With a total experience of 9 years in digital marketing, Akshat Mathur has helped brands in their launch & activation campaigns. In his career span, he had the opportunity to work with different clients ranging from FMCG to BFSI sector. Working on digital platforms has given him the opportunity campaigns and use his analytical skills in the most effective manner.
How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?
Akshat: I started my career in digital marketing in a very interesting manner. I started working as a video editor in a production house. I used to go on shoots as an assistant director to edit ad films, documentaries & short films. One day one of our clients mentioned that they intend to put their TVC on their website and wanted us to know what the logistics are for the same. Based on this requirement, I began my research on what are the ways to incorporate the video on a website and how brands are promoting their video online. That was my first brush with SEO/SEM, Email marketing, video advertising, social media and In-game advertising. I realized that I had the desired skills of being innovative yet being analytical in a profound way to build digital campaigns. Being a fast learner, I could understand the concepts of search engine marketing, methods to do pay per click, tactics to be used on social media platforms and how to build strategies for brands. I was curious to know more about this field around the world and was excited to learn every bit of it. I took up a job in a startup – www.searchmycampus.com where I applied my gained knowledge and managed online marketing campaigns for them.
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?
Akshat: Reach, Reach & Reach. Today in India, the reach that you get from a TV or a Print ad in newspapers gets you huge eyeballs for brands. An ad in a newspaper increases footfalls of brands to their showrooms. Even E-commerce brands are going for conventional marketing to gain more visibility for their products and services. However, it is still a one-way communication and that’s where the power of digital lies. Digital marketing allows a two-way communication between brands and its consumers allowing brands to have a dialogue with users. We see a lot of brands today either shifting their budgets entirely on digital media or increase their budgets for the same. For e.g.: A lot of brands are now considering YouTube as a channel & buying media on it on the basis of iGRP. The advantage with doing this is that you can get customer reaction immediately (either through social engagements or through their behavior on the website) as compared to running an ad on TV. A very important thing to consider here is the cost that a brand has to incur for running an ad on TV vs running an ad on YouTube. Digital medium comes at a much cheaper cost than conventional medium and it allows you to reach out to a more focused targeted audience. A key strategy that agencies & brands are adopting is that they are running ads on the major GEC channels while they are replacing their frequency-based channels with digital media platforms. This allows them to increase their ROI in a more effective manner.
Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?
- Airtel Har friend Zaroori Hota hai: This campaign was a game-changer for brands to know how to use social videos to connect brand with their users. This campaign used the methods of Gamification with insights on consumer behavior to connect with consumers.
- Khan Khajura Station: Customer engagement program. I liked this campaign because it was a wonderful usage of mobile medium to drive engagement from a technology stricken area like Bihar & Jharkhand. This was a path-breaking concept as many other brands used this to deliver their message around health & Women empowerment to the right audience through digital medium.
- Old spice Muscle music: This was another path breaking campaign based on user engagement in the most innovative way. Old spice made male audience connect with the brand for promotion of their product in the most interactive manner.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
- Measurement techniques: A lot of brands need to sharpen their measurement techniques. Tracking & Measuring the campaign performance is a vital information to know whether the campaign has performed on defined objectives or not. Once the tracking is in place, marketing managers get loads of insightful data which helps them understand consumer behavior for future campaigns.
- Content Marketing techniques: Not putting the right content to the right audience or at the right time. Content marketing still looks like a black hole to a lot of brands as they are not sure of the best practices within their category. Content marketing is done differently for each category and as per the consumer behavior of consuming content.
- Social community base: Effective use of Social community to achieve business objective. Brands have been running after building a huge community base but are not really focusing on the content on their social platforms. Your social community should be an advocate of your brand and valuable content should be published to build brand loyalty. Your social community will always provide you high-value customers if you have the right content marketing strategies in place.
Between Agencies and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?
Akshat: It entirely depends on the stage at which the brand or the product is. Although, hiring an agency gives you an expertise of the domain yet understanding of the brand is still stronger with an in house team. Brands need to understand the value that an agency brings on board in terms of content, creativity and media buying power. However, having an in-house team is more scalable with quick turnaround times and gives a better control over your owned channels. It all depends on the brand’s requirements. Many brands are now hiring agency on project basis or different agencies for creative, media & social.
Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?
Akshat: Google Analytics, Radian 6 & Comscore.
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
- For Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs need to know what are the innovative marketing channels they can use to grow their product. Through digital marketing knowledge they can understand about consumer behavior and will get a real-time feedback about their product. Consumers are searching for their product online, so they should know how to market their product in an effective manner. Entrepreneurs can hire an expert but they should have knowledge of the medium to fully utilize their resources.
- For Professionals: To build an online presence. Due to the nature of the medium, all professionals should have an online presence through social channels. Besides all brands are now moving towards digital and through extensive knowledge of digital, they will be able to promote themselves, their company, and their products. Digital is an ever dynamic field, you need to stay updated with trends & grasp knowledge about your industry news in order to stay ahead in the market.
- For Students: Digital is the future. Every brand is going digital and this medium will always allow you to let your creative juices flow. There is a huge amount of data, knowledge and ever changing trends that it will always keep you engrossed. Besides every organization will value your digital knowledge.
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?
- Creativity: Candidates need to have a creative bend of mind to always think of different ideas.
- Analytical skills: Any candidate should have good analytical skills in order to understand the intricacies of any digital campaign. Analysis is important for any professional to understand consumer behavior, media performance and optimization of the campaigns.
- Problem-solving skills: Digital is a fast medium and you will always come across challenges in terms of media performance, creative fatigueless, tracking issues, online reputation management and social media campaigns. The candidate needs to have skills to immediately provide solutions to any challenges faced during live campaigns.
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?
Akshat: Work in a startup environment, get a chance to work in all spheres of digital marketing i.e. SEM, SEO, Social media, Media planning buying, ad operations, Analytics, Affiliate marketing etc. Then evaluate which profile makes you connect well and where you can hone your skills. And then build your expertise in that domain.
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?
Akshat: Kissmetrics, Social Media examiner, Venture beat, Mashable, SmartInsights, Social Samosa.
Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.
- Avinash Kaushik (Co-Founder of Market Motive Inc and the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google)
- Sean Ellis (Founder and CEO of GrowthHackers.com)
- Jeff bullas (Blogger, author, strategist and speaker at www.jeffbullas.com)
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?
Akshat: Digital Marketing is the future of the industry with every brand trying to make a mark in it. This medium is always changing with new trends and new technological ways to market your product. Top 3 trends:
- Mobile Marketing – Within Digital, Mobile marketing is the future as brands are realizing the power of mobile as a very personalized medium for the consumers. Mobile also allows you to reach out to tier 2 and tier 3 cities which is still low in number on the desktop medium. More & more consumers are now getting into mobile and brands are using this insight to market their product.
- Content Marketing – Native advertising is the future for Display advertising. With consumers turning blind towards display advertising, brands are now moving into branded content through video articles and case studies. Content marketing will be the most effective medium to acquire high-value customers as it allows brand to send the brand message through influencers.
- Performance marketing – Due to the power that the digital medium provides of tracking, more & more brands are moving towards ROI-based campaigns. Brands are now shifting their focus on achieving their business objectives through digital medium. In fact, a lot of brands are using offline medium to build awareness for the brand & run a parallel digital campaign to acquire customers through engagement driven campaigns. Digital medium allows brands to track users to the minutest of detail. Delivering right message at the right time allows them to acquire customers at a cheaper cost.
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
I’ve been following Digital Vidya for quite some time and I feel that you are addressing a huge problem in our industry in the best manner. Our industry has a lot of marketing professionals but very few industry leaders. Your workshop gives an in-depth knowledge of the medium and encourages knowledge sharing within the industry.
I’m a fan of Pradeep Chopra and have been following him since my early days in the industry. As a matter of fact I came across his article on SEM and how students should be advancing to learn SEM from Pradeep and since then I’ve been following him. Keep it up.
Disclaimer: Views are my personal and not entitled to any company/Individual
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