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Interview with Sakhee Dheer, Facebook, Head of Digital, Global Business Marketing – Asia Pacific

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Sakhee Dheer is a data-driven business professional with vast experience in running integrated marketing and managing high performing teams across the diverse Asia Pacific region. She loves to work at the intersection of technology and people to make lives better and build human experiences.

Sakhee currently leads Digital Marketing for APAC Global Business Marketing at Facebook. In this role, her focus is to educate, inform and excite Facebook’s page owners and advertisers about using Facebook’s family of apps meaningfully and effectively to reach their audience. Prior to this role, she was leading Digital Marketing and Analytics at Microsoft APAC. Sakhee was instrumental in building Microsoft’s first social media operations center in Singapore along with leading end-to-end marketing measurement, integrated campaign planning, and marketing automation. She has previously done roles in business operations and customer experience and believes a good business professional is the one with diverse experiences. 

Sakhee Dheer is an alumnus of Indian School of Business and National University of Singapore. In her spare time, she works with early-stage startups to share, co-create and build ideas from zero to 1. 

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

Sakhee Dheer: I have always been fascinated by Digital Marketing as it brings together the art and science of marketing. I have been lucky to see the field morph into its current state and be involved in setting up Digital Marketing practices across companies.

I initially built my Digital Marketing skill set as I found the topic very interesting. As my role evolved, I ended up being the most suitable person in the company to lead internal marketing transformation.

I have always lived by the mantra – think people, think digital, think data.

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?

Sakhee Dheer: To deliver the best experiences for your customers, you need both Digital Marketing and conventional marketing to work complementary with each other. Mobile and Video are the top two trends that impact the marketing industry currently. The future looks vastly different as well, with messaging and VR slowly making their presence felt. I don’t think we need to harp about how different conventional marketing is from Digital Marketing. Digital Marketing is an evolution of traditional ways. Since, change is the only constant, traditional marketers who do not evolve to adapt Digital Marketing will be disrupted. 

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

Sakhee Dheer:

  • Digital Marketing is not integrated with other aspects of business: In many organizations, digital marketing is looked at as an operational overhead and not a core part of business. Many organizations interchangeably refer to social media marketing as digital marketing. Most business make the mistake of investing too little, as they do not understand the full potential of the medium, capabilities and ways to drive impact.
  • Focusing only on numbers: You have to first give to get back. Whether it be building competitive content, social media presence or building awareness & intent in market before you see conversions. Focusing only on numbers from the start leads to missed opportunities and assessing impact using the wrong lens too early in the process of building digital capabilities.
  • Spending a lot of time on concepts without doing enough research on audience insight: Many marketing teams are married to their idea. Having a great innovative idea is very important to get attention, however, if it is not built on an insight that matters to your audience there are high chances all the hard work will go unnoticed.

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

Sakhee Dheer: A mix of both. According to me, an ideal model is having some of the core functions in-house and getting scale via an agency. This helps to keep core fundamentals of the brand in-house along with providing agility in times when you need quick action.

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Time: 11 AM to 12:30 PM (IST/GMT +5:30)

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

Sakhee Dheer: Slowly and steadily Digital Marketing is finding its feet within organizations. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to get digital marketing a seat at the table and have right focus from leadership. To continue increasing investment at all fronts – resources, budget, goals; focus on capabilities that digital marketing provides in comparison to how things have been done in the past. e.g. targeting capabilities that digital marketing provides are unparalleled to any medium, measurement across the customer journey, insight into customer behavior etc.

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

Sakhee Dheer: 

  • For Entrepreneurs: It provides a great platform for entrepreneurs to bootstrap their ideas and companies. Digital marketing provides a medium with which entrepreneurs can reach their audience, build awareness and generate leads. Digital Marketing allows you to make your voice heard even when you are scrappy and have no marketing resources. Entrepreneurs can innovate and find new ways to leverage their online networks and build presence through word of mouth marketing as well.  
  • For Professionals: Digital Marketing allows professionals to build a brand online and share ideas. It allows one to learn on the go using content and online courses like the ones from Digital Vidya. It allows a free exchange of ideas and dialogue helping like-minded individuals to connect and learn from each other. 
  • For Students: It is an exciting new field to explore and assess interest to pursue as a full-time career. A new career opportunity that did not exist a few years back! 

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

Sakhee Dheer:

  • Curiosity to learn and stay ahead of the curve
  • Ability to operate in ambiguity
  • Analytical skills

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

Sakhee Dheer:

  • Always keep learning
  • When building digital marketing plans, keep people at the center
  • Spend time to quantify impact

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?

Sakhee Dheer: I learn from a number of sources – via mailing lists I have subscribed to, social media, reading books and talking to people from different companies, industries and functions.

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

Sakhee Dheer: I follow a number of people across industries and companies. I observe how they keep up with learning and are giving digital marketing a voice internally & externally.

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Free Digital Marketing Webinar

Date: 16th Dec, 2017 (Sat)
Time: 11 AM to 12:30 PM (IST/GMT +5:30)

You led the webinar ‘People Centric Marketing – Create Impact by Putting People First’. How was your experience in leading the webinar?

Sakhee Dheer: “Excellent, everything was well coordinated. I also liked how participants engaged in the end and asked very thoughtful questions.”

Please share top 3-5 takeaways from the Webinar you led for our community.

Sakhee Dheer: I led the webinar “People-Centric Marketing – Create Impact by Putting People First”, a topic which is very close to my heart and drives my passion for what I do.

The key takeaways from the webinar are:

  1. Learn to think customer first to deliver most value from your campaigns
  2. Build campaigns that reach their full potential
  3. Methodology to think about campaign planning, execution and optimization

Do you have any suggestions for us to further increase the values of our Digital Marketing Webinars?

Sakhee Dheer: It will be good to gauge interest areas for the community to tailor webinar content, if this doesn’t already happen.

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

Sakhee Dheer: Top trends like mobile, video and messaging will start taking more mindshare as the industry. Customer habits evolve rapidly and we will see new forms of experiences like VR and AR. Boundaries between advertising and content will begin to disappear and advertising will be omnipresent.

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

Sakhee Dheer:

Digital Vidya is doing a great job of bringing together digital marketing professionals, building collective knowledge and training digital marketing enthusiasts.

Digital Vidya is leading by example and doing some great work in the field of digital marketing. Building valuable content for a community that is eager to learn!

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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