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Interview with Dr.Som Singh, Unspun Consulting Group, Founder & Chief Marketing Advisor

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dr-som-singhDr.Som Singh helps businesses accelerate to new heights by helping write their success story. She is a start-up advisor, an angel investor, Nasscom 10K, Microsoft & Target Accelerator mentor and most importantly a digital marketing consultant. Dr. Som is the Co-trustee and Director at Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence (CEE), while also the founder of Unspun Consulting Group, India’s 1st technology based marketing consulting firm based in Bangalore.

Importance of Digital Marketing  

Unspun Consulting Group, the brain child of Dr. Som was conjured up to help and support the start-ups by consulting and advising them on the best possible way forward to do any marketing communication activity. Unspun came into existing in the year 2011-12 and is going strong by consulting various number of start ups from diverse fields or sectors nationally. The group is also building an in-house research tool called ‘ACT’ that helps in Audience Discovery and Behaviour Analysis to identify the right marketing channel for a client. Unspun is soon launching an online platform, Engagematik, that offers Social Media Services on the cloud. Unspun has also recently introduced a digital leadership institute to help start-ups to understand how digital marketing works.

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

Dr. Som Singh: Born into an archetypal Bengali family from Kolkata, I was expected to follow my parents’ footsteps when it came to choosing a career path. But I was determined to break tradition and chase my dreams. After I graduated, I held vital decision-making positions in various multinational companies like Red Hat, July Systems, Akamai Technologies and Verizon Data Services. After having worked with some of the finest minds in the industry and gaining immense knowledge, I wanted to get started on my own. Thus was born Unspun Consulting Group that simplifies companies’ marketing techniques by leveraging technology & driving ROI for every penny they spend. Founded in early 2013, Unspun has rapidly matured into India’s first technology driven, research-based marketing consultant firm for startups, SMEs and enterprises.

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?

Dr. Som Singh: This is an ongoing debate that’s unending. But both have its advantages and disadvantages with Digital marketing being a tad bit more advantageous. Traditional marketing has it’s longevity with ads in magazines and newspapers still being quite familiar activities. But, traditional marketing reaches only a handful of local audience. The primary disadvantage of conventional marketing is you cannot measure its ROI. Plus, traditional marketing can be quite heavy on your pocket and there’s no way in which you can engage and with the audience. It’s like you are throwing information at someone, only in the hope that they may take action, but there’s absolutely no guarantee!!

Now when it comes to digital marketing, ROI is 100% measurable with the campaign reaching an infinite audience. Whilst I can tweak a campaign to cater to a local audience, I can also alter it to reach the entire world as and when needed. Digital marketing is highly interative which also means that you can get direct customer feedback, highly valuable in today’s competitive market. But, a major flak of digital marketing is, while it can take a while to build a concrete campaign, measuring the results can take a while.

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

Dr. Som Singh: With changing marketing strategies and time, businesses change their plan of action to stay ahead. So, the case study I like today may not even hold relevance tomorrow. 

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

Dr. Som Singh: 

  • Lacking vision: it gets challenging to measure ROI and thereby see no benefit from the campaign thus demoralizing teams to underperform.
  • Producing content for the sake of producing: wrong content will result in zero engagement thus diminishing customer interest in the brand in the long run.
  • Neglecting mobile customers: Losing out on a huge chunk of customers/audience spending hours on their phones.

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

Dr. Som Singh: For me, it’s any day in-house talent that pays. There are myriad elements of digital marketing so when a team works with varying talents, ideas come flooding in thus benefiting the campaign and the brand.  IN-house experts give their 100% towards the company’s corporate culture and focus all their time and energy on the specific goals. Although agencies can profess their commitment while signing the contract, they can’t have a firm grasp of your company’s product, vision, goals and competitors. Depending on how niche your industry is, it may take an agency some time to get up to speed. In-house team is more accessible where quick communications and turnarounds are crucial to a campaign. With in-house people, you can meet, collaborate and exchange ideas on the fly. 

How do you ensure increasing Digital Marketing’s relevance and influence in the organization?

Dr. Som Singh: 

  • Stay up to date with industry blogs and updates
  • Join and stay connected on LinkedIn Groups
  • Subscribe to Email newsletters
  • Constantly monitor competition
  • Choose the right marketing tools

Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?

Dr. Som Singh: 

  1. BuzzSumo for content marketing & SEO
  2. Mention & Hootsuite to monitor social media
  3. MailChimp for email marketing

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

Dr. Som Singh: 

  • For Entrepreneurs: You get to make your own calculated and creative digital marketing decisions and not be forced into agreeing with everything that your hired digital agency says. You’ll be able to track and scrutinize campaign results thus letting you plan better. Knowing the correct digital marketing strategy, particularly social media will let you compete with larger companies and thus increase your brand awareness across the globe on a shoestring budget. Given the growing internet user base, there’s no better medium than digital media for customer acquisition.
  • For Professionals: You make a leap in your career thus significantly higher growth in terms of salary and roles and responsibility.
  • For Students: Digital marketing is the future. It’s easy to grasp digital marketing and get trained on. Digital marketing opens up wide variety of job prospects. Companies want marketers who can generate leads and push them down the sales funnel. Thus by acquiring relevant skills in Digital Marketing, you are better placed for higher packages and position. You can even turn entrepreneur and start earning independently.

What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?

Dr. Som Singh: 

  1. The flexibility to adapt
  2. Ability to collect and analyze data and then converting it into actionable knowledge
  3. Think out of the box
  4. Comfortable with technology
  5. Want to keep on learning
  6. Good business acumen

What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?

Dr. Som Singh: Here’s what I’d like to tell them.

If you don’t like the digital marketing universe taking shape in front of you, change it. That’s how something new is born. Have a voice and don’t be afraid to fail…you will but eventually you’ll also rise above the rest. Be resourceful & never stop learning.

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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?

Dr. Som Singh: I follow experts in the industry who are regulars with digital marketing updates. I read their blogs and have subscribed to their newsletters. I’m part of a lot of aggregate sites such as inbound and growth hackers which have a lot of blogs with recent updates. Plus, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are very user-friendly and a great way to stay up-to-date on digital marketing trends.

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

Dr. Som Singh: Can’t give you just 3…I have quite a few names actually. Dr. Pete Meyers, Anita Perez, Andy Crestodina, Tim Ash and Ann Handley and just a handful. There are such geniuses out there, my list can go on forever.

How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2017?

Dr. Som Singh: 

  • Augmented and virtual reality – AR & VR
  • Video consumption is going to be huge
  • Mobile will dominate desktop 100%

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

Dr. Som Singh: 

Making available good education is a kind of work that nothing can beat. When you educate someone you make that person responsible, provide them an opportunity to be self sustainable and thereby make them world-class citizens. Thus, what Digital Vidya is doing can be expressed in a few words. Its way beyond mere commendable.

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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