Mohit Doda has been in the Digital Marketing industry in India since a decade now. He feels lucky to have worked with some very curious minds in digital agencies like Webchutney and Interactive Avenues and later spent 4 years in ecommerce companies like Koovs.com and Zoffio.com.
In his current role, he is leading Digital Marketing at Reliance Trends, Bangalore where he manages Social Media Marketing, Email/Mobile Marketing and Digital Campaigns to drive brand awareness and impact footfalls to the retail stores.
How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?
Mohit: Since I had studied Advertising & Marketing Communications, it was a natural progression to get into an ad agency. While the rest of my batch mates went on to join much sought after agencies like Ogilvy, McCann & others, I joined the then very small digital agency Webchutney as a Copywriter. The year was 2006 and digital was still small. People around me were mostly sceptical and used to ask, ‘Why digital?’
I think the fun of learning something new was one of the main reasons I got into this totally uncharted territory. Later I went on to lead creative teams at various agencies. Since digital as a medium is constantly evolving and maturing, it propelled me to not limit myself to creative alone. I wanted to learn more about analytics, ecommerce and marketing automation too and thus spent a couple of years in ecommerce startups.
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?
Mohit: Conventional marketing has worked for brands for many decades and hence preferred for brand building. Traditional advertising not just gives brands a larger than life appeal but also gives immense reach. Even ecommerce companies are heavy spenders on TV, radio and print. Traditional marketing gives access to audience who may not be online yet or may not be using digital actively. A TV campaign can get those people to come online and try your product.
Digital is a much more intelligent medium and offers such versatility that a company of any size can make use of it. It helps keep marketing stay relevant with the time. Yes, the digital pie is growing each year but there will always be enough opportunities for both the formats to co-exist. Especially in a country like India, where we have a very diverse kind of audience, no medium is going to become obsolete any time soon.
Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?
Mohit: My list of favorite digital marketing case studies include few campaigns that were executed 8 to 10 years back. However, to keep it relevant, I would pick these three that have caught my attention in the recent years.
- Mc Donald’s ‘Our Food. Your Questions’:
A YouTube campaign to address the doubts consumers had about Mc Donald’s food quality, source of food procurement and even the way they marketed their food.
What I like the most: They had a problem to which they reacted at the right time using the relevant digital medium. They directly tackled the misconceptions that consumers had using videos to drive home the point. In doing so, they not only offered first-hand proof but also revealed a lot more about their brand philosophy and work culture, winning the trust of millions of consumers.
- Etsy’s ‘Handmade Portraits’:
Documentary styled video series featuring engaging stories of sellers and their craft.
What I like the most: How the brand turned storyteller and were able to tread that fine line between telling and selling. The entire campaign was brilliantly executed such that it came across as a genuine intent to promote the craft and the craftsperson, and not the brand. A very smart content marketing strategy!
- LOUIS XIII Cognac’s ‘100 Years’:
The brand has come up with a revolutionary concept by creating a movie that will be released after 100 years, just like the spirit that embodies a century in a glass. The movie will be placed in a fail-proof safe that will open automatically after 100 years. Guests who will see the premier of the movie will be descendants of those invited currently.
What I like the most: Even though on the face of it, this idea looks far-fetched, what appeals to me is how seamlessly it gels with the brand philosophy. Just like how thecreator of each decanter of this Cognac does not get to taste the masterpiece, the crew and actors of the movie will not be able to see the release. It is a revolutionary campaign that is futuristic and sure to intrigue generations to come.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
- Organizations are going digital without understanding the medium. They create social presence, start running ad campaigns, without clear objectives in mind. A lot of companies don’t even bother to measure the effectiveness of the campaigns.
- Most of the traditional companies are using digital only for marketing. While there’s nothing wrong in it, but going digital means relooking at each consumer touch point to see how digital can solve a problem or optimize processes/costs. Digital can’t be just a 5-10% pie from your ad monies. It’s time to embrace digital thinking, not just marketing.
- Indian companies are not evolved when it comes to design. Only recently we have seen the new age companies use design to focus on user interface and user experience. Most of the traditional companies still don’t get it right and fail to deliver a great experience. Indian organizations (client or agency) are also mediocre at campaign optimization. It saddens me to see that a lot of them can’t even create a good landing page. Very few of them use tools for A/B testing, automation or finer analytics.
Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?
Mohit: Well, for an online business, I prefer the in-house approach to have better control. When you have a dedicated team, the possibilities are infinite. I strongly believe that any marketing team, digital or otherwise, needs to be closer to the product/design team and the management. They need to understand the industry and come up with insights, which can make all the difference to marketing.
