We launched TapChief three years back, and the journey has been thrilling and humbling at the same time. We’ve had the pleasure of serving and interacting with more than 86,000 people who signed up to our platform to find gigs and monetise their expertise. It is their stories of curiosity, determination, passion, and commitment that inspires us to strive harder every single day. So, it is only fair we shared them with you.
For this week’s Human’s of TapChief, we sat down with Andrea Lobo. She is a marketing professional with six years of experience. She is passionate about building brands and driving growth.
After having begun her career in a traditional marketing role, things took an unexpected turn after she joined the immensely popular restaurant search and discovery service, Zomato. Merely a few days into the job, the company wanted Andrea to drive and own their digital marketing operations for India and the rest of the world.
This came as a bit of a shock to Andrea, considering her lack of hands-on experience in the field. However, she rose up to the challenge and used it as a stepping stone for launching a successful career in digital marketing.
The sudden leap was possible only due to her sheer grit, determination and a passion for marketing and learning. What’s more, she has already started taking up marketing consulting gigs, which is typically dominated by professionals with more than ten years of work experience.
Read on to learn more about the journey — how she grew from a management trainee to a highly sought-after digital marketing leader.
After completing her graduation in Biotechnology from Wilson College in 2011, Andrea proceeded to do her Masters in Business Administration from XIMR. She started her career as a Management Trainee at Society Tea, then went on to work for the likes of Tiny Owl and Zomato.
At present, she is heading the Performance Marketing division at Media.Net. Apart from that, she has worked as a Digital Marketing Consultant for companies such as Videocon Games, Upgrad, Haptik, BrandsLogic, Nyuyu Tech, and Shopholix.
Andrea didn’t start her career, hoping to get into digital marketing. At her first two jobs, her responsibilities were geared more towards general marketing: Above The Line (OOH, Radio and print campaigns), Below The Line activities (on-ground brand activations and events), and building dashboards for marketing analytics.
Her exposure to digital marketing was limited to being involved in ideation and co-ordination of a few integrated marketing campaigns. However, things changed after she joined Zomato. She was hired to analyse marketing efficacy, but as it happens in most startups, her job responsibilities weren’t set in stone.
I joined Zomato as a traditional marketing associate. To my surprise, I was shifted to the digital marketing team within the first week. I was excited and a bit anxious. It was a fast-growing domain, but my hands-on experience was quite limited.
The odd turn of events left her in a tight spot. However, she wasn’t one to give up or say no to a challenge.
At first, it was overwhelming; my existing skillset did not match the challenge. However, I knew this was my shot at the big league. So, I worked very hard (countless hours and weekends) to understand the data and trends, and bridge the gap.
As she started learning more about digital marketing, things got easier. It seemed to her as if this is what she was supposed to do in life.
The beauty of digital marketing is that it sits at the epicentre of consumer research, user behaviour, technology, design, and statistics — can’t really get more exciting than that.
During her time at Zomato, she was responsible for driving growth digitally across all online platforms for both B2C and B2B units – Search and Discovery, Online Ordering, Table reservation, White-label CRM apps and Zomato Base, globally.
She delivered ROI on paid campaigns by reducing quarterly costs by 79 percent and also, using marketing automation solutions to optimise the LTV. Besides that, she grew Month on Month installs organically by 120 percent and app store visitors by 25 percent, by employing different growth hacking strategies.
After spending two years at Zomato, she went on to join Media.net, the world’s 2nd largest contextual advertising platform. She works as Performance Marketing Head there, owning the P&L of a product portfolio across countries such as the USA, UK and Canada.
Andrea’s journey as a consultant
Andrea is someone who doesn’t like to stand still. She is innately curious and wants to broaden her horizons continually. So, a few years into her professional journey, she was feeling a bit restricted.
The companies she worked for were mostly into e-commerce and food-tech. Andrea wanted to explore beyond that and learn how different ecosystems and technologies worked.
The nearest alternative would be to work for an agency, but even that comes with its own limitations. You won’t get to go into the core areas like retention, CRM, and revenue.
So, I knew consulting would be the best alternative. It would help me go in-depth into diverse industries, explore and learn about different business models, growth metrics, and so on.
Now, after working as a consultant for a handful of years, I can say that it has definitely enriched my journey as a digital marketer, and helped me grow exponentially.
It didn’t come easy, though. At the time, Andrea had only around two years of work experience, and consulting is typically dominated by much more experienced professionals. So, she had a hard time convincing clients. Moreover, she was yet to understand the nuances of consulting fully.
It took me time to build a rhythm. I quickly realized that I had to be more insightful than an in-house resource. That meant, ask the right questions, do a need-gap analysis, come up with solutions, and much more — all in quick time. This is something I struggled a lot in the beginning.
In addition to that, she found it hard to balance her full-time job and side gigs. To make it worse, there wasn’t a seamless way to find gigs, manage or work on them. That’s when she came across TapChief.
I signed up to TapChief, expecting nothing. I thought it would be just another platform. However, barely after a week, I started getting small gigs on the platform. Initially, it was mostly career coaching calls through UpGrad and a few consultation calls.
The experience helped me spot gaps and opportunities from both the demand and supply side of the digital marketing ecosystem. I learned more about the thought process of people from various backgrounds, from veteran salespeople, traditional marketers, digital newbies with one year of marketing experience.
Each of them has their own motivations, challenges and problem-solving approaches. These interactions helped me broaden my horizons and understand the digital marketing space more from a talent, upskilling, and career perspective.
On the whole, TapChief has made my consulting life much more streamlined. For starters, its UX-UI is very convenient. Everything you need to prepare before the call is available in one place — the client’s profile, background, questions, and the option to reschedule. This way, you can schedule your day or week at your convenience.
I also like the networking aspect of the platform. You can link your LinkedIn profile with TapChief, connect with experts from different domains, and learn from them. This way, TapChief helps me be a student and an expert at the same time.
My time with TapChief has helped me build an excellent relationship with companies such as UpGrad — I’ve curated content for them, was a speaker for their marketing analytics module, and more. It has certainly helped me work on exciting projects across a wide spectrum.
Andrea believes that her secret to success on TapChief (and on other platforms) is that her profile is exhaustive and detailed.
Whenever I build a profile (on any network), I ensure it is complete with all the information a client would want. Also, I make it a point to use keywords that my target audience would be searching for.
Getting found organically is the best. Because when you get inbound leads, you have higher negotiation power. This approach is more effective than reaching out to people and cold pitching your services. It doesn’t always work.
In her rather short consulting career, she has already managed to work with the likes of Haptik, Upgrad, BrandsLogic, Videocon Games, Shopholix, and more.
Andrea’s plan for the future
Andrea wants to start her own consultation platform. She wants to bring together experts from her own network — marketing experts, designers, copywriters, coders, analysts, and collaborate under one banner.
In addition to that, she plans to enable Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence technologies to reduce the level of human involvement in running marketing campaigns. This way, her clients can have a full-stack marketing solution to scale their growth efforts while maintaining a lean team.
This article is part of our Humans of TapChief series, where we highlight inspiring stories of our community members who choose to live and work on their own terms.