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An Interview With Amit Duggal – AVP, Digital & Mobility at Omnicom Media Group

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Amit DuggalAmit Duggal is an ardent digital marketer with an overall experience of 13 years. He started his career in conventional offline agency where he worked in the client servicing department. Post that, he worked in companies like Indiatimes.com, Travelguru.com, Geodesic in the digital marketing department, driving performance marketing for them with a single mind agenda of acquiring customers at bear minimum cost through SEM, Affiliate marketing, SEO and  Display marketing.

Last couple of years, he has been with different agencies like, Mindshare leading Pepsico digital practice. This was followed by Madison where he was responsible for P&L, new business and growing existing business for North and South India across digital paid, owned, earned platforms for clients like Airtel (Brand and Performance business), ITC- PCPB, ITC Hotels, ITC Kitchens of India, ITC lifestyle, Dish TV, Max corporate, TVS, Yatra.com, Adventure nation.

One high point in his last stint was handling the national election campaign for BJP (the ruling national party in the country). The role entailed around strategizing to create digital content and distribution across digital medium/platforms.

Currently, he is working with OMG (Omnicom Media Group) and leading the digital practice set up for North India.

How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?

Amit: My entry into Digital marketing was not by choice but was but was destined and today I cherish it as the one of the best thing in my career. My first stint in marketing was with Times Internet way back in 2005. Being a part of the marketing team, my role involved brand led exercise from traditional medium. But I was fortunate that my superior had different expectations from this profile and was asked to handle digital marketing also. And I still thank him for exposing me into digital marketing.

According to you, what are the advantages of conventional marketing over Digital Marketing? Do you think that Digital Marketing is a threat to the future of conventional marketing?

Amit: Every medium has its own merit. It depends what life stage the product / brand is in. I have seen some brands who have thrived only through digital medium. But a stage comes when you need to reach to masses. And for that a brand needs to go for conventional medium- TV/ Print. Without mincing any words, I have seen whenever a brand runs a conventional marketing campaign there has been a spurt in terms of deliverables / performance be it sales / leads / brand uplift etc. Digital is still not as mass as compared to Print / TV.

Yes, Digital for sure a threat for conventional marketing, if you look at it we have overtaken radio already in terms of choice of media vehicles. With players like Star / Sony making digital at the heart of the product offering and more and more time being spent on digital platforms. The reach which was delivered through offline medium, will be delivered through online as well. I don’t think any other conventional mode of advertising come close to Digital in terms of deliverables / engagement. So they should be scared not us.

Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?

Amit: 

  • KKT: Kan khajura Tesan: It’s one of the best digital campaigns done by India. The idea was to reach out to media dark places. The challenge is there is no electricity in these areas, so the so called conventional mediums can’t reach there. So to reach this TG, a new media was created. A mobile radio station was created keeping in mind the penetration of mobile. India is called a “missed call” country. This insight was further used to popularize one single number which users can call/ hang up and get a call back from central number and get connected to entertainment channel of KKT. The simplicity of the idea makes it very special.
  • Amazon  Aur dikhao: I feel Amazon really played well by hitting the right sentiment.Indian consumer loves to be spoilt for choice and prefers to check out more options before finally making a purchase decision, that’s why they rolled out #AurDikhao, a digital campaign powered by a two-minute film and loads of social media conversations asking popular folks to show more from what they’d already had. They leveraged IPL8, the ecommerce brand also launched the #aurdikhao contest asking users to tweet what they would like to see more of in this IPL.
  • Crash the IPL: During IPL8, Pepsi launched a rather disruptive crowdsourcing campaign on social media titled ‘Crash the Pepsi IPL’. This is one of the best UGC campaigns which I have seen and it was deeply integrated offline and online. The contest invited fans to make a 30-second commercial showing their love for Pepsi, and the gratification involved the best ads would be aired during the IPL matches and a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?

Amit: 

  • Lack of objective: There is a huge disconnect / lack of clarity in terms of what the brands want digital to deliver.
  • Lack of technology: None of the brands invests in technology especially in terms of analytics. Due to which eventually marketers struggle to understand their audience and lack of audience understanding acts as a challenge for successful marketing execution.
  • Lack of patience:Digital being measurable acts like a double edge sword. But this medium requires time from brand to see optimal result which is lacking in most of the cases and instead hopes for immediate result as it’s a highly measurable. But if given required time the learning’s and outcomes can be used intelligently eventually to drive optimal result
Between Agencies and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?

Amit: I have seen a lot of brands, especially dot com businesses, don’t outsource pure performance business to an agency. And the reason is clear they don’t want dependency on external partners. For an in-house team they can predict the sentiment / dynamics immediately and can perform an action immediately. The in-house team is only gunning for CPA nothing else.

While agencies can deliver the same, the advantage they bring on the table is the latest trends and how they can help uplift the brand image through non-performance means.

