Malak Karajah is a digital marketing strategist, freelance consultant, and executive trainer. Experienced in online advertising, social media advertising, SEO, SEM, Content Strategy, Email Marketing, and Website Production, Malak is based in United Arab Emirates.
Digital marketing has been key in all the positions I held since I graduated from college. I have worked with e-commerce businesses, mobile applications, telecommunication firms, multinational advertising agencies on big accounts like Microsoft, fashion retailing, and more.
How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?
Malak: My first job was with a daily deals website like Groupon, called gosawa.com. Since the whole business is online, the bulk of their marketing activities were online and I found myself needing to learn all the ins and outs of digital marketing in order to take their marketing efforts to the next level. Ever since, I fell in love with digital marketing realizing its power over traditional marketing and decided to make it my career.
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?
Malak: Conventional marketing today serves only one purpose in my opinion, which is brand image. Other than that, digital marketing beats traditional marketing in every way, and it’s already a threat to its future especially for startups and SMBs where every penny spent counts. People are spending most of their time online, and it doesn’t make sense for any business not to be strongly present on digital channels.
Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?
- Dell: Nurture Campaign
Dell developed a Solutions Nurture program that allowed customers to experience content across the entire purchase journey. Modular content capabilities allowed Dell to amplify reach and create a scalable responsive email program.
Results: The campaign reduced email production time by 30%, resulted in 25% open rates, a 4.8% CTR, and a 35% increase in conversion rates, tripling average orders.
- Optum: Multi-Touch Content
To maintain relevance to its audience in a rapidly-changing healthcare system, Optum developed it’s “Game Changer” campaign, offering eBooks, infographics, white papers and case studies to prospects.
Results: Over 4.9 million impressions were generated, resulting in more than 5,300 form submissions, a 89% open rate, and ultimately $4.9 million in closed business.
- Marketo: Measurable ROI
To reach customers just getting started in social media, Marketo developed a sample plan to show prospects how to map a social media strategy.
Results: 40,791 downloads generated 3,847 new names gained in paid programs, 522 social media shares, 1,664 new sales opportunities, $582,471 multi-touch pipeline and $381,671 multi-touch revenue won.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
- Lack of Proper Tracking: Without tracking you can’t really measure results or build plans on how to improve. Tracking gives you valuable data that is crucial in growing a business.
- Lack of Content: Content is not only created to rank higher on search engines. It is also to create relationships with you customers/audience. There are lots of competitors who are doing all they can to capture customers and make them loyal to their brand, so if you’re not there you will be losing a lot of potential business.
- Misuse of Social Media Channels: Social media is not there so you could sell your product/service and talk about yourself. Social media is there to communicate with your customers and be of value to them. If you make it about you all the time, you’ll lose engagement and you’ll be missing on a huge opportunity to gain insights about you audience and how you can improve as a business.
Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?
Malak: It really depends on the nature of the business and the resources available, but I’ve always been a bigger fan of in-house digital marketing. Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Agencies offer specialized personnel and longer & more extensive experience in each domain, but in-house marketers would have a better understanding of the business and its needs. Even though some businesses would find it hard and time consuming to find the right candidates, I think it’s worth the investment on the long run. It’s also extremely important to note here that even if the business decides to let an agency handle all its marketing, there must be an in-house person or team responsible for dealing with the agency to build the right communication channels and make sure that marketing activities are being executed at the maximum level of efficiency.
Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?
Malak: Personally, I don’t really like using a lot of tools but I’m a fan of Marketo for marketing automation, Unbounce for landing pages A/B testing, and Google Analytics for digital analytics.
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
- For Entrepreneurs: Digital marketing will help in finding business opportunities like investors, partners, and potentially enthusiastic employees. I think this is the most important benefit that digital marketing will offer at the beginning. When there’s a business that has started, online marketing will help them in understanding their customers and creating awareness about their business.
- For Professionals: The world of marketing is going digital and you as a marketer need to stay in the game. Learning digital marketing will increase your chances in getting promoted or in finding a better job. The demand for digital marketers is on the rise and the earlier you join this field, the better.
- For Students: Learning about digital marketing will help you as a student to build your personal brand so that you guarantee you will find a job when you graduate. As more and more students are graduating, the competition is on the rise. Learning how to build an image for yourself on social media and blogs will give your resume a big push to start your career.
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?
Malak: I’m a big supporter of the “Hire the person, train the skills” motto when it comes to hiring. It’s not all about the skills to me, but I think that for someone to succeed in digital marketing, they should be good at numbers, qualitative analysis, attention to details, and should have a little bit of creativity.
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?
Malak: Never stop learning, and practice. Dedicate some time every day or every week to learn something new and stay updated with what’s happening in the digital marketing world. Learn how to work on major platforms, create dummy accounts and practice; nothing is more important than practice in the learning process. Being a digital marketer today means also you need to have some knowledge in design and coding, so make sure you learn a little bit of everything.
Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.
Malak: Larry Kim, Neil Patel, and Mari Smith
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?
Malak: I stay updated on the latest trends in the field by following digital marketing firms/specialists on social media and I’m subscribed to some blogs to receive news/posts in my email. My favorite would be PPC Hero, HubSpot, Moz, and Mashable.
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?
In 2016, I think businesses and marketers will be putting more effort on Marketing Automation, Creating Meaningful and Useful Content, and Mobile Marketing.
As for the more distant future, wearables will be playing a huge role in changing how businesses communicate with customers and honestly, I can’t wait for it. There’s a lot of progress in wearable technology; it’s not quite there yet but it will be.
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 :).