Tushar Bakaya started off pursuing the age-old Indian dream of becoming an engineer, but then somewhere down the line he realized that digital marketing was his calling. He graduated an engineer, but right afterwards opened his own startup called Creatix Web Solutions, which provided clients with digital marketing solutions. Later Tushar decided to get into e-commerce and worked in top e-commerce companies, such as Healthkart, LimeRoad, AskMe & AskmeBazaar.
Since then, Tushar has never looked back.
How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?
Tushar: I come from a middle-class family and my graduation was extremely expensive. In order to lessen the burden on my family, I started writing articles, flipping domains, flipping websites, developing websites, promoting websites for small clients when I was in the 2nd year of College. Since then, I have worked for more than 1200 clients and never looked back.
In 2006-2007, online marketing was very new to India, so most of my clients were from the US and Europe. DigitalPoint.com was my first learning source of online marketing and it has always remained very close to my heart.
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?
Tushar: Conventional marketing is very different from Digital Marketing. Conventional marketing is about market research without any proper metrics in place. There is no ROI (return on investment) involved in conventional offline or media marketing. You simply go by guts and assumptions.
On the other hand, digital marketing is all about data and more data. Year on year, the metrics associated with digital marketing are increasing exponentially and with the coming of mobile, digital marketing has only got more complex, yet more efficient.
Digital marketing allows us immense amount of optimization and makes us responsible for every penny spent. The same cannot be said about offline or conventional marketing. Another important difference between both is, that once you commit in conventional marketing, there is no going back. Whereas in case of digital marketing, campaigns can be paused or optimized at any moment of time.
8-10 years back, I did not think digital marketing will pose such a big threat to conventional marketing. However, now everything is digital. With the coming of e-commerce, every firm wants the best ROI and in order to optimize your spends, you need to go digital. I will not be shocked if in the next 5 years, conventional marketing reduces to 10% of what digital marketing is.
Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?
Tushar: To be honest, I don’t believe in reading case studies. All my knowledge about online marketing has come from hardcore hands on experience.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
- Most firms these days have a huge amount of investment and they start splurging on digital marketing without any proper product or metrics in place. As a result, there is no revenue and only cost flow.
- Most of the firms out there are not data based. Luckily, for me I have always worked in organizations that take every decision based on data. Digital marketing without data is like a Ferrari with CNG.
- Wrong recruitment. All top firms these days think an MBA from a good institute will provide them with a good digital marketing recruit. As explained above, digital marketing comes from experience and not books. Companies, which focus on experience rather than communication skills and degrees, have much better recruits and as a result a much better product.
Between Agencies and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?
Tushar: I never opt for agencies. For me everything has to be in house. Companies, which depend upon agencies, are least optimized and fold up quickly. On the other hand, companies, which depend upon in house talent, are able to optimize and scale up very quickly. In all the companies I have worked with, I have never ever hired any digital marketing agency. I am not anti agencies, but an agency guy has 100 clients associated with him/her, as a result efficiency reduces. Secondly, an agency person will never be as emotional about the firm as an in house guy.
Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?
Tushar: I love data so all my favorite tools are related to digital marketing, data and analysis.
- Mix Panel (best platform for mobile app analysis)
- Omniture (best platform for desktop and wap analysis)
- Sail Thru (best platform for email marketing)
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
- For Entrepreneurs: Most startups fail, because CEO’s do not micro manage. The reason they can’t micro manage is because of lack of digital marketing knowledge. Most startups do marketing 100% online and if you are not technically adept, you will not be able to lead your organization from a marketing point of view.
- For Professionals: Everything is going digital. Conventional offline print and media advertising is dying and digital is growing. Lack of digital marketing knowledge will hinder your marketing growth, as you will be in adept to handle huge budgets, meet targets and increase ROI.
- For Students: Same as professionals. No organization these days does not indulge in digital marketing. From a technology firm to a MNC to a food startup, every organization is exposing itself on the net by going digital.
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?
- Strong Analytical Skills.
- Knowledge about Mobile WAP and App (every company is going mobile).
- Knowledge about basic advertising/analytical platforms such as Google Adwords, Facebook, MixPanel, Omniture, Google Analytics.
- Complete digital marketing knowledge including affiliate marketing, SEM, App Installs, email marketing and SMO.
- Strong mathematical skills.
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?
Start with one field, become an expert in that and then move onto another field.
I started off with Search Engine Marketing. Now, I have in depth knowledge of the following:
- Mobile App Advertising
- Mobile App Retention
- Email Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Expertise in analytical platforms such as MixPanel, GA, Omniture, MAT, Appsflyer.
- Social Media Marketing
- Web Analytics
- User Retention
- CPC / CPA / CPL / CPI / CPS / CPT modes of marketing.
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?
Tushar: Honestly as discussed above, I do not believe in reading. I simply believe in getting my hands dirty. I have been lucky to work in very good e-commerce firms and as a result have a lot of exposure. I love meeting Google, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. account managers, who in turn provide information about latest Digital Marketing technologies.
Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.
Tushar: I do not follow or have any digital marketing person as my idol. However, over the years I have learned a lot from amazing managers and CEO’s. Following people I respect a lot:
- Suchi Mukherjee (CEO – LimeRoad)
- Animesh Jain (Ex VP – Marketing, HealthKart)
- Avinash Chandra (Ex GM – Marketing, HealthKart)
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?
Tushar: Digital marketing will evolve exponentially over the years and become more and more complex. Digital marketing in India started with basic desktop advertising and now it is all about mobile app advertising and retention. I see the following trends in 2016:
- 80% to 20% traffic split between mobile and desktop.
- Death of WAP and 100% growth of mobile app.
- More focus on user retention rather than customer acquisition.
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
You guys are doing a wonderful job and building next gen digital marketers. Digital marketing is one of the hottest profiles out these days and with everything going digital, there is no sign of it slowing down or dying. So keep up the excellent work. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to express my views about digital marketing.
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 :).