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Ad Land’s Young Guns: Sharan Pillai, Manager - Digital Media, Flipkart

Ambitious, driven Sharan Pillai is a skilled and fascinated human who has worked for more than 75 brands and has reinvented his career from Engineering to Advertising. He has worked his way through almost every part of marketing which includes Product Marketing, Campaign Management, Media Planning & Strategy, Branding and Communication. Pillai joined Flipkart in May 2021 as a Manager for Digital Media and is responsible for evaluating multiple platforms, Onboarding partners, Set planning principles and Managing campaigns. His role focuses on collaborating with brands like Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Pillai believes in selling all sorts of things by adding value & making a positive difference in business. His expertise lies in Strategic Planning, Audience Behaviour Research, Advertising, Media Planning, Digital Marketing, Business Development and Engineering. He is always learning to build the business with demonstrated capabilities in collaborating with eccentric clients & opportunities.

Pillai has over seven years of experience and started his career as an Intern at Delhivery where he used to scan the Mumbai market to understand current inventory management practices of retailers and onboarding them for implementation of the Hyperlocal Model. He has also worked with Forbes Marshall as a Business Consultant where he was responsible for developing both long & short term strategic goals, product promotion, marketing, developing client and dealer network. Pillai has been associated with top notch agencies like Publicis Media, Publicis Worldwide India and Jio Creative Labs.

Find out from Sharan Pillai about the challenges that marketers need to face to grab the attention of consumers in a short span, how to shape your path towards success and a lot more.

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?

Storytelling

Observing the world and people around you, understanding their behaviour and media consumption pattern results in the best stories. As we know, good stories have the tendency to stay with us, regardless of the subject matter.

The most challenging part for a marketer today is to grab the attention of consumers in a short span. So, it’s important to understand which content format will work, on which media platform.

Understanding customers through H2H mindset

Combining customer wants with design thinking, service dominant logic and data analytics for strategizing marketing activities.

Adopting innovations based on human orientation and audience experimentations. 

How did you join your current organisation?

Dhoondne waala bhagwan ko bi dhoond leta hai!”

I was very fortunate throughout my career to get great opportunities, backed by hard work and patience to create my luck.

Icons in this field you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?

“Nobody has ever achieved anything big, in business or in any other walk of life, without courage” - Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani - I always admired him for his leadership quality and his positive approach towards observing the opportunities while disrupting the Indian market and representing our nation globally.

Also, I am influenced by my bosses, in fact, in some cases I follow their work style because they have made a great impression on me.

I will always be grateful to them and owe my success to them.

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?

  1. Family time - I make sure everyone at home is having a great day.
  2. Work - Try to do a little extra, experiment and learn new things everyday.
  3. Media Publishers - Talk with publishers around to be updated about the current trends and recent ad campaigns.
  4. College - Evening lectures help me to learn marketing concepts, brainstorming ideas (assignments) and discussing case studies with our professors.
  5. Counselling/ Guiding - Many folks reach out to me for advice and career guidance, I feel happy to guide and mentor them so that they end up achieving something that they have never thought about.

Do you think a career in this field is a viable one in the long term?

If I answer on a broader level - Marketers are always required to sell products/ services even though there is no demand in the market.

Specific to digital media - It’s just a start and there are a lot of technological advancements going to happen which will result in many job opportunities. Also, one needs to accept the fact - ‘Change is a must’ for which one needs to up-skill and be ready for the future.

What does it take to succeed in a career?

I look at it in reverse - Your boss, team and organisation shape your pathway to success, followed by your passion, hard work and willpower to do something BIG!

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?

Make sure you are failing!

People fail at work when they either don’t have definite knowledge or they are following the wrong path. Creativity comes when you start thinking from a blank mind and there’s a possibility you will try different things. The more you explore, the stronger you become.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Travelling Rural India to see the transformation.

I am proactively working on my dream project - The 100 Life Project (100life.in), which is setting up a community for upskilling young minds to do business online.

Is there any organisation that you would like to work with in the future?

I feel very proud to mention that I work for the leading e-commerce firm in the country and also which ranks as the best place to work.

What more can I ask for!

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