I have a zeal for making lists and checking them off - Parul Garg
It was a great pleasure to interact with the “multi-tasking enthusiast”, Parul Garg, who accidentally stumbled upon a career in digital marketing and then excelled in it while working in the dream organization - Google! She draws her inspiration from different people she meets and interacts with in her daily life. She awaits turning 50 to embark on a truly chilled out career at a beach! Do read her interesting interview below:
1. How would you like to describe yourself in a sentence?
I am a multi-tasking enthusiast with a zeal for making lists and checking them off!
2. Would you briefly describe your education and career journey so far for our readers?
Thanks to my Dad's transferable job, I attended 7 schools in 6 different cities, including two in Mauritius. I did my double major in Biochemistry and Microbiology from St. Xaviers Mumbai, and PG at Symbiosis, Pune.
Post my graduation, it was apparent to me that there was no way I wanted to pursue a MSc. To buy myself some thinking time, I went to Symbiosis, Pune, and did my post-graduation in Computer Management.
Life took a turn at this point, where I decided to move to Baroda, Gujarat, to be with my folks. I picked a job as a Computer trainer, but worked my way up to a Franchise Manager in the span of 2 years. Along the way, I learned about marketing, operations, and team management.
Around the same time, I met my other half, and moved to Australia with him. I actually picked up whatever jobs I could there- from a call centre job to a photocopying job (at Fuji Xerox!), I did it all. The best part of all these roles was meeting people from different countries, learning how to work with them, and also understanding their accents!
Moved back to Hyderabad and started my career with Google, India. I was the 96th employee and I was lucky enough to grow as the company grew in India. I started by learning to review ads for policies, and ended as a Team lead managing 40+ people across multiple locations. I was also the India AdWords lead trainer and enjoyed myself training 2000+ people.
I quit Google post 5.5 years because I wanted to be a full-time mum to my young daughter. Once she was 2, I ventured out again and became the first employee for the Birthplace, a premium birthing boutique chain in Hyderabad. I worked with them for 3 years in a part-time capacity and looked way beyond AdWords. This is where a lot of self-learning happened and I entered the world of Facebook marketing, radio ads, hoardings, LinkedIn ads and more. I left the Birthplace after 3 years to challenge myself as an entrepreneur.
Since the last 3 years, I have been on my own, working as a consultant. I have worked with clients across the world. My passion is to work with Indian start-ups/mid-sized businesses, who are figuring out how to communicate with their audience, increase conversions and get a fantastic ROI. Currently, all my time is occupied with a B2C client in the weddings space and a B2B client in the communications space.
3. What attracted you towards a career in digital marketing?
The start of my career in digital marketing was sort of a fluke - it just happened without my really understanding it.
On our move back to Hyderabad, I saw this recruiting newspaper ad from Google India. I obviously applied to it because of the magic word (Google!). Once I got my interview call is when my immersion actually began, and there has been no looking back since then.
4. How was your experience working at Google?
Well, it definitely help me put on some weight! Jokes apart, it was an immensely enriching experience. Google helped me get started on online marketing, a field I have come to love, but more importantly, it helped me grow as a professional and an individual. I worked with some absolutely fantastic people, learnt a lot from them, found my best manager there, and of course, learnt habits that I can never break. From setting up vacation reminders to turning up for meetings on time, those habits have stayed with me for all these years.
5. Now you are working as a Consultant. What is the biggest challenge which you face as a Consultant and how do you try to overcome it?
It may sound totally lame, but while I love digital marketing for my clients, I absolutely dislike marketing myself! Usually I have a steady stream of clients, however, whenever its the question of talking to potential clients, and selling myself, I do need to mentally prepare myself.
6. Which digital marketing campaign has been most satisfying for you, if you could briefly mention about it?
Any digital marketing campaign that helps me get relevant conversions with the maximum ROI becomes my most satisfying campaign! Having said that, what interests me most is the strength of various platforms and using it as my strength. For example, imagine having the ability to target a male, 25-28, MBA, engaged, owning an iPhone5s and now customizing your wedding venue ad for him, because you know he is the market for the service and you know approximately the kind of venues he can afford. Or from a B2B perspective, getting vendors on-board your marketplace at a CPA (cost per acquisition) of INR 60 as compared to the offline CPA of INR 350. Those are campaigns I absolutely love running!
7. What does women empowerment mean to you?
- A choice to say "yes"
- A choice to say "no"
- A choice to say "maybe"
Really, a choice to speak, do, act how you feel/believe.
8. Who is your role model in life?
I believe we are past having one "role model" in our lives. There are so many people to take inspiration from on a daily basis including my mom who lives on her own terms, or my maid who is a single-mom and is bringing up her kids, or from a cousin who did her CA at the age of 38 after 3 kids and has opened her own office. I prefer getting my daily dose of inspiration from them!
9. What would be your advice to women who would like to build a career in digital marketing?
Digital marketing encompasses various channels like SEM, SMM, SEO and Content Marketing. If you are a beginner, don't try to master all of these together, its tough and impractical, more importantly, with the number of changes, you won't be able to keep track. I'd suggest becoming a master of one of the channels, and having a broad understanding of the others. Also, definitely try to get an understanding of the offline marketing world too. You need to understand how both the worlds impact each other, and their respective strengths.
10. How do you unwind when you are not working?
Read a lot
Be with my kid
11. What are the three unchecked items in your bucket list?
See the world (In progress)
Buy Jimmy Choos (far far away!)
Open a library on a beach (will start working on this at 50)