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An Interview With – Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran, Marketing Leader and Digital Evangelist

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Dr. Vikram

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran started his career as a dental surgeon, ran a dental practice for 5 years and then took a plunge into management and post his MBA has been working with multinationals leading marketing function. Vikram who is based out of Bangalore feels that digital has gained importance in recent years as most customers have turned to digital for information, content, data and entertainment.

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

Vikram: In 2008 -2009 during the recession I saw the importance of digital platforms. It was much more cost effective and the reach and range was extensive. In those days focus was mostly on website, email marketing and running webinars. By 2010 we had Social Media take centre stage with platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, You Tube and Facebook extensively used for marketing. Today it is a combination of various digital and social platforms with a focus on customer experience.

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?

Vikram: I don’t see both differently, rather both of them are complementary and should be used to build synergies both for Brand Development as well as for Demand Generation. If we look at a customer buying journey the touch points would weave a course across both digital and conventional marketing channels. Digital is considered a disruptive force but in marketing it has brought about a convergence, where if used wisely we would have a lot of insights on our industry and customers than ever before. Having said that Digital has been more cost effective and as digital adoption increases I would see more marketing budgets shifting to digital platforms

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

Vikram: 

  • L’oreal- Make Up Genius: Great example of mapping the buyer journey, with good interactions across touch points
  • Govt. of India- Digital India: One of the best planned campaigns with good engagement and public material and a great website
  • Johnson & Johnson- Baby Center: Great example of creating engagement among the prospect base through user generated content
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?

Vikram: 

    • Making Digital Marketing decisions based on Technology: Lose focus on business priorities
    • Treat Digital Marketing as a separate arm of marketing: Lose consistency and integrated messaging across the marketing messaging and call to action
    • Business and Marketing disconnect: Lose Credibility as customers don’t get the experience from the product or service as promised by the marketing messages
Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?

Vikram: Both have their advantages. Agencies often attract very creative people and also they are able to cross leverage their experience across various customers. In House teams are very well versed with the brand guidelines and the organizational philosophy and are able to support teams much better as they are more integrated. An integrated approach having a mix of in house and empaneled agency would work best, giving depth and flexibility at the same time.

Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?

Vikram: 

  1. For Enterprise- Unica- Great for campaign management , Eloqua- , Radian 6 – Integrated with Social Intelligence for Social media
  2. For smaller organizations and individuals- Hubspot- Campaign Management, Socedo- Social Media Management, Little Bird- Influencer Marketing
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?

Vikram: 

  • For Entrepreneurs: Customers have moved to digital
  • For Professionals: Need to learn, unlearn and relearn continuously as Digital strategies and technologies evolve constantly
  • For Students: Very important especially if they seek employment in marketing departments of organizations
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?

Vikram: 

  1. Good understanding of marketing fundamentals- 4Ps
  2. Comfortable with technology
  3. Not afraid to experiment
  4. Good Instincts on the market and consumers
  5. Great sense of observation
  6. Discipline
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?

Vikram: 

  1. Focus on fundamentals of marketing,
  2. Be comfortable with technology
  3. Re ready to fail, learn from that and get going again
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?

Vikram: 

  1. Harvard Business Review Managing- A must read for anyone in Management and Marketing
  2. Knowledge@Wharton Newsletter
  3. McKinsey Quarterly Newsletter
  4. Hubspot
  5. BBC Podcasts
  6. Social Media Today
  7. Digital Vidya
Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.

Vikram: 

  1. George Westerman- Principal Research Scientist – MIT
  2. Guy Kawasaki- Evangelist
  3. Seth Godin- Marketing Guru
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?

Vikram: 

  1. Customer Experience would be a major driver
  2. Cool will be replaced by measurable practical investments
  3. Digital Media would be device agnostic but would still be platform dependent
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?

Vikram: 

I think Digital Vidya is doing an important work in the area of Digital Education. Many marketing professionals need constant information and additional learning as the industry evolves. Also many traditional industries are just getting into Digital and the marketing professionals supporting these industries would need a lot of new coaching in Digital. Finally students coming out of educational institutions seriously do benefit from this form of education.

Online courses with the flexibility of taking them from anywhere and anytime is a must have today and I think Digital Vidya fulfils that need with good quality content.

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.
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  • There are 3 comments


    • 2 years ago

      Ashish Jain   /   Reply

      Great interview! very helpful insights. Digital marketing is really the demand of present time and digital marketing can not succeed with proper plan and consistency. Thanks for these helpful tips!

      • 2 years ago

        Dr Vikram   /   Reply

        Thank you Ashish for your kind words. I think the strategy and planning is the most important step for digital implementation. Organizations that have been diligent about planning have reaped great rewards. Also Digital needs to map the business benefits otherwise it is easy to lose track focusing on technology.

    • 1 year ago

      Jasleen Kaur   /   Reply

      Thanks Vikram 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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