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Interview With Sneh Sharma, Founder And CEO At Ittisa
Sneh Sharma started out young!
2007-2008 was the era of Web 2.0 and Digital marketing was just taking its shape when Sneh, just 19 years old then, got an opportunity to work for a web product start-up in Bangalore. This marked the beginning of her professional journey.
From then on she has worked with a number of digital marketing start-ups and multinationals, developing a strong understanding about the industry and what works and what doesn’t in the space of Digital Media Marketing.
When Sneh was 23, she co- founded a digital marketing firm, building it as a nextGen Media Agency with a perfect blend of Creativity, Technology and Analytics. Now, two years later, here she is, setting-up her own team of first ever ‘girls only’ Digital Media Agency, Ittisa and they, within a very short span of seven months, have grown to be better known as the ‘Avengers of Brand Management’. They are truly fortunate to have on-board some of the major names in the industry such as the biggest African conglomerate Mara Mentor to name one from their growing list of clientèle.
When it comes to Digital, change is the only constant. Here, there is immense potential to grow, all you need to do is grab that opportunity and evolve with the changes around you.
Digital Vidya: How did you get into Digital Marketing?
Sneh: I began my career with a start-up in Bangalore called JobeeHive. I was a Marketing Associate and my daily task, simple. Do anything to get more traffic on to our website. Sounds straight & simple?
I got the opportunity to explore ways to get more users on-board and write marketing and product strategies. That’s the beauty of working with start-ups, you get to learn a lot. And whatever we were doing back then, to get more sign-ups on our platform, became Social Media marketing now. Not many marketers have used Orkut for marketing but I have explored Orkut in and out and I must admit, it was beautiful.
Which started as an amusement that someone is paying me few bucks to be online when we used to pay to cybercafés to get few hours of internet; later became my passion. So, I started my digital marketing journey and here I am today, totally in love with trade.
Digital Vidya: Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
Sneh: World today has become a global village and internet makes it more so. It is important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing because it is the best place where they can reach out, connect and market their products as well as themselves. More than anything else, Digital Media provides a great platform to build strong networks. It’s the only place where you can take the driver’s seat and influence the whole world.
And of course, zero budget marketing for entrepreneurs, maximum reach and customer engagement for marketing professionals and bigger network and better career for students are other attractions.
Virtual is the new Real.
Digital Vidya: According to you, what are the key skills about Digital Marketing one should acquire if s/he wants to build a rewarding career?
Sneh: The Digital world is dynamic and very spontaneous. One needs to be alert and quick in taking action, else you miss the opportunity.
Pay careful attention to your social media presence. Be adaptive and customize your presence according to the demands of each platform.
Analytics is important. Make sure you use it skillfully to take the right decisions and chart a promising action plan to develop the brand. Execution is important. In digital, people have to see to believe things.
Digital Vidya: According to you, what are the top mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing? Would you like to share your learnings from some of the mistakes you might have made in using Digital Marketing?
Sneh: Challenges and blunders are a given when it comes to digital marketers and entrepreneurs. I shall share some of my goof ups and what I learned from each one of these mistakes.
1. People don’t buy what you sell, they buy WHY you sell: For brands
So when I started out, I was very desperate about getting more traffic on our website.
I wrote jingles, joined online forums, tried to make videos, joined almost every website whereI could reach out to people. I used to bombard people with information about our product. But did it work? Of course NOT.
Social media gives you a platform to reach out to people but that doesn’t mean they’ll buy what you are selling. Your marketing strategy should go reverse. First answer these questions, why you are selling what you are selling? Why people should buy? Only then communicate. Don’t tell them about your product features, but tell them about their own problems and how you can help. That works on Social Media.
2. Fail, fall and get hurt: For professionals
Work can throw you curve balls time and time again. You could fail in your initiatives and get hurt by the failure. A couple of terrible botch ups and your confidence level could eventually hit ground zero. But it’s important you feel extremely bad that you decide to learn, be prepared and bounce back.
In social media too, everyday there is a new channel launching, new feature update, new algorithms and you don’t want to get caught in similar embarrassing situations. So you learn to be proactive, keep your eyes open and keep striving for success.
3. For every action there is an equal & opposite reaction. Plus, a social media over reaction.
I was writing to random bloggers to cover our product on their blogs so that we can get some media coverage. I was copy pasting the same email and sending it to people on my list and in one email I forgot to change the person’s name. And it was a fiasco!
The recipient turned out to be a big blogger, he obviously did not cover any story but he covered my email on his blog. Took a screenshot and wrote how careless marketers are. Netizens took up the tirade. It still didn’t end, my CEO found that blog on Google and I was caught.
What I learned? On social media you become the voice of brands and you can’t afford to make mistakes. Because whatever happens on social media remains on Google forever.
Digital Vidya: How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What trends and opportunities do you foresee?
Sneh: World is going mobile. Customers carry boat loads of opportunity in their pockets, quite literally. So brands have to be really innovative to make some impact on their potential customer’s mobile phones.
I am waiting to see how wearable technology impacts our lives and it’s difficult to predict. Where we are with wearables is where we were with mobile 20 years back; so there will be lots of surprises and lots of ups and downs. So, what we as marketers need to do is to stay updated with the trends and happenings in the digital space and evolve alongside.
Digital Vidya: Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
The variety of courses offered by your firm on Digital marketing are worth an applause.
Digital marketing is a new field and it’s hard to find expert advice, tutorials or other learning platforms but Digital Vidya has opened before those aspiring entrepreneurs and students a sea of learning opportunities.
They get to interact with industry experts and experience real life learnings. A great initiative indeed.
Kudos, Digital Vidya Team!