Archan is an engineer turned marketing professional. Archan has led marketing teams on various B2B marketing projects and has experience in scaling product demands to many folds for start-ups and SME businesses.
- CEO Hack: Ability to see the bigger picture and take an appropriate decision
- CEO Nugget: Don't follow what everyone says and to believe in yourself
- CEO Defined: Ceo of the assignment given to you
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you’ve come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you’re in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today of Archon Dholakia of Hullo archant It's awesome to have you on the show.
Archan Dholakia 0:40
At Gresh it's really nice to be part of the show been been reading and learning a lot from I am CEO. And it's been quite a journey to know from reading a lot from I'm CEO and to being part of the show. It's great.
Gresham Harkless 0:56
Yeah, absolutely even even reading you've been contributing as well to has been featured in our posts and and now you're here on the podcast. So super excited to have you on and before we jumped into the actual interview, I want to read a little bit more about Arjun so you hear about all these awesome things that he's doing. And Arjun is an engineer turn marketing professional archant has led marketing teams on various b2b marketing projects and has experienced in scaling product demands to many folds for startups and small to medium sized enterprise businesses. Arjun, are you ready to speak to the imcl? community?
Archan Dholakia 1:28
Oh, yes, a big hello to the entire community.
Gresham Harkless 1:31
Awesome. Hello to you. Archon. And, and before we jump in, I want to hear a little bit more on your story, and what led you to do all the awesome things that you're doing and doing that?
Archan Dholakia 1:39
Sure. So I think, you know, like, I like you mentioned it this way, I'm an engineer turn marketers. So back in the day, I got my first job. But that was into network management, which is just on the more on the Communication Engineering side. So I was working with this, this, you know, big telecom service provider. And that that actually, was was bringing in the high speed internet into the country, and which, which actually led to having access to fast speed internet. And that taught me, you know, in access with YouTube, so I started watching a lot of YouTube videos. And that landed me up watching a lot of Steve Jobs videos, you know, so and, and one video led to another and and i was i was actually started to think that, okay, this is what even I would like to do, I would like to like to create a buzz about the product, I would like to, you know, if I know a good product that that's really good for its user, I would want it to, I would want it to you know, bring it front in front of the users. So so that thought led me to switch my career from telecom engineering, to marketing. But the question was, how should I get in. So then I happen to, you know, search through other companies that are out there in the market who are allowing, you know, someone from a different background than then Business Administration to work in the marketing. And I landed a problem across a company that was working with a telecom product. So that actually was the entry point for me that I knew a little bit about the product. And I wanted to explore the field of marketing. But the first question I was very much afraid to answer was what have I done on my own to sort of prove a point that I can market a product. So and, and that was the era of on free online education, resources and courses and stuff. So I started, I enrolled myself on to the the best and free available online course. And then I started creating presentations and started brewing ideas and stuff that actually helped me get into my first job as a marketer. And I think that was when I worked as a marketeer. But I also learned the entire game of marketing, Product Marketing and, and Business Administration. So yeah, that's how I started my career. And from there on, one thing led to another, and I started enjoying the work that I did. And that's how I ended up working here at a startup as the head of marketing. And yeah, I think in last one year, whatever ups and downs that I've seen, I think, I think it's a good time to be a marketing personnel, you know, who has actually seen the pandemic phase, and the industry that I work with is highly, you know, sensitive of of, of such things, because we essentially dealt with the events, industry. And so I was I was able to experience the entire, you know, depletion to the growth cycle that we did, and I think that was that was an amazing experience. And I wish through this particular conversation, I'm able to let out that experience to everyone and people If it helps, even one person, that would be great.
Gresham Harkless 5:04
Yeah, I absolutely love that and kind of goes right back to what you were talking about with the whole entire idea of marketing is if you have a really great product or service, you really want to let as many people know about it. And just as you said, sometimes in our experiences, we want to get that opportunity to kind of let people know about the lessons that we learned and things that we can kind of give to the community so that we can learn back. So I love how those things kind of go hand in hand. So I know you touched a little bit on what you all are doing. And kind of that the the event space, you just take us through a little bit more about who below and tell us what exactly you're doing because support the client you work with. Yeah, sure. So
Archan Dholakia 5:37
when I joined who below who below was into providing a software that would help enterprises and event organizers manage the entire event through, you know, creating some single dashboard, that would create a website, for them an application that people would use to network, an application that organizer would use to manage the check ins checkouts, and that that was the the product pretty much there. And as we entered into the month of February 2019, we all know that, unfortunately, the outbreak of the virus had hit most part of parts of the world, and we started seeing a dip in in the business. And that is when a few of our clients actually actually were concerned about their plans with part of our events they had. So our first attempt was to just just come up with a solution that would serve their needs. And and then we realized that, okay, it might take the situation to normalize that will longer. So so you know, as a team, the entire leadership team got along, and they decided that we should create a virtual event platform at that point in time. And so I think our product team, our tech team got along, and within 15 days, we had the PPT version ready, which which was which was able to serve the purpose of hosting a virtual event. And, and to what I remember, I think this so, so I taught my knife, I've heard this thing that you know, Necessity is the mother of all inventions. So So this was a necessity, my product team did a wonderful job at coming up with the product within 15 days. The next was the role of marketing to to be able to you know, drive, right sort of opportunity, right out of business, and, and make it available to the market, you know, the same concept, you know, which goes back five years back, what led me to sort of get into the field of marketing, too, if you have a right product, you should successfully be able to bring it to the right people. So I think I think that is when we actually started stepping into the foot of our consumers. And we started to understand what would be their, you know, thinking cycles, you know, what else stuff? Would they be going through, I had an event, it got canceled, it got canceled, what should I do? I was planning an event now that no physical events are gonna happen for next 2345 months or so. So how else can I, you know, keep my community engaged, people were facing issues with a lot of videoconferencing software's, because of the, you know, kind of traffic that was coming in, plus webinars, whatever, never a solution to replicate the life physical event, networking experience and stuff. So we sort of understood all that, you know, people around in the market would be would be concerned and cared about, and then we started actually putting out you know, the bit of knowledge information and stuff in the market. And that that got stuck with the, with the with the target group that we had. And, and and yeah, from there on, I think we are now we have grown, you know, mighty force, we have done, we have served two board more clients than we did before. pandemic so so I think that we, as a team, yes, we will get successful in creating the right product, and then being able to deliver it to the right people at the right time.
