Prathamesh Kulkarni was pursuing his MBA in International Business from ITM Kharghar when iProspect (then Communicate 2) went to his college looking for SEM Managers. Kulkarni, who joined the organisation five-and-a-half years ago, absolutely loves what he does today. But there was a time when he hadn’t even heard of digital marketing.
“Communicate 2 had come to my college for placements. Back then I did not even know what digital marketing was but I was always interested in numbers and iProspect is a performance agency where we deal with a lot of numbers. So I jumped right into it from International Business.”
Kulkarni, who joined Communicate 2 as Trainee Manager, is today Director, Analytics, iProspect India and leads a team of 10. Speaking about his half-a-decade run with the organisation, Kulkarni said, “For me, iProspect is like a second home. The one thing I like about this place is that it gives you the freedom to do what you want. There is a very open culture here and that is why I am still here. I have learned a lot here.”
In his own words, Kulkarni is someone who gets bored easily if not challenged every day and this is exactly the same trait that saw him seeking a switch from search to analytics.
“After completing three years in one vertical, that is search, things were starting to become routine. That was the time when analytics had just started and I knew that I had to be a part of it. I went to my boss and convinced him to give me a chance and he did. That is one another thing about iProspect that I really like. Anywhere else I wouldn’t have been given the opportunity but here they believed in me and give me a chance.”
It was a big decision for Kulkarni and for someone who likes challenges, this decision brought plenty of them in its wake.
“The one problem was that, they were looking for someone with technical experience then and I had zero technical experience. I didn’t even know what html was. The first three-four months were a lot of effort and I even questioned myself whether I had taken the right decision. It was scary but I am glad I listened to my heart and took that leap of faith.”
Kulkarni believes that the risks he has taken so far have reaped him benefits and indeed they have. Not only does he handle clients like ICICI Bank, Pepperfry, Axis Bank, Remit2India and Swiggy, he has also won many awards for the work he has done, the latest being the Gold he won for ICICI Bank at the DMA India Awards.
Apart from his love for numbers and new challenges, Kulkarni also loves to teach. Taking us through how an introvert like him ended up teaching at Digital Marketing Training Institute (DMTI), he said, “My boss was the one teaching at the institute. One day he was not able to make it and asked me to go instead. That was how I first ended up in front of a 40 student strong class. I somehow managed and now have been teaching there for a year.”
Kulkarni also loves mentoring new people and he was the go-to guy when iProspect brought in new recruits.
“It was a great experience meeting all these new people and helping them learn the ropes. It was also a great opportunity for me to interact with all these new people which I wouldn’t have done otherwise. A lot of them have stayed back with us and some of them still come to me with any problems they are facing.”
Kulkarni feels that his curiosity to learn new things is his biggest strength and his biggest weakness is the fact that he gets easily bored.
If not advertising, Kulkarni believes that he would still have been in a statistical or data analyst role but he is glad he ended up in advertising.
“For me this is like being in a detective novel. Understanding what is the user doing, finding patterns, coming up with hypothesis and predictions, all this is really interesting for me and that is what I like most about what I do.”