First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Rajesh Kadam: My family is doing alright. It is certainly a difficult time, but I feel fortunate that we can access healthcare and resources needed to weather through this uncertain time. I have two kids (3 and 9), and the younger one is a bundle of energy. It’s quite a ride managing them! One positive of this phase is that we can cook and eat fresh home-cooked meals regularly.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded GrowthFusion
Rajesh Kadam: I grew up in India and came to the US for graduate school at Purdue University (Go Boilers!) 20 years ago. I was always interested in working with startups, and Silicon Valley was a natural choice. I started GrowthFusion in 2012 in response to a huge demand I saw for marketing automation, martech, and demand generation services. It turns out that it was a great decision.
How does GrowthFusion innovate?
Rajesh Kadam: Innovation is at the heart of our approach to making companies successful. It’s a mindset more than anything else and a willingness to take risks. We keep track of the latest developments in the space and the many products that are released almost on a daily basis that can have a positive impact on our clients’ marketing outcomes.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how are you coping?
Rajesh Kadam: Many of our clients have increased their budgets post COVID because so much of customer spending has moved online. In the B2B marketing world, budgets allocated to conferences and physical events have moved to other paid channels like paid search, social, and content syndication. Of course, this means the number of campaigns executed has increased exponentially. All of this has meant increased engagement with our clients.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Rajesh Kadam: Indeed, we have had to make difficult choices, and I have learned many lessons in the process. The first is around attracting and hiring top-notch talent. This is very important and dovetails directly into going to great lengths to satisfy client needs. This is not always easy to do, but worth hanging your hat on. Another lesson has been to stress test your business processes when things are going good, rather than when you hit a bump in the road. This will enable you to stay competitive, even when there are black swan events, such as COVID-19.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and GrowthFusion in the future?
Rajesh Kadam: I am a reasonably serious meditator, which helps me deal with stress and anxiety. I also try to zoom out and hold things in the context of everything that is happening in the world. That helps keep things in perspective. As an entrepreneur committed to doing good, I believe we should calibrate our actions to respond to the needs of diverse sections of society. In that sense, I am a fan of the triple bottom line – social, environmental, and financial.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Rajesh Kadam: Marketing is a complex space, and we have a diverse set of competitors, depending on the problem we are tackling for the client. The key to staying in the game is to continuously innovate and bring best-of-breed solutions to our clients. Many of our competitors have a hard time doing this because they are risk-averse and would rather continue doing what has worked for them in the past. That is the antithesis of an innovative Silicon Valley mentality and will not work in the long run.
Your final thoughts
Rajesh Kadam: I hope entrepreneurs can come together during these difficult times to help marginalized communities across the world live a life of dignity.
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