Meet Adit Chouhan: Marketing Ninja-turned-author of ‘MARKETING – Tricks of the Trade They Won’t Teach You at B-Schools!’

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Adit Chouhan

Adit Chouhan has been a Marketer for more than a decade and comes with valuable experience from various sectors like Retail, Real Estate, Events, Outdoor Media and Business Consulting. He is currently running a Digital Marketing Firm in Pune called CLICKS Technologies and is working on another Lifestyle services based Social Commerce start-up called Style My Life.

Adit had his first quick entrepreneurial stint when he started Cornucopia Events and Entertainment in Mumbai in 2009. As part of the same, he used to provide Lifestyle Solutions, Event Management and Movie Marketing solutions. Due to his innovative concepts, he was widely appreciated and covered in various Electronic, Print and Digital Media as well. An Entrepreneur at heart, Adit also enjoys hosting events as a professional Emcee whenever an opportunity arises.

Although, he would get a lot of compliments for his writing on Facebook posts, and also for his blog, he never thought of writing a book. True motivation came when many work colleagues started asking him to get into serious writing after reading his mails. “I had this habit of sending A Big Thank You mail, after any major event, to the whole organization appreciating everyone involved, from every department, individually specifying his/her contribution in that mail. That’s where my words touched people and I was suggested by many, including the CEO of my then employer organisation, to take up writing seriously”, he explains.

This led to the birth of ‘MARKETING – Tricks of the Trade They Won’t Teach You at B-Schools!’, the writing process of which, Adit says, was a spiritual one. Published by Rupa Publications, the book is available at all online portals like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc and Crossword and all other major offline Book Stores as well, and is getting some major appreciation for its straight-forward, new age, friendly and pragmatic content. The book is a first-of-its-kind practical guide to marketing focused towards helping management students, fresh marketing professionals and young entrepreneurs understand the day-to-day on-the job nuances of marketing and speed up their career growth.

We recently caught up with Adit to talk to us about his book, and marketing as a career, and he had a lot of insights to give us –

  1. What gravitated you towards a career in marketing?

That’s an interesting question! In fact, surprisingly, this is the first time someone has asked me this question. I was a big fan of Symbiosis as an educational brand since I was in my school days. Somehow, the name stuck with me in my head so much that even though I was not sure which stream I wanted to do my graduation in, I was very sure that I wanted to do a management post grads from Symbiosis. It was in the due course of time while finishing school then engineering and then working with BPOs while studying for MBA entrance exams that I realized that I am more of a people’s person inclined towards being creative in my approach. (My wife says I can even initiate a conversation with a rock!) I knew then, during those days, that Finance, HR etc. were not of my interest and I will fit in well, and enjoy more in a marketing career. So, took up marketing and got a chance to do it from Symbiosis, Pune only.

  1. What are the highs and lows of a marketing career?

You are one of the few people in a company who are allowed to spend on behalf of the firm. Being on the ‘Client’ side of the table brings in a lot of pride within for the profession you are in. It makes you break your head, at times, to figure out new strategies and tactics to gain customers and analyse campaigns for the.

The higher the marketing budget, more it needs you to be responsible. The value of your signature on a document becomes very high as you grow the ladder. Hence, you need to be extremely careful about what you sign, approve or pay for. Management of Bills and Vendors is another daunting task of marketing career for which no management college prepares you. Improper Marketing Budget Planning vis-à-vis annual target allocation by most of the firms makes it a stressful affair.

  1. How would you say your book stands out from all the books/textbooks available on marketing?

“As the name suggests ‘MARKETING – Tricks of the Trade They Won’t Teach You at B-Schools!’, the book is beyond most of the theory books currently available in the market. This book is a capsule version of all the practical knowledge of marketing I acquired in my decade-long career as a marketer with various industries. It is a first-of-its-kind practical handbook and a step-by-step guide in marketing for management students, marketing professionals and entrepreneurs coming from non-marketing backgrounds.

  1. What is your opinion on the current generation of marketers v/s the ones that have a good no. of years of experience?

Experience is the greatest teacher of all. And, there can be no doubt about that. Especially, looking at our current education system, none of the fresh marketers enter the industry with good hands-on knowledge from their courses. Most of it is theory, and 2-3 months of internship projects give very little exposure to them. I feel the current generation of aspiring marketers should never join an MBA/ PGD course fresh after their graduation. They should gain some industry exposure and then join an executive course to get better understanding of various topics they are being taught.

The current generation of marketers are full of action and innovation but lack patience, attention to details and pragmatic planning. That comes with experience and hence it’s important that they learn as fast as they can to be able to do justice to their profile. My book tries to prepare them better for their day to day tasks as a Marketer and alongside tries to show them the broader picture and its relation with the small tasks they complete. Every industry has its own way of functioning and the understanding of specifics of that industry will only come with experience in the sector. Hence, continuous sector studies, analysis and networking is the key.

  1. In terms of teaching marketing, how good or bad are universities? Do you think the students need a little more than what they’re given, or does it depend on how each one applies the knowledge they have?

I believe all theory should be covered in first half of the courses and rest half of the course schedule should ensure that every student completes at least 3-5 internships in different industries over different types of projects. Or, have internal projects requiring students to get exposed to all practical aspects of marketing – strategy, branding, planning, budgeting, execution (including TVCs, Print, OOH, Radio, PR, Events, Activations, Digital etc. media vehicles), bills, vendors, agency liaison, business networking, and more! With no practical exposure to all these, we are definitely not producing ready-to-use marketers for the industry.

Students on the other hand have to bring in seriousness in their attitude as well, specially for post-graduate courses. They need to get out of the mentality of joining a post-grads course primarily for placements. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, we should stop giving admissions to post-grad courses to fresh graduates without any industry exposure, like most of the colleges in the west. That would definitely change the way marketing education is delivered as well as accepted in India.

  1. Is it mandatory to have done a professional course to have a flourishing marketing career? 

As you grow up the ladder, having professional knowledge helps in understanding management’s point of view. A professional post-graduation course not only symbolises knowledge or degree but also the will of a person towards his personality development and the brand name his alma mater carries. However, I wouldn’t say that it is mandatory to do a professional course for a flourishing marketing career. If you start early and spend enough time on on-the-job learning, there is no force that can stop you from having a flourishing marketing career anyways.

  1. What is your message to aspiring marketing executives?

Read my book for sure! It will definitely help you with a lot of ammunition you would need while entering this exciting as well as highly competitive world of Marketing. Secondly, choose your industry wisely. As you grow up in your marketing career, your knowledge of a particular sector becomes a necessary skill and hence if your resume is focused towards an industry, chances are that you will be growing in the same sector only. So, be very particular as well as stable in your industry selection. Thirdly, improve your analytics skills since that’s an extremely important skill for a marketer. Fourthly, make sure you do a course in Digital Marketing or study it by yourself since it’s almost mandatory for marketing profiles now-a-days. Lastly, never take your company’s money or marketing budget for granted and always try to negotiate hard and save your organization’s money.

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