How We Started A $153K/Year Creative Marketing Agency In Mumbai [India]
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Rumit is a computer science engineer, and Shamreen comes with a strong graphic design background. This dynamic duo established Dad of Ad in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak.
Dad of Ad is a creative marketing and advertising agency based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The agency caters to a global audience, and its flagship service is social media marketing. The team members cater to this extensively for all clients and customers. Their sub-services include search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM), and performance marketing.
Dad of Ad targets customers who are already established or striving to establish themselves to cater to a wider audience digitally. Content consumption patterns of today’s audience are shifting rapidly because they want to see content that is relatable to the masses. So, a brand’s content must parallel the current trends for an enhanced customer experience.
Brands need to have a progressive mindset to gain the visibility of their potential customers on digital platforms. The agency provides modern solutions to brands for social media growth, which helps them acquire leads. The team members ensure that the brands change how they reach out to their customers without losing their authenticity and soul.
Currently, the agency has an average revenue turnover of $1,53,840 per annum. Moreover, Dad of Ad has 12 retainer clients and caters to other brands by providing project-based services like graphic designing, marketing, advertising, etc.
The agency is composed of a young team from diverse backgrounds. However, everyone has a holistic approach to creatively catering to the client’s requirements. This feeling of interconnectedness and explicability makes Dad of Ad stand out among the crowd.
What’s your backstory, and how did you come up with the idea?
Shamreen and Rumit have known each other for a long time. The former comes from a design background with around four years of experience and a creative mindset. Rumit, on the other hand, comes from an engineering background with four years of copywriting & marketing experience. Both have relevant experience working with various agencies, brand sites, and clients. Their keen interests in creativity, business, and marketing drove them into what they are doing today.
How both of them came up with the idea of Dad of Ad is quite interesting. Rumit met Shamreen at a party hosted by one of their mutual friends. Since everyone belonged to the same industry, the discussion topics were synonymous with what they had in their minds. One discussion led to another and what came out was a brilliant idea that led the duo into what they have become right now!
They are among those who can proudly say that great business ideas get coined over a can of beer. Both were spontaneous enough to decide at that time because, as legends say, you do what you say when you’re boozed!
Within no time, Shamreen and Rumit found themselves collaborating and buying a domain name. Eventually, they researched a bit more on the social media marketing field. As they already knew the gaps associated with it, they began filling the voids soon and came up with an efficient agency that caters to the best digital solutions.
2020 was the year that witnessed the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone was going through a tough time. It was a spontaneous and brave decision on Shamreen and Rumit’s part; they wanted to take the risk. Most businesses switched to online modes for selling their services during this time, and the duo took the opportunity to capture the market from their end. They were exploring financially and career-wise to create something and give a purpose to their lives.
There is no denying the fact that none of them was an expert, but they wanted to show that young people like them can start businesses and grow them further through proper planning and execution. Every day is a learning phase for them. It was not a one-shot success because both struggled in the initial phase and made mistakes too.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Initially, Dad of Ad catered to more design-centric needs, after which the agency started pitching ideas to prospects who understood its aim of providing social media marketing services. The team created a requirement there, and it eventually led to the onboarding of the esteemed clientele.
Team collaboration is important and that every member has something to bring to the table for planning and strategies.
The agency’s work started with getting the domain, creating a website, and then generating organic leads. Shamreen and Rumit did not want to opt for paid marketing and instead made a collaborative effort with other content and marketing companies they already knew - an affiliate marketing process.
One of the major challenges the founders faced was sourcing the right candidates and like-minded people who were envisioned and hungry for growth. They believe that the company will grow only if you have the right team to work for it. Shamreen and Rumit deliberately did not look for experienced people because they wanted to see the kind of knowledge and experience the freshers wanted to bring into the picture.
Describe the process of launching the business.
As mentioned earlier, Dad of Ad started in 2020 and initially catered to organic leads the founders already knew, essentially friends and family members. The agency looked after their design requirements because most had small businesses. It took them around 2-3 months to finally onboard retainer clients. The initial months were also a bit of a struggle for the team when they had multiple thoughts hovering around their minds regarding the business and its profitability.
Rumit and Shamreen recall that there was not a single day when they did not have work. Both of them understood the need to work on the digital front constantly, and even though they did not have many clients, it gave them time to work on themselves to grow the content and make a presence on all social media platforms.
The surprising fact about Dad of Ad is that the business was completely bootstrapped, and they did not get any funding from other sources. They had their share of experiences in building a brand online. Of course, it is a challenge in itself to start something fresh from scratch. But the founders had this ‘never give up attitude and kept them going. Not every day worked well for the agency, but the team thrived on doing better, and every lesson pushed them harder to achieve their goals. Even a minute setback was an eye-opener for the team members and taught them about where they needed improvisation.
