Prabhanjan Deshpande is a marketing professional with a fair amount of experience in technology services marketing. He has worked with a range of companies ranging from large enterprises, mid-tiers as well as start-ups and hard-ups helping them build their brand while contributing to their growth agenda. Prabhanjan was the Head of Corporate Communications and Digital Marketing at IGATE, till a few months before its acquisition by Capgemini.
For a significant part of Prabhanjan’s career, he was with IGATE donning different roles in marketing as well as sales and was part of some high decibel campaigns during his tenure with the company that involved several facets of marketing. With two other companies, Prabhanjan has been involved with the setting up of their marketing function, including people, processes, tools, market segmentation and messaging, and budgeting. In Prabhanjan’s current profile, he runs Marketing and Communications for LiquidHub India. The company is a digital integrator offering customer engagement solutions to its clients, so running marketing programs for such a company makes it all the more exciting.
How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?
Prabhanjan: I don’t think there is a choice. It’s like saying, what interested you to start using a mobile phone a decade ago! When something is ubiquitous, we better embrace it optimally, lest we become invariable outcasts. From a career perspective, I can say, I grew with it, as it grew on me.
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?
Prabhanjan: I believe that we cannot confine Marketing to any convention. Marketing ought to take shapes and sizes that befits changing demands and dynamics. That said, I do believe that Digital is the new convention; hence, no question of any threat.
Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?
- I would love to talk about the campaign on Business Outcomes I was part of, at IGATE. We used a lot of digital media to promote an unconventional way of doing IT business. Our intent was to create a lot of buzz on the digital and social platforms so we were bold enough to create a message that was quite on the face. While a lot of them outside weren’t convinced with the way we went about doing it, I do believe that as marketing anchors, we achieved what we set out with.
- I am also tempted to talk about the brand refresh we did at IGATE, which had seen tempests of different kinds including a CEO change. We went about creating positive vibes internally and externally using interesting digital ideas, including a selfie video chain by employees.
- Being politically agnostic, I have to admit the perception created as part of Modi’s election campaign two years ago, the ripples of which have reached most parts of the globe.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
Prabhanjan: Tough to enlist just three. Most of us only do mistakes!
- Digital Marketing is treated as a separate function within Marketing often tucked into Branding. It cannot be a different function. It is a way of life. Marketing is digital.
- Adding to the mistake above, people who are given the charge of running it, are often those who are least savvy digitally as an individual. I believe that being digital or social professionally, must be a natural extension of one’s individual behaviour.
- Everyone looks for a cool idea that can go viral by the press of a button. Remember, Digital Marketing isn’t a button, but a process.
Paradoxically, I have seen a lot of companies offering bleeding edge technology and digital-led solutions to clients outside, while they remain primitive and stone-aged themselves in their processes.
Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?
Prabhanjan: It depends on the size of the organization. However, I believe that the brain has to reside in the company, while the arms and legs can come from the Agency. I don’t subscribe to the thought of outsourcing your thinking. This also challenges Agencies to be more consultative and more risk-taking as digital partners than offering a “once-size-fits-all” solution.
Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?
Prabhanjan: Tools are aplenty. In fact, new tools can be built based on the features needed. I think it is more important to identify the right media to target your customers these days. For instance, we still see so many B2B companies that do websites that are laptop/desktop friendly while more than 70% of their customers use tablets and smartphones. I am still excited to see how we can harness the power of social collaboration and conversation tools on smartphones such as WhatsApp or Snapchat; how we can best use video marketing, since that could be the most effective way of marketing; and how can we use digital media to grab our customer’s attention to buy our product or service exactly at his moment of need!
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
- For Entrepreneurs: To not be left behind.
- For Professionals: To not be left behind.
- For Students: To not be left behind.
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?
Prabhanjan: One must be savvy, naturally. He must be street smart and an expert communicator – someone who can even make a stone talk. Social and mingling attitude. This is NOT a desk job. Again, let me challenge the norm. Why do we need someone who knows only digital marketing exclusively?
In my opinion, we should have marketing professionals who are adept in running campaigns digitally or digitally certified professionals with the ability to understand marketing holistically.
I am a little south of the idea of treating someone exclusive just for Digital Marketing.
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?
Prabhanjan: The newbies are best placed, considering their exposure to digital marketing while they grow. I don’t think a lot of them can even relate to a world that we grew in, without the Internet and mobile phones, so orthodoxy and conservatism may not bother them. They hence can fit the new demands of Marketing quite well. However, they must learn to be steadfast, persistent and have the stamina to play long. I somehow don’t see an urge to work hard in the current lot of young entrants. Everything isn’t on the Internet. They ought to realize the world that’s not on the Internet and work hard to know about it!
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?
Prabhanjan: Here, I strongly recommend to choose a good news aggregator. It could be as basic as Twitter, or even tools like Flipboard of Paper.li. Rather than looking for a few good portals, let these aggregators bring you news and trends as they happen, from all the right sources.
Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.
Prabhanjan: I respect all the young guns who don’t know what life is, without digital marketing!
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?
Prabhanjan: Content customization and localization will only get better; analytics will get bigger and bigger; from an execution perspective, I think marketing managers will, slowly but surely, give way to campaign managers who can integrate all elements of marketing and run them digitally, making marketing more efficient as well as effective.
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
I am glad that Digital Vidya is putting method to the madness. Good to see you demystifying digital marketing while socializing its seriousness among corporates and individuals. My best wishes to the entire team here.
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 :).