the team – helps in planning the roadmap for the day, eliminate any stuck-ups, and streamlining the execution of processes.

Daily tracker – To ensure all deliverables are done, or in the pipeline, as per the scheduled dates

Plan meetings – meetings are planned in such a way that less time is lost in travel. This way I stay productive throughout the day. 

Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?
With the government supporting digitisation, mobile telecom companies offering discounted data services, and the proliferation of the mobile market, the digital ecosystem has expanded substantially. By 2020, we expect digital spends to surpass TV spends, and this will create a huge opportunity for digital media professionals. So definitely, a career in digital marketing is a promising one.

What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?
There is no fixed path to success in the digital marketing space. As it is a dynamic industry, it is necessary to stay updated with the latest industry trends. While a basic course in the digital marketing domain is recommended, I would suggest that you subscribe to newsfeeds, blogs, whitepapers, case-studies, and articles written by industry professionals. This will help you evolve as a digital marketing professional in a short span of time. 

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
If you are dynamic and wish to pursue a career that bestows challenges every day, then advertising is what you should look for. As the industry expects you to be dynamic, it is recommended to stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in the digital marketing space. Creative thinking, dedication, and passion for the trade is a must, but logic and common sense will take you far here. Remember, it’s not the material, but the packaging that matters. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
In the next five years, I don’t see myself at any other place apart from the Digital Marketing world. With rapid changes in the digital space, and technology becoming accessible to the masses, newer innovations are expected to come forth, thereby revamping the entire face of digital. While opportunities will continue to rise with betterment in technology, I look forward to see smarter and better ways to advertise online. 

Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
Where the stream of knowledge flows continuously, where the work culture proliferates my personal and professional growth, where work is done as a joint responsibility, and where achievements are celebrated as a group success; this is the agency I prefer to work at. Ever since I have joined iProspect India, I have been able to experience all of this and more. So definitely, I look forward to spending many more years here.


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