Karanam Srikanth has been working as a Digital Marketing Manager for the past 3 years. Started as a SEO Executive in 2008 when SEO was little known in India. Got a chance to work with some of the major players in the Digital Marketing World. Managed more than 700 clients in my active career. Now leading a team of 16 Digital Marketing Professionals.
How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?
Karanam: It was more of a need than interest at first. After a year and a half I got to know the importance of Digital Marketing when we started receiving good traffic and conversions from SEO and adwords. While I was the only one my boss saw the opportunity and asked me to build a team and move towards freelancing as a company, which gave me the opportunity to raise quickly and over the period of time we were a team of 30+ Digital Marketing professionals offering services in 6 countries. However, our knowledge was limited to SEO and Adwords. In 2011 we got 2 clients who specifically asked us to work on Social which we were not well versed with. After clearing this with the clients and asking them to give us an opportunity to work on their profiles, we stepped into social and from then on there was no looking back as the clients themselves were sending us more leads than we could generate through our marketing efforts.
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?
Karanam: Digital Marketing can and will always be a extension for conventional marketing, unless the company or the product is purely digital and can be used by only certain users (Ex : Apps). Even those companies whose products are purely digital still should do conventional marketing along with Digital Marketing to get good positive results. India is a emerging country where users are relatively new to online. A good mixture of Conventional and Digital marketing will help get new users to their business and will have a positive impact already with the help of conventional marketing and the company will have a chance to showcase different ads over the time based on where the user is surfing at that time using Digital Marketing. I don’t’ think Digital marketing will ever be a threat to conventional marketing.
Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?
- Sony US: Well organized campaigns and lot of opportunity to test and play with budget which gave us the opportunity to learn a lot about running ads online.
- G-Star AU: Over 1 million products to optimize and we were given opportunity to provide complete Digital Marketing solution for the website with a mixture of offline marketing. We were in constant touch with the marketing team to ensure that both offline and online messaging synced together and the marketing plans were made months in advance which gave us enough time to prepare everything before time and be ready to measure and maximize results. The beauty of the campaigns were split testing in almost every element of marketing that was done.
- Lead Generation US client: The client was not interested in traffic and demo requests. So we were asked to work on generating qualified leads with a minimum conversion ratio of 3% which was quite challenging as we would be paid for each qualified lead that was generated. The target of 750 leads per week was one of the challenging and satisfied projects we ever did which gave us a clear understanding that no matter how much traffic or demo requests you drive to the business it wont matter to the business owner, What matters is how much qualified leads and business was generated from the efforts.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
- Budget: Companies are still looking for free ways to generate business in the form of SEO by hiring 1 or 2 Executives and asking them to generate traffic and business which is not correct. Companies should try and build a team of Digital Marketing as they normally would when building any other team. Micro teams in Digital Marketing will only work to a certain extent be it SEO, SEM or SMO. Companies should understand this and build a mixture of all.
- Content: Digital Marketing has changed in the last few years rapidly. User generated content and engaging content has become more important today. Companies don’t invest much on building a creative team who can showcase about the culture and generate engaging content which is more effective than Digital Marketing.
- Expectation: While running a digital marketing campaign, we see companies of all shapes, sizes, and budgets. And it never fails, whether the company is spending $5,00 a month or $50,000 a month on their digital marketing efforts they all have the same expectations of immediate results. In most cases the campaigns aren’t even a week old and our phones and emails are filled with questions like “Why aren’t we on page 1 for Google already” or “Why isn’t our PPC campaign hitting it’s goal?” Even when expectations have been clearly set. The idea that digital equals instant results is one of the biggest misconceptions, especially for companies newer to this practice. The fact is, even digital campaigns take time to be developed, optimized, and improved to where you are seeing the results you are hoping for.
Between Agencies and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?
Karanam: I would prefer Agency when it comes to maximum value as it removes most of the work that needs to be done in-house like team building, infrastructure. Agency is the best approach when you know what you need in terms of your results and when the company sets right expectations.
Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?
- Raven Tools – For overall Digital Marketing Reports
- SpyFu – for PPC campaigns and keyword research
- Screamingfrog – For audits and onsite optimization
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
- For Entrepreneurs: A new channel to promote your business and measure the results.
- For Professionals: A new way to see and understand things and reach more audience.
- For Students: A path where career can be made without coding and Social networks can be accessed without any problems in the office.
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?
- Written skills
- Subject comes last, we sometimes hire the candidate even if he has moderate knowledge about the subject but has above skills.
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?
Communication is the key, working on it will only take you to heights in Digital Marketing.
Most of the newbies coming these days have subject knowledge but poor communication skills which won’t help them in long run.
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?
- Buffer app – To the point info on Digital Marketing.
- Search Engine Journal – The bible
- Neil Patel – The man behind most successful campaigns
- Private paid networks – No offers only content that can be directly used in our daily work.
Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.
- Neil Patel
- Frank Kern
- Ryan Deiss
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?
- Paid Social Marketing – Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter will become costly and the organic reach will become less efficient.
- Paid influencer Marketing – It has just started and will become most important in the next 2 years.
- Video Marketing. This is happening now and will grow in good numbers in 2016.
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
The only company trying to do something that is useful to Digital Marketers when others are trying to mint money. Keep up the good work and showcase more talent from other countries where Digital Marketing has already settled.
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 :).