I strongly believe that an agency can bring (Content, brand conversation, innovation, IOT) a lot more value to brands as compared to in-house team.

Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?

Amit: 

  • Analytics- Google / Webtrends / Omniture / Apps flyer
  • Social media listening tools
  • Comscore
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?

Amit: 

  • For Entrepreneurs: If you are an Entrepreneur and planning to start your business. The first and the only medium which you need to rely is Digital marketing. Digital marketing will let you decide your CPA, create benchmarks, let you know who your audience is, where are they coming from, where are they existing, how much time they are spending, where are they spending. This will be required when you plan to grow at exponential pace. My tip to entrepreneurs clearly define the objective of digital marketing and use the right medium – Eg- SEM / App installs or registrations/ ASO / SEO / Display/ Social media / Native / Programmatic and Content
  • For Professionals: I think its high time marketing professionals should learn digital marketing. Most of the brand guys still compares Digital to offline / conventional medium. The biggest problem is the “so-called benchmarks” of offline medium be it X GRP’s @ Y CPRP will move my needle of brand metrics. The never–ending discussion of SOV and what is the competition spend level?  The challenge of Digital is that there isn’t yet a sophisticated enough single source available for this kind of data point It is fairly difficult as well because of the wide variety of platforms such as search which doesn’t talk to display or to mobile or to social etc. I think it’s high time they should invest time and understand the nitty-gritty of the medium and instead of asking the same stuff, should take punt on digital and do some innovative stuff by gamifying the brands. Use digital as a content medium to engage and disseminate the message.
  • For Students: Digital marketing is one of the hottest sectors currently. With upswing in Ecom and smartphones there are a lot of jobs in this sector. Expert claimsDigital marketing to create 1.5 lakh jobs by 2016 Reference: http://www.worldtidings.com/1-5-million-jobs-in-digital-marketing-initial-salary-of-rs-4-5-5-5-lakh and /http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/jobs/Digital-marketing-to-create-1-5-lakh-jobs-by-2016-Experts/articleshow/40198077.cms
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?

Amit: 

  • Intent to learn
  • Business logic
  • Confidence
  • Self-motivated
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?

Amit: 

  • First step- Read as much as you can on Digital marketing. Read blogs/ visit websites etc.
  • Second step- Identify a good course and learn the theoretical knowledge around digital marketing
  • Third step – choose to become a specialist or generalists. A specialist will create a niche and focus on one platform, eg mobile specialist, social media content or paid media specialists, SEM /PPC specialists etc or a generalists who wants to master in all these…
  • Fourth step- look for an internship. Practical knowledge is the best knowledge gained. Sweat it hard and focus on your vision.
How do you stay updated on the latest trends in Digital Marketing? Which are the Digital Marketing resources (i.e. blogs/websites/apps) you visit regularly?

Amit: 

  • Twitter
  • Techcrunch
  • Mashable
  • Smart insights
  • Ad age
  • VC circle
  • Economic times
  • Mint
  • Digital Buzz blog
  • Brand republic
  • Nextbigwhat
  • And list goes on….
Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.

Amit: 

  • Sanjeev Bikhchandani (founder & exec vice-chairman), Info Edge Ltd.
  • Jack Ma – Ali Baba
  • Vijay Shekar Sharma (one 97 communication / Paytm)
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?

Amit: 

  • Personalization (Content and Context)
  • Virtual reality
  • Wearables / IOT
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?

Amit: 

Digital Vidya has been a true visionary company. It has been driving digital agenda for last 5- 6 years. I must compliment the company and the founders in believing digital as a medium and created a place where people can come and learn more about holistic digital marketing. Over and above this, the kind of infrastructure and faculties associated have been top-notch, which has resulted Digital Vidya as a synonym for Digital marketing training in India.

Are you inspired by the opportunity of Digital Marketing? Start your journey by attending our upcoming orientation session on Digital Marketing for Career & Business Growth. It’s online and Free :).

[Sr. Associate - Content Marketing] A content passionate, Jasleen handles the content writing and marketing activities. Additionally, she leads Digital Marketing Internship Programme. Her deep passion and enthusiasm for writing guided her towards being the Associate Editor in English for her college magazine. Only deep passion and zeal can guide a person towards a professional writing career. Apparently, Jasleen is one of those persons. She is in the content writing and marketing fraternity for 5 years now. A top-notch individual, she is proficient in writing content for multiple requirements including blogs, articles, books, brochures and social media. She embraces practical knowledge of WordPress CMS. Besides this, she is also highly engaging in Social Media Marketing activities.
  • Digital-Marketing


  • There are 2 comments


    • 2 years ago

      Mansi Shukla   /   Reply

      Interesting read!

    • 1 year ago

      Jasleen Kaur   /   Reply

      Thanks Amit for your contribution to our community through this interview. Really happy to know your feedback about the work we are doing in spreading digital (marketing) vidya :).

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