Thought Leadership - Amit Apte: Co-founder, COO & CMO, MarkSpace Media
It is said that in many crises, an opportunity is found- COVID 19
Amit Apte shares valuable insights on how MarkSpace Media survived, sustained, and overcame the pandemic blues.
The gravity of high team morale and togetherness was witnessed throughout the pandemic; experienced employees coupled with the latest technology were the driving force for overcoming this atmosphere.
1. How has MarkSpace Media muddled along amidst the pandemic?
Saying it like it is, MarkSpace Media like zillion others out there, had its share of growing pains when COVID-19 struck. As unforeseen as this Pandemic & its global impact was, though brief, but there was a phase when we skirmished to get back on our feet. But what’s important is that WE DID! We adapted soon enough and took the necessary measures. Right through the pandemic, we almost never stopped functioning. From greater utilization metrics to leaner task scheduling, remote management of workforce, better cost management, effective customer outreach & robust sanitization norms in place, we were not just back at work but also, back in the market, looking for more talent; all within 60 days of lockdown!
2. Amongst the recent development in the marketing approach, which do you believe will stick with us long after the pandemic is decamped?
Virtual and remote marketing have been around for the last decade or so but what this pandemic served us was; a great lesson of being adaptable to change and to expect the unexpected and prepare accordingly. In the times ahead, I believe there will be a great degree of emphasis on using technology to not just facilitate but amplify marketing outreach and woo target audiences. With the New Normal, the possibilities of the New Abnormal have surfaced. Climate Change & Global Warming have been around for a while now & in times to come, they have potential to trigger unfavorable living conditions. Our lifestyle choices coupled with inadequate healthcare preparedness further expose us to epidemics & pandemics! So, Adaptability, Innovation, Preparedness & Coexistence play a dominant role in the days ahead!
3. How did you initially react to the pandemic, and what has changed over the passage of time?
The New Normal is what caught the buzz around May or June 2020, but what came first was the New Abnormal! The world as we know it, wasn’t ready for what it got thrown into. Though mankind had experienced a massive health crisis and millions of casualties during the Spanish Flu in the early 1900’s, over the last century, I guess we made the mistake of taking things for granted! The initial weeks were truly a test of resilience, grit and resolve, but being the only adaptable creatures around, the world soon began drawing alternatives. Organizations around the world got their BCP’s into play; the ones who did not have any, created them, for they had nowhere else to go!
4. With a workforce of over 200, how have you managed to keep everyone aligned whilst maintaining high morale?
I believe every single experience, good or bad, comes with great degree of learning. There is a lesson to be derived out of every small or big event or moment. As I said, apart from the initial skirmish, our leaders and managers quickly engaged and mobilized their respective teams and set new expectations. Times were such that we had to ideate. Hours were spent in deliberations & discussions on Zoom & Google Meet to get ready for the New Normal. Keeping the workforce together, engaging with them, conducting remote meetings & huddles became the norm. It took about a week of sleep deprivation to get on top of the game.
5. Has the pandemic introduced changes to the way clients communicate with your organization?
Yes and No. We have always interfaced with our clientele remotely apart from the occasional visits to each other’s office/ s. We continue to do so today too. Using Skype, email, phone, etc.
The flip side is that the Pandemic has made humans more human. We now see ourselves looking out for each other. A personal connect has developed. There is now a feeling of concern; not just for the professionals we deal with, but also for their families & dear ones. There is warmth in our conversation’s openers & closures 😉
6. As quoted in a popular American fantasy drama television, "Chaos is a ladder," do you believe this pandemic rather presented you with numerous opportunities?
Off course, it has! I’d in-fact go on to say that this pandemic has been one of the greatest teachers in recent history! An eye-opener of sorts, the pandemic has shown the world the difference between ‘What Is’ & ‘What Should Be’! In terms of opportunity, this event opens doors for innovation, adaptation, transition, revolution & a great degree of introspection. And these opportunities rightly capitalized, will lead to path-breaking outcomes, not just commercially, but personally too.
7. This pandemic has either helped everyone to retrospect their choices or to discover a new world. What has this pandemic taught you, which you can implement throughout your life?
Off the many lessons learnt, if I were to pick one or two best, I think this pandemic has reinstated my belief that “Nothing Can Ever be Taken for Granted” and “The Only Permanent Thing in Life, is Change”!
8. How tough has it been to maintain a healthy work-life balance amidst Covid-19?
COVID-19 or NO COVID-19, I believe the best way to maintain a robust work-life balance is to stay grounded & calm, not just temporarily but making it a way of life. To maintain good mental and physical health and prioritize effectively. I always endeavor to keep both my worlds individual of each other. Given the chain of events in the last two quarters this year, it has been taxing but that hasn’t stopped me from eating right, hitting the road for early-morning runs & dedicating a certain time-slot for my family which is undoubtedly, my biggest support system!
9. Would you like to give some special advice to our aspiring entrepreneurs?
I wouldn’t like to sound like a Guru handing out advice, because I am not one. What I’d instead do is tell you what worked for me. Though there isn’t really a textbook formula for success, there are certain things that tend to work for almost everybody:
Believe in Yourself! If you do not, nobody else will. | Every individual is unique in his/ her own way; Identify your strongholds and hone those skills, such that you become unbeatable at them. | No matter how hopeless the situation, Hang-In There! Life is a package-deal where you don’t get to choose what goes inside that package. When Good Times Don’t Stay, Bad Times Never Will! You just must Stay Strong and Keep Moving. | Dream Big! Imagine yourself to be where you want to be. When you live that dream, your system will start working towards getting you there. | Be Kind & Humble. Have Gratitude for everything that you have and share it with people who aren’t that fortunate!
10. If you had to pick a positive moment from this rollercoaster of a year? Which would it be, and why?
For me, the most positive moment of this year is that I got to learn so much from a tiny little virus! The only regret is that I can’t see it, for me to go shake hands and say Thank You Sir!