Having said that, I will also add that there could be certain functions, like creative where agency could deliver better results. You may not always have the best of talent in your company.
Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?
Mohit: While there are more than 2000 digital marketing tools available, close to half of them can actually be unique in some or the other way. A simple tool like bit.ly or a live chat tool can also offer big help to any digital marketing team. However, if I were to pick a few, these would be Google Analytics, Visual Website Optimizer, Marketo, Clicktale, and ReTargeter.
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
- For Entrepreneurs: You need to learn Digital Marketing so that you can make the right marketing decisions. Or you will be forced to agree to what your digital agency or digital marketing manager says. If you do not understand digital marketing, your argument will be baseless. Not just that, you are the best person when it comes to knowledge about the customer, the product, and the company vision. If you learn even the basics of digital marketing, you will be able to connect the dots and come up with better marketing ideas.
- For Professionals: Since digital marketing is ever evolving and can, at times, be utterly perplexing with new tools and platforms, continuous learning will make you stay relevant in the industry. If you stop updating your skills and knowledge, trust me, this isn’t for you. If you are a professional who handles traditional marketing, it would still help you create better integrated campaigns.
- For Students: If you are considering digital marketing as a career option, hands-on training helps immensely because the course curriculum in our colleges/B-schools are usually not updated regularly. I am not sure how much of digital marketing is covered in the college marketing books.
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?
- The candidate should be quick on the uptake. The way companies function nowadays, people don’t have time to ‘train’ other colleagues. You learn as you get your hands dirty.
- The person needs to love marketing. I don’t look for people who work on tools alone. Marketing is very human. All the digital marketing techniques can fail if you do not connect with your customer well.
- The person needs to be very imaginative. As mentioned above, technology alone can’t create magic. You need to understand the possibilities that the digital medium gives you and put them to use in a creative way. And creative doesn’t only mean innovative copy or design. I have seen SEO, Media, and Technology professionals get very creative in their approach and break their boundaries.
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?
Mohit: Stay inquisitive. Ask questions. Keep your eyes and ears open and track cultures and sub cultures around you. Understand people, their desires, their buying behaviour, what moves them, what they do online, what they love, what they hate. Learn about the digital medium, interesting tools which will help you weave compelling brand stories and deliver great results. And don’t forget to have lots of fun while you do this!
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?
Mohit: I read a lot of blogs related to marketing/design/technology trends and also go through industry white papers. Most of the marketing tech companies have pretty good blogs. I read Occam’s Razor, HubSpot Blog, Unbounce Blog, UXbooth.com and TechCrunch frequently, among many others.
Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.
Mohit: I respect those product managers and tech teams who have built great products for this industry – the tools we use every day, the complex algorithms behind the seemingly simple logics. I do not wish to mention some oft-repeated names here but truly admire the work done by the silent forces who deserve everyone’s respect.
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?
Mohit: As I mentioned above, I think it is unwise to limit digital to only marketing. If a brand does so, it is yet to understand digital. You can’t go digital by having a presence on social media or running ad campaigns. You need to think digital in everything you do. This is how digital marketing is evolving. It is transcending the ‘conventional digital marketing’. The digital marketing personnel are becoming key drivers of progressive thinking, which is a mix of product interventions through technology, evolved customer experience and data driven decision making. Three trends that I foresee in 2016:
- 2015 helped majority of the marketers realize that India is a mobile heavy market. We also saw that mobile is app heavy until now. 2016 should see some interesting marketing on mobile which is beyond apps.
- I see brands investing heavily in video content in 2016. While this was true for 2015 too, but this year only a handful of brands created digital video content. Next year we will see most of the major brands following this trend. I also feel that a lot of this video content will not be product oriented. Brands will endorse positive causes frequently.
- We will see brands spending significant budgets on paid social media.
Personally I am waiting to see some innovation around IoT, omni channel retail and personalization at scale, in 2016. These are yet to take off in a big way in India.
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
Mohit: Since digital marketing is somewhat technical and you need to understand how things work, training is highly recommended to those planning to make a career in it. You may learn from others at work, but a well-defined training course along with certification can make a lot of difference. Not only that, even seasoned professionals who have spent years in conventional marketing may benefit greatly from digital marketing training. This is an area where Digital Vidya has established itself.
I’d also like to mention that Digital Vidya is extremely good at marketing itself. They use some of the best digital marketing techniques including content marketing, SEO & SEM, webinars and a well optimized website!
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 :).