Digital Vidyarthi Speaks- Interview With Gaurav Shangari - Digital Vidya

Digital Vidyarthi Speaks- Interview with Gaurav Shangari

Pradeep Chopra (Co-Founder, Digital Vidya): Digital Marketing is one of the booming industries, and several marketers have understood the benefits of learning digital marketing. 

Today, we are talking to one such professional who understood the growing importance of digital marketing and took responsibility to change with the changing times.

Gaurav shangariGaurav Shangari, a marketing and communication professional for over 15 years, has worked with renowned companies in various sectors, such as advertising, consumer durables, printing & packaging, before moving to the nonprofit space.

With everything going digital and opportunities in the digital space exploding, Gaurav felt the need to future-proof himself by upgrading his skills along with being excited by the possibilities the digital space offered.

He joined Digital Vidya’s flagship Certified Digital Marketing Master (CDMM) program.

Gaurav has since worked on government-led projects as well as collaborations with private-sector companies such as Google, InfoEdge, Facebook, Larsen & Toubro Infotech, and PepsiCo.

He currently serves as a Senior Director in the Social Impact Practice of Avian WE, one of India’s leading integrated communication agencies.

Please brief us about your professional background including the importance of Digital marketing in your current profile.

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Gaurav: As a Marketing & Communications professional with over 15 years of experience, I worked with renowned companies in various sectors such as advertising, consumer durables, printing & packaging, etc.

In 2019, I made the transition to the social sector as the Marketing & Communications Lead for a US-based healthcare nonprofit handling the full gamut of responsibilities from digital to traditional marketing.

The move to the developing world gave me a renewed sense of purpose and since then I have led or worked on several communication campaigns for social impact projects both by the Government and private sector companies like Google, InfoEdge, Facebook, LTI, PepsiCo India, etc.

Currently, I serve as a Senior Account Director in the Social Impact Practice team at Avian WE, a leading integrated communications agency in India. As part of the agency, my work involves managing PR & communications which ranges from corporate communications to digital marketing campaigns for both CSR arms and development organizations.

Since this is an integrated communications role, in-depth knowledge of various aspects of digital marketing is crucial to be able to both strategize and implement campaigns that best serve the objectives of our clients and creates meaningful impact in an integrated manner.

When was the 1st time you experienced the power of digital marketing? What did you feel about Digital marketing then?

Gaurav: I was an early adopter of the internet and subsequently, social media so was always aware of the possibilities that the digital medium offered.

But the power of digital marketing seriously dawned on me when search engine marketing and social media advertising had begun to create a revolution in the marketing space.

Within a span of a few years, brands and companies had started including in their annual marketing plans and there was an environment of disruption in this space. At the time, I was tech-savvy and cognizant of the innovations that were happening in the space.

However, I had very little technical understanding of how digital marketing actually works and it felt like too complex a subject for someone like me without an IT background. This myth has been busted since.

Why did you decide to learn/master digital marketing skills?

Gaurav: Since the mid-2010s, I was a bystander to the major paradigm shift brought on by digital marketing and quickly realized that it was imperative for marketers today to keep up or get left out.

Everything was going digital and opportunities in this space were exploding so I felt the need not only to future-proof myself by upgrading my skills but was also excited by the possibilities it offered.

It took me a few years to get to a position where I could make use of the power of digital marketing but in early 2018 I finally took the plunge with Digital Vidya’s flagship CDMM program.

According to you, why should one build a career in digital marketing?

Gaurav: Digital marketing today is ubiquitous and every company, brand, and influencer today are clamoring for the attention of their target audiences and to create a presence in the digital realm. What this has translated into is a burst of opportunities at every level for people from all walks of life.

Digital marketing is no longer the playground of technocrats but accessible to everyone with a penchant for learning and a willingness to keep up with the pace of change in this space.

Of course, people with dedication and skill stand out but the market today has so many niche specializations that it has room to absorb almost everyone willing to put in a decent effort.

Which are your favorite 3 digital media channels (e.g. Facebook, Google, etc) and why?

