The first question every company and entrepreneur asks themselves these days is: how do I stay relevant in the online space? While it’s easy enough to create a profile on social networking websites, it’s much harder to build an online presence that won’t disappear in seconds. This is why understanding digital marketing has become so essential.
When Sorav Jain realised the potential of digital marketing, he decided to start EchoVME, an educative digital marketing service based in Chennai. The five-year-old company, with a history that goes back to 2005, has, over the years, turned into a successful venture that combines web design, content generation, SEO tagging and more, to get online visibility for its clients.
Talking about his passion for digital marketing, Sorav says, “I was always interested in digital marketing. In college, after classes, where I studied BSc Biotechnology, I’d work part time at a digital marketing agency as an SEO Executive. Biotechnology is just a degree; this is my passion.”
A long struggle
After that, the 29-year-old worked full-time at the same company for a while, and went to the UK for a post-graduate programme in International Marketing. “This was a confusing time for me as I had to figure out what I wanted to do. Those days, in India, there weren’t as many opportunities in digital marketing as there are now. I got jobs for marketing research, business marketing and sales, but those weren’t my focus areas,” he says.
Sorav even joined the family business but couldn’t work up any enthusiasm for it. “After suffocating for three months in the plywood business I took a call: either pursue my dream or do nothing. Even my father realised I wasn’t happy.”
In 2009, he (finally) got a job he wanted, at an outsourcing company, as a marketing programme specialist. “I pitched the idea of digital marketing to my boss and he liked it. At the same time, I started blogging about the subject. A year later, I quit the job to start something of my own. I had a network of people who appreciated what I did and they gave me opportunities to test myself.”
Sorav took on his first project in digital marketing in 2010. Once he was done with that, he thought ‘What next?’. “Entrepreneurs always have to deal with insecurities. While I never worried about my business plan, I did get apprehensive about my next step.” This is when he entered a business competition and found an investor for his idea. “However, that didn’t go as planned. It was just a publicity stunt and we didn’t get what we were promised.”
Most people in his situation would have given up a long time ago but Sorav decided push further. “My wife and I moved into a small office on a terrace and started the company on an investment of ₹8,000 per month as rent. We hired two freshers as that was all we could afford. We haven’t look back since, and now, we are a team of 27. We are picky about our clients but give each project our best,” he says.
Currently, EchoVME handles around 15 to 20 clients.
Talking about the impact of digital marketing on business ventures and their success, he says, “Digital marketing is important for every company these days. I’ve seen small businesses flourish because they knew how to use the online space. The reaction to online marketing is very different from offline marketing. The former reinforces an idea or product, and becomes a two-way communication channel.”
He adds, “I wanted to stay in services because the only constant here is change. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow, which is why blogs on the subject are extremely important.”
With technological advancements being made every day, a person’s understanding of marketing in the digital space has changed. “A few years ago, it took time to convince a client that there has to be an ad budget. Now, they provide us with retainer fees and a budget for advertising.”