How does a CEO think? What drives them? What have they overcome to get where they are today? These are questions that a lot of people ask themselves.
After having looked at how life is as a grad student at a tech B2B marking agency earlier, today we’re going to the top of the ladder and speaking with our CEO, Anu Ramani, to give you the answers to these questions.
In our chat, Anu talks about motivations, gives advice, discusses strategy, provides industry insights, and looks forward to 2024. If you’re interested in how things are for leaders in B2B marketing, this is the interview for you.
What’s your biggest reason to get up in the morning?
I like the sense of adventure. I like the sense of building something and creating something.
And I really love seeing the members of my team grow and develop.
How has the client-agency relationship changed in the last 18 months?
The fundamental nature of an agency-client relationship never changes. Clients want reliable partners who are deeply engaged with the business. They want partners who don’t fear to provide feedback, to push back, and to constantly improve the quality of what’s being produced.
I think the biggest change in the past 18 months has been in how much virtual collaboration has taken hold, whether it’s briefings, conference calls, the way we submit materials, etc. All of that has become so much more virtualized in the past 18 months, which makes the agency’s job a little harder because we have to be even more flexible, more alert, more agile to understand where feedback is coming from, where direction is changing and so on.
What has the hardest, worst day of your career been and how did you pick yourself up from it?
When I was starting out, I really wanted to add value and I think it must have been quite difficult to be my boss. Whatever he suggested or briefed me to do, I would ask questions or suggest better ways of doing things. I thought I was adding value. He just saw it as somebody being very disruptive. So there was a very difficult meeting where he just told me: do what I’m telling you to do, there is no need to argue with me at all times.
That was a really tough day, a really tough meeting and all credit to my boss for taking on board what I wanted. He folded that into the way we worked together and I can never thank him enough for shaping me into the professional I am today.
What is a common piece of career advice that you think people should actually know?
Don’t be afraid to push yourself is the advice I would give to anybody who is starting out in their career today.
No matter what it is, by its very definition, innovation is going to be new and hard.
Every single workplace in my opinion is fairly similar. You’re going to find the same mix of personalities. You’re going to have to learn a new way of working, a product, a technology, a service. And so long as you feel that it’s an environment that enriches you, embrace it.
Give it your all and don’t be afraid to push yourself and learn and try new things.
If you were to launch Isoline again, would you do anything differently?
I would definitely build the team much faster than I did. This is the first company I’ve ever started so I really struggled to have the confidence in the business model that would allow me to hire people. I kept thinking, what if it doesn’t work?
But now I realise that if I had expanded the team a few years earlier, I would have been able to do more work, more exciting work, and maybe we’d be doing even better today. I wouldn’t change a thing otherwise.
What should marketing agency leaders be thinking when it comes to retaining talent in 2024?
I think it’s essential to give people a reason to feel engaged and to feel that they’re growing, they’re empowered. That’s what people find most enriching: consistent development. They need to be a stronger, better professional than they were six months ago. Otherwise, they feel they are stagnating.
Agency leaders really need to think about how to grow the team and develop the skills of the team. And the good news is that when the team grows and their skills develop, the agency’s output gets better too.
What are you most excited about in tech for 2024?
I’m really struggling to choose.
The reason that Isoline is a tech B2B agency is because I find technology interesting in general. Blockchain, IoT, and green tech are going to be super interesting, especially sustainability technologies and ways to do things with fewer emissions, more smartly is going to just absolutely take off in the next few months.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a mentor. I would like to help other companies, entrepreneurs and professionals to achieve their potential and become the best professional version of themselves that they want to be.
So what lessons can we learn from Anu’s career so far?
- Be brave
- Roll with the punches
- Push yourself
- Empower those around you
- Love what you do
Isoline is built on these principles. And given our growth over the past few years, they seem to be taking us in the right direction.
If you want to learn more about Isoline, or perhaps you fancy a job with us (we are hiring!), please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org