Vinay Hankare is a man of multiple talents but who believes in a single thing – online businesses and marketing is the future staring us in our faces. It is this belief that he wants to instill in every person who comes in contact with him. Despite beginning his work life as a typical door-to-door salesman, Vinay has made a name for himself with his online marketing business. He has also made his debut in Bollywood and has won an award already. He calls himself a “Digital Marketing Nerd” who wants to teach the benefits of online business to everyone. From Philip Kotler to Sandeep Maheshwari, he considers a couple of marketing geniuses and motivational speakers as his mentors.
In this interview, Vinay speaks about his journey so far and what his plans are for the future –
Q 1 – Tell us about your journey so far/How have your professional and personal journeys been so far?
Ans – I began my professional journey as a door-to-door salesman. My job was to sell internet packages in the Mira Road area of Mumbai. While I was doing that, I got an opportunity to meet Mr. Vipin Tiwari, Founder of the Tilak Enterprises. After I came in contact with him, he taught me the ins and outs of marketing, product management and business margin. Once I started learning the nitty-gritties of Indian business sector, I decided that I wanted to get into the middle of it and I began to work on making my basic knowledge stronger. To do that, I watched YouTube tutorials about basics of business. That experience also brought me closer to another of my indirect mentors in life, Mr. Sandeep Maheshwari. In that video, he talked about noted marketing author Philip Kotler’s book on Marketing Management. While Sandeep was talking about how that book changed his life, I realized that it had changed my life too. I began reading articles written by Kotler as well as another marketing genius, Seth Godin.
All that experience prepared me for my life ahead as a digital marketer. Today, I am so confident about digital marketing business that I can scale any online business easily. One of my biggest achievements of that time is the “6 figures in 10 days Challenge”, where I started a new website and scaled it to 6-figures, recording everything live for Instagram. That inspired me to look for challenges in everything that I do.
Q 2 – What inspired you to do what you are doing right now? *
Ans –I grew up in a lower middle-class family and a lower, middle-class neighborhood. I have washed cars and bikes for as little as Rs. 10. However, I clearly remember that I always wanted to change my situation in life and I was also willing to work hard to achieve that. Once I was introduced to the digital revolution, I knew that this was my chance to sink my teeth into this business. Inspired by the revolution that was happening around me, I started watching digital marketing, branding and business tutorials online and, at the same time, I also started my online business. Though, I started 6 online businesses during that time and all of those failed one by one, but I focused on the take-away, which was the lessons that I learnt from my successive failures.
Q 3 – What is your current perception about the market situation? *
Ans –Today, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, people may be feeling disheartened due to the distress that is everywhere. However, it is also time to prepare ourselves ahead for the future as the situation will definitely be improved in a matter of a few months. As for the market, it isn’t shut, it just went online, if you look at the growth in online business during these past 9 months. The blessing in disguise has been that people running a brick-and-mortar business are finally realizing that they can take it online as well. In fact, I would even say that this is the perfect time to go online with your business and marketing needs because 2021 is all going to be about online. If you are still not a part of the online business, you should think seriously about it. Otherwise, you will lose big time.
Q 4 – Why is your product/service unique/What is your USP? *
Ans –The fact that I started my career with a sales and marketing job, right on the road, helped me understand what most people running businesses don’t seem to understand – consumer behaviour and buying pattern. In my opinion, knowing your customer is the most important knowledge to have in your kitty before you put out a product in the market. Knowing your target audience is the first and the foremost step in media planning. Since I also operate a grocery store in the Borivali area in Mumbai, I am in touch with a lot of “Baniya” families on a daily basis. That interaction has taught me the value of 0.50 paise and minimum margins in business.
Q 5 – What is your Vision/Mission/Objective? *
Ans –I really want to mentor students who end up joining online courses that are not up to the mark. I want them to gain a clear understanding of marketing and doing business before half-baked courses end up shattering their confidence in themselves. I also want to help owners of failed businesses to take another shot at this game called business, with the help of online marketing.
Q 6 – What is your academic background/Qualification? *
Ans – I am a graduate from the prestigious Elphinstone College, Mumbai. I passed from there in 2014.
Q 7 – Any awards/recognition you have received so far? *
Ans –I’ve won the “Best Cinematography” award for short film and film editing in Bollywood.
Q 8 – What are your future plans for the company? *
Ans – I want to become a household name among students and business owners who are keen to explore the real side of digital marketing.
Q 9 – What is your current target audience? Where are you located? *
Ans –I live in Borivali, Mumbai and my current target audience remains students keen to indulge in online marketing and pan-India business owners looking to benefit from the vibrant field of digital/online marketing.
Q 10 – What would be your advice for young entrepreneurs/new start-ups in this field? *
Ans – I want every student/business owner interested in new start-ups to understand the basics of marketing. A good place to start would be books and articles written by Philip Kotler and Seth Godin.
Q 11 – Have you raised any funding yet? If not then are you looking for funding in the near future?
Ans – Instead of going out there, looking for investment, I believe in making my brand stronger and wait, until the investors need me!
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