We had a chat with the founder of Digital Confluent, Subha Ganesh, about her career, experience, and challenges in the digital world.
Have you always wanted to work in digital?
“I always wanted to work in digital, 100%, I am of the generation when Google was just launched and digital marketing was new. The digital world has moved so much from those days and this fast pace and constant move is my motivation.
I completed my MBA in Finance and Marketing. I moved to the UK (from India) after my son was born and didn’t have any work experience. I struggled a lot to get my first opportunity but I was determined that I will be open to any job as long as it is in the marketing department. My first break was a telemarketing role. It is still interesting to think about how I accepted that role since I had no confidence on the phone due to my accent. But here we are, 15 years later with my own digital marketing consultancy firm working across 10 clients with a 7 member team.
I now run a digital marketing consulting business called Digital Confluent.
My average day starts with dropping my kids at school (my husband works in Geneva from Mon to Fri) and getting to work at 9.30am.
I have a quick catch up with my management team to understand the priorities for each client. Then, I work with my marketing team (I also have an eCommerce business – MrandMsWonder) to ensure our marketing activity is smooth and all the creatives are ready and performance numbers are steady.
I have regular 1-2-1 with my co-founder (MrandMsWonder) to go through the plan for the day/week, usually, our days are filled with supplier meetings, conferences, interviews for PR and I juggle that with Digital Confluent (consulting business) meeting with meeting for strategy, client meetings.
My advice for women looking to do the same thing is to jump first and think later. Never feel comfortable in your career, because that is the beginning of the end. Always push your boundaries.
My biggest challenge has been breaking through senior management roles. I was always appreciated for my talent, but when it comes to promotion, my counterparts easily got promoted.
I ensured that I pushed my boundaries and learned to network and make sure I shout about my work, not only to my team but across the organisation. This is not something I was good at, but I learned that no one is going to help me if I am not my own advocate. I had to do my own PR. Once the visibility increased, people started noticing and I started growing faster.
I work in an industry where there are a lot of women in junior roles, but once they cross the manager level, the number of women goes down drastically and once you get to mid-management, it is even lower particularly in-house roles.
Mental Health in the Workplace
The awareness is increasing more now, but while I was employed, there was fear to even discuss the issue for fear of losing the job. However, this is a crucial value of my own agency. We believe in smart working. So, the team has Flexi timing, we don’t look/clock in time but only the output. I don’t mind where they work from, as long as we deliver what we promise.
One thing I realised as a business owner is that business doesn’t stop, however, it is important to have a healthy balance otherwise you will burn out easily. I ensure that I work from home at least once a fortnight. I take time off when the kids are off school and more than anything I learned to prioritise my time, I only do things that are important and required by me – anything that brings money into the business, the rest I delegate.
Voice search is going to be the future. The impact it has on the alpha generation means that if the brands are not preparing for the transition today, they are not visible to the next generation.
We are also seeing an emphasis on customer experience now than ever before. I am sure we are heading towards moving off from any keyword, contextual marketing to a more customer mindset and behaviour led marketing.
‘Community building’ and getting a more human approach rather than hyper-personalisation (after GDPR) is going to be the main trend. Any company that can build loyalty and a ‘community’ are going to be the winners.”