Initially, Dad of Ad acquired their first client, an IT contractual staffing partner, and it worked both ways – B2B and B2C as their audience. It was very challenging for them as they were working with their first retainer client. Interestingly, the company was already in business but had zero digital presence. Initially, they were completely into offline marketing. The agency nurtured its online presence through effective social media marketing and enhanced its digital elements like SEO, performance marketing, etc.
Working with the first retainer client taught the agency a lot and gave the team an insight into the B2B market as a whole.
Dad of Ad had multiple B2C clients coming on board from various categories in the later months. The best part about the agency is that it does not have monotonous clients. They come from varied industries like sports, skin care, chemical manufacturing, venture capitalists, etc. All companies coming to the agency are at the initial stage of their journeys because they give the team a free hand in completing the tasks associated with social media marketing.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
If you are handling marketing for a particular brand, you become an extended arm of that company. The agency and the company need to be on the same page regarding whatever is effective in enhancing the business. If there is a communication gap, it could lead to multiple errors or discrepancies. So, here is something Dad of Ad is best at – understanding client requirements and working on them effectively.
We have a sales team to look after the client’s requirements and understand the brand’s objective, mindset, and approach. They can develop an entire plan and strategy and, of course, its execution. Proactively pitching them new ideas is something that we do where the strategists shift away from the existing plan, thus breaking monotony to inculcate more campaign ideas.
Customers and clients know what products they provide but do not understand how to express the same in words and promote them on a larger scale. It is where we come to their rescue and help them promote their products and services across all platforms.
We use moment marketing, a technique that is growing at a higher pace, and a lot of brands are inclining towards it. Brands usually want to use the technique because it gives them the relevancy to discuss current trends while linking them to their original products. Dad of Ad is among those agencies that have efficiently delivered moment marketing.
Another thing that we introduced is moving away from the traditional approaches. It means we set new goals for the clients and give them an estimate of the numbers to be achieved in the coming months. The numbers we provide to the clients are based on the brand’s current presence, analysis, and market research.
When we talk about the traditional approach involves clients who were uncertain about what they were looking at without having any specific goal. The client tells you what they want, after which the team members begin their work. Dad of Ad differs from this perspective because the agency adds targets and goals yearly or quarterly to provide efficient results.
The process makes the agency more reliable in front of the client.
Breaking away from the monotony and becoming a modern brand is what Dad of Ad initiated from its end. When strategies and plans work, you can give the correct numbers to the clients, ultimately building their trust.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Dad of Ad initially started as a team of three members – Rumit, Shamreen, and a brand strategist who happened to be a fresh graduate. Team management was a big challenge for the founders, including making the strategist understand the tasks and how to complete them.
However, every time the agency jumped the bar, the team faced challenges, learned new lessons, and grew better. Because it was a diverse team, they learned that team collaboration is important and that every member has something to bring to the table for planning and strategies.
The team second learned about the strategies for pitching ideas to the client. Initially, the team used to create an entire in-depth pitch deck that included their positioning, market research, analysis, approaches, key communications around the marketing strategies, execution, and the roadmap that the agency envisions for further growth.
The pitch included a 6-month strategy that the agency gave our clients for free – it was the team’s distinction factor concerning the competition with other creative market agencies. But everything has its pros and cons.
It is because one of the clients unethically used the agency’s key communication strategies and executed the stolen ideas on their end without giving dues. It taught the team that they should not do anything without signing prior agreements. The team understood the significance of getting the clients on board and then doing the pitching to ensure a safe and secure way on both ends. The above strategy has worked well for the agency to date.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We use multiple reliable tools for our business, including Hootsuite for scheduling, Freepik for collecting relevant images, Grammarly for corrections, Copyscape for plagiarism analysis, Creator Studio for social media management, and Zoho for communication.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
The entire team of Dad of Ad includes young members, which means all of them are learners. If there is a lack of understanding at some point or anyone is not well-versed in a particular topic, they always have the curiosity to dig deeper and learn it.
The main resources that inspired and helped the agency’s business growth were Google and YouTube.
Rumit mentions a book named How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company by a renowned entrepreneur named Mr. Varun Agarwal. It depicts the entire entrepreneurial mindset of Indians and how everyone needs to have a vision and break away from the regular rat race. You must do what you love doing.
We must remember that no business idea is useless or too small. Everything that you are passionate about can be transformed into a money-making business.
Shamreen has been a major Harry Potter fan since childhood and was more inclined toward the fictional world. That was one of the reasons she chose the field of creativity, which works on the idea that everything in your imagination can become a reality.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Rumit says, “You must always remember that consistency is the key. It may sound very cliché but having a brilliant idea and not putting it into execution is the biggest mistake you will ever make in your life. It would help if you learned from your failures. You never know if it works out or not until and unless you do it.” He further says, “Many people shy away from hard work. Never try finding shortcuts because hard work must go into every plan and execution. Smart work and hard work should go parallelly.”
Shamreen, on the other hand, says, “You are never knowledgeable enough in your life. However, the day you think that you know everything is when your downfall starts because it marks the time when you become a rigid person.”
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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