"It feels like yesterday."Cliche, but sums up perfectly.The day I left a corporate career for good, is still very vivid for me. That eventful evening in 2011, I returned home from work, just like any other day. As I lay resting on the sofa, 'gingerly' wondering how tomorrow would be, my daughter came around and asked me in a puzzling tone, "Papa, how come you are so early today?"My daughter was about five and a half years then.I replied, "I won't be going to office anymore. I will work from home for a while before going to an office again. Are you ok with that?""Papa, you can always use my room as your office," she said.Could I have asked for a better start?And since then I have been fortunate to get the support and encouragement from family, friends, team members, prospects, customers and everybody else that I have missed out mentioning. Thank you.

What's good?

Inbound Marketing continues to grow in India. 2017-2018 has seen a number of inbound marketing agencies spring up in India. SMBs always had an affinity for inbound marketing given lower investment. Lately, enterprise companies in India have also shown a shift, primarily driven by the need to grow.HubSpot is playing its part too, in developing the market. Not only HubSpot turned profitable in 2018, it is also evolving into a larger marketing sales service platform than just a mere inbound marketing software. It remains to be seen if HubSpot's vision for the platform is to go beyond Salesforce.com? That will make things really interesting.Growing SaaS companies continue to seek us out, to grow with inbound marketing. Inbound Mantra continues to see enough potential in serving such companies with a focus on the US market - the world's largest when it comes to software. With a large body of work to showcase in SaaS, we are now confidently pitching our engagement model of performance. The performance model moves away from the fixed retainer, giving more value to the client and scale to us. Not just SaaS, we continue to consider and take up 'interesting' assignments. The most recent that we are currently exploring happens to be an ICO for an AI based beauty app. We are still grappling to understand the business. Nevertheless, we are steadfast about Inbound Mantra's ROI value prop. ROI and performance continues to drive all our assignments. And the idea is to continue to get better with it.All this hard work seems to be paying off. HubSpot has invited my colleague Charudhi to speak at INBOUND 2018 to share how Inbound Mantra enchants its clients.

What has to improve?

Pricing

Pricing inbound marketing services always has been a problem.India, unfortunately, implies low cost. Ironically, inbound marketing isn't as straightforward as outsourced telecalling. It is strategic. And I don't understand how strategy can be discounted?Our fellow inbound marketing agencies in India are just beginning to realize this. Till then pricing will continue to suffer from both the sides - demand and supply. We are seeing more of that in 2018.

Talent

The US has more than 1,000 inbound marketing agencies. India has one-hundredth the number.

Back to the Future?

If you are into marketing, sales and technology, it is impossible not to be excited. At the same time, it is daunting as well. To do anything new is fraught with risk and uncertainty. It tests us. Inbound Mantra is up for the test.My colleague Jaskaran is leading Inbound Mantra's charge into machine learning. We have developed 2 successful solutions in the SaaS space. But, what is truly exciting is India's domestic insurance market? Especially, online term insurance.Ishita has recently come onboard to build 'People'. I am personally very excited about this. We will be making attempts to experiment with remote teams, inspired by the success of companies such as HotJar, Zapier, Buffer, Basecamp and SmartBug, to name a few. It will be a very tough test.As always, wish us luck!!!