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An Interview with Ammar Kanchwala, an MBA who Started his Career in Digital Marketing

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ammar-kanchwalaAmmar Kanchwala started his journey in Digital Marketing 5 years ago. He has a mix of experience working with agencies as well as brands  across search, analytics and social media marketing. He is currently working as Senior Digital Marketing Specialist at Accenture and was recently awarded as one of the “Power Digital Users of India” 2016.

In terms of growth, Ammar has seen 9x increase in salary in 2 years. 🙂     

Ammar has pursued full-time MBA, meanwhile he was working as a Digital Marketing Intern with Wild Dreams Media & Communications and as a Brand Consultant – Digital with R SQUARE Consulting Services.

How and when did you learn Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?

Ammar: Digital Marketing happened much as an accident to me which later turned into passion. It was back in 2011, I took part in an International Contest (IT Travelers GO) organized by Taiwan Ministry between Vietnam, Indonesia & India in which I represented India under Top 10 participants.

After the competition got over, one of the brand known as Silicon Power, from the same group approached me to become as their ‘Social Media Ambassador from India’. This is where my journey started in the Digital Marketing domain. I started exploring Digital Marketing tools during this period and also started taking internships in this domain to get more on the job learning. I got the chance to intern with some get brands & agencies which boosted my knowledge in the domain. I got the opportunity to get my hands dirty on some of the biggest Digital campaigns in India including the political ones.

The things that interests me the most about Digital Marketing is that this industry is still ripe and at the early stage and there so much left to be explored. This in turns results into the fact that there are no set patterns or since to perform the magic & day-in day-out you try, test and learn something new.

Why do you things it’s important to learn Digital Marketing today?

Ammar: There is a huge demand from the industry for digital marketers, but still there is shortage of talent and professionals. In order to get the right start into this domain, it’s always best to get equipped with right set on knowledge from industry experts.Though, there is an option to get on the job learning but why to waste so much time & energy, when you can cut short the learning period and channelize your energy in right direction by focusing on enhancing the niche in which you want to build your career for e.g. Content Management, Media planning/buying, SEM etc.

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 regulary?

Ammar: As a primary source of Information regarding latest trends and happening in the Digital Marketing Industry, I closely follow the industry leaders on the channels where I’m most active on like LinkedIn & Twitter, this way being on the platform I like, I’m able to consume the information, I’d love.

As a secondary source, for Indian industry related information I rely on Social Samosa, LightHouse & Digital Vidya (I’m a fan of Digital Vidya thought leader & Interview Series).

Which are your favourite 3 digital media channels (e.g. Twitter, Google, etc.) and why?

Ammar:  Well, no doubt Twitter will top my list when it comes to favorite Social Media channels, as I got my first job through Twitter & also met love of my life (now Fiance) on Twitter 🙂 This is platform, I’m most active upon and it helps me consume the relevant information in real time.

I’m big believer of Networking with like-minded professionals and which is where LinkedIn comes as my second most preferred channel. As it connects you with the professionals eliminating the geographical constraints, which has personally helped me a lot in getting mentored by Industry gurus & also connect with fellow Industry professionals.

With it rising fame every single day, I’ve become a Snapchat fanboy recently. I believe it is the most dangerous tool available for marketers if you know how to leverage effective storytelling. 

Which are your 3 favourite Digital Marketing Tools?

Ammar:  There still isn’t a better alternative than Google Alerts for reviewing mentions of your brand name, competitor or sector names by entering keywords, so it tops the charts. I’ve used Hootsuite for posting updates to social networks and reviewing what others are saying for nearly five years now, and I’d recommend it as a must use for every marketer out there. I believe that Google Analytics or an equivalent is essential for all who work in marketing to master at some level.

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

Ammar: 

  • Brian Solis
  • Avinash Kaushik
  • Neil Patel 
What is your advice to newbies who want to build career in digital marketing?

