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An Interview With – Ranjit Behera, Digital Marketing Head, Aditya Birla Online Fashion

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Ranjit Behera Ranjit Behera has been working in e-commerce and Digital Marketing field for over 8 years now. Post MBA from IIM-Bangalore, he joined management consulting. Around 2009, started e-commerce website and ran couple of years. Post that, worked with Zivami, iQuanti and now heading digital at abof.com.

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

Ranjit : The nature of my start up (e-commerce) was the key driver for me to get introduced to the digital world. Apart from this my interest in marketing and strength in analytics also made me feel at ease with digital.

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?

Ranjit : Frankly speaking the concepts of conventional marketing and digital marketing are no different. However, there are few barriers in the current market which makes conventional marketing very important

  1. Lack of internet penetration limits the reach digital marketing
  2. Relatively low trust on online payment systems is still a big deterrent
  • Digital Marketing is showing its effect on conventional marketing. The first big sign of this can be seen in the form of huge digital initiatives taken by traditional offline players. Big corporates, banks, Services Company and many other players are having a lot of strategies where digital is at the core.
  • Though online retail in India stands at single digit but, the rate at which it is growing and getting adopted by new users, the threat to conventional marketing is eminent. The only thing now left for most marketing wings in a company is to adapt or be left out.
Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?

Ranjit : 

  • One Plus strategy to sell by using social commerce – Like in conventional marketing “Word of mouth” still remains one of the strongest form of marketing in digital too. Social media and referral schemes are the biggest example of it. One Plus were confident of their product and smartly devised a scheme where people could purchase via referral only. This had multiple dimensions which led to the success of the campaign.
  1. The scheme gave an apparent elevation to one plus owners and gave the core product an aspirational value
  2. The higher aspirational value of the product drove the community concept of marketing where limited one plus purchase invites had many takers.
  3. Since the marketing cost was limited, this was passed on to customers in form of attractive mobile price making the campaign even stronger.
  • Uber’s referral scheme to increase app downloads and service usage
  1. This campaign not only led to lot of people downloading the uber app but, many of them ended up using the uber service. The campaign’s end goal was to retain customers and not just acquire. This helped Uber to quickly scale up and reach sizeable customers at a very cost effective manner.
  • 2013 election campaign by BJP
  1. This is one massive campaign where data, targeting and personalization was used effectively. The campaign was mainly driven via social media but, the creatives, messages and engagement had lot of local flavor. It was a national campaign which was executed effectively at regional level. The viewer engagement was phenomenal as the twitter trends and hashtags certainly had an impact of urban voters
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?

Ranjit : 

  • Lack of usage of analytics. Loss: Vital customer data is not used for better personalization and customization. Low usage of data leads to wastage of marketing dollars.
  • Coordination between marketing and technology team is not seamless. Loss: It needs to be understood that digital marketing and innovation can only be enable by smart usage of technology. Many a times marketing needs are not properly communicated to technology team-leading to bad customer experience, inadequate data capture and poor optimization.
  • Inability to target customers cross device and cross channels. Most of the digital channels within a company work independently leading to tagging same customer as different person on different channel (Google, Facebook, display etc.) and device (desktop, m-site, app).
    Loss : Over exposure or under exposure of campaign to a potential customer, personalization and customization opportunities are missed.
Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?

Ranjit :  A digital marketing strategy needs to be a good mix of in-house and agency. In house is close to business and understands the nuances better whereas digital agencies have superior skill and cutting edge technology to execute the marketing goals. In-house team need to act as bridge between business and agency to translate business goals into digital marketing goals.

Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?

Ranjit : 

  • SimilarWeb
  • Alps
  • Semrush
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?

Ranjit : 

  • For Entrepreneurs: To have a better control over spends as finances are limited. Also digital gives the ability for high-level targeting which is extremely important for entrepreneurs.
  • For Professionals: Most of the human hours is now spent on internet and this makes it eminent that companies and professionals need to engage with consumers via digital medium. Hence, professionals need to learn and understand nuances of various digital channels to reach customers effectively.
  • For Students: The future of e-commerce, services and communication is digital. Learning about digital at younger age will be important to make a mark in future age. Since digital demands bit of analytical skills, students are in right position to pick those skills and effectively translate it into meaning action.
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?

Ranjit : 

  • Ability to understand and think as a consumer/customer
  • Ability to adapt quickly and be ready for change
  • Analytical skills
  • Ability to understand and appreciate role of technology in digital marketing
  • Ability to work in cross-functional teams
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?

Ranjit : 

  • Focus on basics and always think from customer point of view. This will give a fair understanding of how to use digital marketing to serve the customer better.
  • Appreciate data and analytics as that forms the backbone of digital marketing.
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?

Ranjit : DMD, SMX, searchengineland, econsultancy reports, gartner or similar reports, linkedin forums, Google alerts on key digital trends.

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

Ranjit : 

  • Avinash Kaushik
  • Danny Sullivan
  • Rand Fishkin
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?

Ranjit : 

  • M-commerce will grow exponentially
  • Cross channels and cross-device view of customer will become key for effective digital campaigns
  • Real-time personalization by usage of data
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?

Ranjit : I haven’t had chance to work with Digital Vidya but, have been continuously following the articles and publications from Digital Vidya.

The articles showcases Digital Vidya’s deep understanding of the space both from consumer and marketing point of view.

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 is 1 comment


    • 1 year ago

      Jasleen Kaur   /   Reply

      Thanks Ranjit 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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