Gresham Harkless 9:01
Yeah, that's, that's what it comes down to kind of being able to kind of be successful in the business. And I think I feel like the the word of the year, if not close to the word of the year should be the word pivot, because a lot of times because of these disruptions happen, and as you mentioned, that Necessity is the mother of invention. A lot of times you have to make those shifts and changes and re evolve or reinvent yourself or your business. And it sounds like you guys have definitely been able to do that. So I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for you personally, or the business or a combination of both. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?
Archan Dholakia 9:33
Right. So yeah, I think I think I did a lot of introspection and a retrospective analysis on you know, what actually worked for us because and why I did this was I actually wanted to know if at all in future any any such situation comes in, you know, people should not say that what what these guys did was a fluke. Right? So So yeah, so I think the secret sauce was or I should say they were Two to three things that we did, right. So, the first thing was, you know, the benefit of being a startup is you have high agility, right? So you can take decisions quickly, you can you can mend your team, the way you want them to mend and come up with the, with the answers. So the first secret sauce, either you are a startup, or a mid mid mid scale business, or a big conglomerate, have that have that if you're a big big enterprise have that one, you know, emergency team that can function or think like a startup. So say for example, if you are 100,000 people company, it is difficult to incorporate a huge change, or it is difficult to come up with one product that would work wonders. So I think what what people can do is they can create a group of, you know, 10 1520 people who can actually work on that pilot project, and can try and execute it. Whereas startups and SMBs are already of a size that they can try to be as much agile as possible in terms of their execution. So that is number one. Number two is, most startups or most SMB companies always fear, the fact that their competition, which which, which might be a huge, huge enterprise would always have deep pockets, you know, you spend X amount of money as part of your marketing expense, they would have money, they can outspend you in that part, right. So what you need to do is you need to out think them, in terms of, of marketing. And I think that that's one thing that my my team back at Tableau did, right in terms of marketing is we got into the shoes of our target audience. And, and, and we produce information and content that they would search in the next two to three months. Right. So other otherwise it's it's on chasing game, you know, you're putting out the repetitive redundant information that's already out there, people who are already already doing well, on the on the digital platforms, with which large followers page rankings up high on Google, and there is this few a chance for you to, to outperform them. So you need to outsmart them, you need to you need to work on things that your target audience would would, you know, search for in next quarter or, or in next six months or next year. So I think that is the secret sauce number two. And the third thing that I thought that really worked for us was, we were somehow together, we're able to keep the morale of the entire team high. Because it's not, it's not the job of one or two people to turn it around. So you need people who would believe that things would go right. And, and they would be, you know, paid off either by recognition or by just by being part of, of the journey that you're promising them. So they need to believe in you and you need to be empathetic of their situation. And I think that was the third thing that I believe was was my secret sauce. So yeah, I think these three words, the secret sauce, if you ask me As for my analysis, the the agility, ability to outrank your competition and and keeping up your team's motivation of pi.
Gresham Harkless 13:20
I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I want to ask you for what I call a SEO hack. So this could be like an app or book or habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?
Archan Dholakia 13:29
I think what what I have learned from from my CEO, the guy with whom I work is, is that you should, you should always have two things. First, the ability to get a Hawkeye view of things, right? To be able to see the bigger picture. And then take right decisions based on on excess of that.
Gresham Harkless 13:54
I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. And this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something related to marketing or something if you were to happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger business professional so
Archan Dholakia 14:07
if I were to go back five years or say seven years, I would I would ask my younger self to not not follow what everyone else is and and try to give yourself some time not not not be too hard on yourself and and see what where you naturally navigate and end up because because either then or later on, you would ultimately end up doing that. Which which I eventually did. I want to ask you Archon What does being a CEO mean to you? CEO means you are the CEO of the assignments that are given to you. And because you are my co CEO, probably your incentives might be micro incentives. But when you accomplish them, it's as good as a CEO taking a successful exit from his his venture. So you take action That's what exit from your, your your junior self venture, and then you progress to your senior self arranger. And if you do this way, probably you might have an exponential growth in your career. And I think that's what I'm seeing arch and truly appreciate that and
Gresham Harkless 15:17
I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best to get hold of you and find out about all the awesome things that you're working on.
Archan Dholakia 15:27
Well, it was it was amazing. Talking to you. I felt like I'm talking to the entire community. So it was fun. Yeah, that's it I hope more and more people come up with it will be great to hear what what people liked about the conversation we that that we just had. And if there is anything they would like to share. I have all my views and yeah, I think it's mutually you know, the knowledge sharing is mutual. So I think I've given my bit and I'll be waiting for people to sort of give their bid in in whatever way they can and it will be fun to connect with, you know, other viewers and bottles of MCU. And, and and look around what you have to say.
Gresham Harkless 16:06
Absolutely. And to make it even easier. Arjun will have your information in the show notes as well too, so that people can reach out and connect and I think that's at the true spirit of I think human existence is the opportunity to get to connect and to share and to to uplift and grow together. So I appreciate you for helping us.
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