Ammar:  The only success Mantra available for anyone who wants to build their career in this domain is ‘Who got to love what you do’, until and unless, you’re a digital native and don’t have an active social footprint, you can’t make a big difference. As in order to do that ‘magical campaign’ for your brand or agency, you need to know what’s happening in real time in the industry. A strategy isn’t always an outcome of 6 hours brainstorming session coupled with 12 cups of coffee. You need to stay active on digital platforms, more learning you need to unlearn as what worked for you yesterday, might not work for you tomorrow.

What are the challenges a person is likely to face when s/he enters into digital marketing industry? How can s/he overcome those?

Ammar: I believe the biggest challenge a person is likely to face is getting acquainted with all the platforms out there and quickly adapt to the fast paced learning norms of the industry. I’m a firm believer of the fact that one should never stop learning, no matter if you’re an analyst or CMO and if a person whole heartedly puts its soul into mastering the platforms out there & staying upto date with the ‘next big thing’, there is no stopping for the individual but success.

Pressure of delivering something out of box and unique every time.

For someone who’s looking at full time or part time job or an internship in digital marketing, what approach would you advice?

Ammar: Landing a perfect job is no rocket science. It is always a right blend of preparation meeting opportunity at just the right time.

Considering the rate at which this industry is booming, demand far exceeds the supply. Social Media Groups and forums are filled with Job Requirements, then what’s the problem?

The problem is, there is high scarcity of right talent in the market and in order to prep yourself in tune with what industry requires today, there simple formula is that one should refer at least 5 Job Descriptions of the role you aspire and pick out the common requirements from all of them and start mastering those skills. Bingo!, you’ve the secret formula of landing your dream job.

There is something bigger than all of this: If have what it needs to get into a certain role, but how do I reach out to the employers?

Ans is simple, you need a job/internship in digital industry, you shouldn’t rely on traditional job channels. One should leverage Twitter & LinkedIn in such scenarios which also gives confidence to the hiring manager on how effectively the candidate is using the digital channels.

Digital media especially Social Media Channels such as Facebook can eat up a lot of your productive time if not used wisely. Do you agree? What all can one do to efficiently leverage these channels for personal growth?

Ammar: Can’t agree to this more. Will break down my answer into two parts: 

An effective Digital Marketing Guy, needs to be a good stalker!! It makes a big difference whom are you stalking, your ex or a brand page! 🙂

In order to know what’s happening in the industry, spending time on social media channels is very important, as it not only just provides you with what are other brands doing in the industry but also helps you enhance your understanding on how the audience reacts to a piece of content.

Coming to the second part. Just being online doesn’t help, you need to maintain a high klout on digital platforms which helps you a lot in professional growth. In order to build a brand for others, you must establish your personal brand image effectively.

Considering the above it is very important for 1 has to identify that how much time one one needs to spend online and should work towards striking a perfect balance and think that how much of this will result into personal growth and learning.

If you were given a chance to rebuild your career, what changes you would have made to have even better growth and fulfillment?

Ammar: In my early days I spent a lot of time trying to learn things on my own by taking internships and trying to read about the subject and learn about it.

How do you see Digital Media evolving in future?

Ammar: To be honest, I’m a big follower of Abraham Lincoln and would like to quote him here “The best way to predict future is to create it”.

Lot of time we waste our precious time in worrying about what’s coming next?. While it’s always great to stay prepped and having the readiness to unlearn, but meanwhile this process we forget to make the most out of our present.

Virtual Reality & Live streaming is certainly something to look out in future, meanwhile the market for wearables and digital health continues to grow. For recognizing shortcomings, new opportunities, and streamlining processes, big data will become a staple of business strategy. The growth of the IoT, in particular, will drive the vision, data usage, and evolution of jobs and processes. As more devices connect more people in useful and collaborative ways, every enterprise relationship will change.

Would you like share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya in educating others about Digital Marketing?

Ammar: 

As I said earlier, that we live in the times where the Digital Industry is still evolving and in such times Digital Vidya is doing a commendable job in bringing all resources under resources under one roof from Industry thought leaders to trainings. Wishing the Digital Vidya team all the success & growth.

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 :). 

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