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An Interview With – Paroma Sen, Head Marketing, NDTV Ethnic (IndianRoots.com)

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Paroma SenParoma Sen is a technology marketing professional, and has built her career from product marketing of technology products to consumer facing marketing including digital and traditional forms of marketing. Digital marketing currently forms a crucial part of her channel strategy because of its reach and measurability.

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

Paroma: I got into Digital Marketing early on in my career with website content management, search engine keyword identification for my portfolio of audio products, and social media engagement with consumers. My interest in digital marketing stemmed from the technical yet intuitive nature of the platforms involved, as well as the scope in getting in front of consumers’ eyeballs across the length and breadth of your target market.

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?

Paroma: In today’s world it is unnecessary to demarcate conventional and digital marketing. A marketer has various tools and channels at his disposal, and has to pick the right marketing mix to get his messaging across to the target consumer. This usually involves a mix of traditional as well as digital marketing, depending on who you want to reach.

The advantages of conventional marketing are very apparent in India, since television and newspapers still reach the largest section of the country. Outside India, non-digital marketing has taken on some very non-traditional expressions that are innovative and exciting.

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

Paroma: One of my favorite digital marketing examples is the Nike Windbreaker Youtube video that was one of the first to achieve reach without media spend – in other words, it defined the mechanism known as ‘virality’ today.

There are also several examples of cause marketing that have been successfully executed over social media and have therefore become landmarks in the business.

According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?

Paroma: The biggest mistake committed by organizations is in their expectations from digital marketing. Organizations that do not fully understand digital marketing expect that results from digital scale linearly with budgets, and they fail to realize the cross-channel influences that come into play. Frequently therefore, you hear people stating that a certain digital channel can be dispensed with, without taking into account that each digital channel has a long tail influence on others. This is a common fallacy.

Another mistake that is alarmingly common is in the inherent confusion between engagement and conversion oriented platforms. Organizations make the mistake of expecting social media followers to convert purely on the basis of posts, and they fail to realize that the reason consumers spend time with brands on social media is a combination of discovery, engagement, review, recommendation and action – which is very different from a non-social digital channel.

Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?

Paroma:  There is no black and white answer to this question. The answer to this depends on the lifecycle stage of the brand in question. For a startup, it makes sense to have a lean in-house team and leverage expertise from outsourced agencies. As the company grows, it is imperative to bring some of the learnings in house and develop internal talent to address the company’s growing needs. For an e-commerce company, marketing has to be treated as a core competence, so a fully grown company in the mature lifecycle stage should ideally have a completely in-house marketing team for digital.

Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?

Paroma: 

  • Analytics
  • Campaign management dashboards
  • Integrated solutions that allow omnichannel marketing and customer journeys informed by analytics
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?

Paroma: 

  • For Entrepreneurs: Because this is the best platform to market test your idea, do quick marketing pilots and understand the breadth of application of your solution
  • For Professionals: Because digital marketing is here to stay, and you cannot become a comprehensive marketer without adding digital to your portfolio of skills
  • For Students: Because digital marketing affords well-paying careers, with scope for learning & growth
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?

Paroma: 

  • Openness to experiment
  • Analytical mindset
  • Creativity
  • Desire to learn
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?

Paroma: Learn as much as you can. Learn by doing. Wherever possible, do an internship if you are unsure of your own aptitude, or which sector can afford you maximum gratification for your potential. Always try to do something new with every career move, so that you never put a cap on your learning.

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?

Paroma:  Constant reading, and staying in touch with my network. A few publications I like to read are Fast Company and Seth Godin’s blog. But there are many more, too many to list.

Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.

Paroma: 

  • Seth Godin
  • Marissa Mayer
  • Guy Kawasaki
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?

Paroma: Digital media will evolve with the evolution of what we perceive as screens. With the oncoming of Internet of Things, we are going to be surrounded by screens everywhere, with every surface being a potential screen, and therefore a potential way of reaching your target customer.

In addition, with the onslaught of messaging this seems to project, what will become increasingly important is the relevance of the communication – in other words, showing a customer a marketing message (even when they are not expecting it) may be alright if the message is relevant to their current needs.

Finally, another trend I expect is the amalgamation of information at the source which will enable marketers to deliver relevant and personalized communications in a timely manner – an end-to-end marketing tool that goes beyond categorizing customers by their demographics or location, and enables brands to reach out in a more meaningful manner.

Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?

Paroma: 

I think Digital Vidya is doing a great job of educating the community on digital marketing, albeit in a bottoms-up manner. However, the gap in knowledge about digital marketing is more marked in the upper echelons of organizations today, and Digital Vidya is in a good place to address this gap.

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 :).

  • Digital-Marketing


  • There is 1 comment


    • 11 months ago

      Jasleen Kaur   /   Reply

      Thanks Paroma 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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