Zen Master of Marketing – Shama Hyder

Branded as the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by Fast Company,  Shama Hyder  is an idealistic strategist for the digital age. She is an acclaimed international keynote speaker who has been invited to share the speaking stage with the world’s top leaders such as President Obama and Dalai Lama.

Kabani, 27 year old online prodigy describes herself as an ‘academic at heart’. She’s the CEO of the award–winning The Marketing Zen Group and has led the company through massive growth averaging 400% growth annually since its start in 2009.

To see how she arrived at that point, it serves to know where she originated from. Around 18 years back, Kabani moved from Bangalore, India, where she had been surrounded by family, to Dallas, where she was given the responsibility of her younger sister while her dad drove a taxicab and her mom worked at a dry cleaning company. She exceeded expectations in school however realized that in the event that she needed to set off for college, paying for it was dependent upon her. So she applied for and won the greatest number of grants as she could, including ones many students don’t bother applying for such as the Rotary Club and the Women’s Historical Society. In the end, all her hard work paid off and she was able to cover the entire cost of attending the University of Texas at Austin.

Valid to her era, Shama Hyder has been saturated with social networking for a considerable length of time. She did her master’s thesis on Twitter and she’s an old hat at blogging. The main issue was, the point at which she graduated in 2008, thinking her specialization would serve her well in “front line” counseling firms like McKinsey and Bain, she found the corporate world wasn’t exactly prepared to consider social media important.

So she did what any savvy hustler would do – she started her own startup. It started with $1,500 of her own money and an online marketing blog that offered how-to advice for small businesses. But she started getting more sales for exhortation and for talking engagements – so many that she couldn’t handle everything herself. Just a few months into her consulting business, she assembled a team to help her. By the end of the year, she decided to turn the consulting business into a full-fledged digital agency that could implement the strategies that up until then she only had talked about. The decision paid off: Marketing Zen now counts among its clients Haggar Clothing Co. and the Dallas YMCA, and the company turns down more offers than it accepts. In 2012, Kabani accepted an award for one of Empact’s top 100 companies started by youthful business people in a function at the White House.

Typically, the way you build a digital marketing agency is to begin at a large company, build up a rolodex of contacts, and then start your own firm by taking all of those contacts with you, says Aziz Gilani, a director at Mercury Fund, a VC firm in Houston. “Shama didn’t do that–she built the whole thing from scratch,” he says. “Talk about confidence in yourself.”

To create her validity in the field, she wrote The Marketing Zen Group, which was one of the first comprehensive best-selling guides on the market. She has never raised funding and has always fueled growth with the business’s revenue. And she’s focused on running her 30 person group remotely: Representatives are found in, among different spots, Dallas, Austin, San Diego, Washington, DC, even Argentina. She says not only does it keep the overhead low but it also brings a cultural diversity.

Tasnuba Sinha

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