Gaurav: I have seen the rise of Facebook happening before my eyes and it is still a mainstay of most organizations’ digital marketing plans. Apart from that, I believe LinkedIn has one of the strongest organic content reaches today and has done an excellent job of carving a niche for itself.

However, at the same time, one cannot ignore the power of good old email marketing which is still one of the strongest channels for lead nurturing and conversion.

Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?

Gaurav: Three digital marketing tools are-

  • Hootsuite offers one of the best social media management suites available today, in my opinion.
  • Canva is my favorite tool in the recent past for the way it has democratized graphic design for all.
  • And lastly, a robust tool like AHRefs or SEMRush is absolutely essential not only for SEO but general marketing intelligence and research.

Share the names of 3 people you look up to when it comes to digital marketing.

Gaurav: Neil Patel is one person I sincerely admire for the wealth of his technical knowledge of space. Another is Gary Vaynerchuk who has an uncanny ability to forecast trends in digital marketing and simplify them for the layperson.

Not specifically for digital marketing but Seth Godin in general is a marketing guru and his books I feel are a must for every marketer in the modern era.

How do you stay updated on the latest trends in digital marketing? Which Digital marketing resources (i.e. blogs/websites/apps) do you visit regularly?

Gaurav: I follow several digital marketing pages and accounts on social media which helps me keep abreast of the latest developments, trends, and innovations in the sector.

Apart from that I regularly listen to the Marketing School Podcast by Neil Patel and visit the Social Media Examiner blog to stay updated.

Which course of Digital Vidya did you participate in? How did it help you acquire new skills related to digital marketing?

Gaurav: I participated in the Certified Digital Marketing Master program at Digital Vidya which covered a range of modules under the digital marketing umbrella.

The course helped me get a bird’s eye view of this space and working knowledge of each of the modules to the extent that I can confidently draft a marketing strategy, design campaigns, and ensure ROI for my company or clients.

Why did you choose Digital Vidya’s course?

Gaurav: Digital Vidya created a reputation for itself early on by providing higher quality education in digital marketing compared to much more expensive “branded” courses.

I went through the curriculum in detail before making my decision and the fact that it was completely online was a major plus for a working professional like myself.

How has the course contributed to your career growth including new job opportunities?

Gaurav: The course from Digital Vidya and the knowledge of digital marketing have played a key role in the trajectory of my career over the last few years. The course gave me the confidence to apply for positions that had digital marketing as an important requirement for the role.

Over the last few years, I’ve managed several digital marketing campaigns and have contributed significantly to shaping the marketing and communications strategy of organizations or clients that I worked for.

I have since seen incredible growth in position and compensation because of the results that I delivered and the ability to keep up with changing trends.

What is your advice to newbies who wants to build a career in digital marketing?

Gaurav: Digital marketing is not just limited to a technical understanding of the tools/apps/software that we use in our day-to-day work. A newbie needs to be equally if not more thorough with the fundamentals of marketing as a subject which is at the heart of a career in this space.

Without an understanding of marketing principles, consumer psychology, and campaign design – one can find a job in this domain but the ceiling for growth would be much lower.

Also, one needs to keep up with the changes in this field so reading, listening, or watching digital marketing-specific content is absolutely essential!

For someone who’s looking at a full-time or part-time job or an internship in Digital Marketing, what approach would you advise?

Gaurav: Assuming that your skillset is at a place where you are at par with the market, it is very important to study and analyze the company or brand that you want to work for.

Offer them something in the form of a project or a strategy document that would either be a significant improvement over their current practices or a completely new idea that could benefit them.

Don’t be afraid to add value to your potential company or client even before they have hired you. Cold emails and CVs are a dime a dozen but showing them tangible results will always be an advantage for you over others. At the very least, you will get to learn much more when working on real-world projects.

Digital media especially Social media channels such as Facebook can eat up a lot of your productive time if not used wisely. Do you agree? What can one do to efficiently leverage these channels for personal & professional growth?

Gaurav: I am absolutely in agreement with this statement and have also experienced it personally. Mindless scrolling or partaking in non-productive activities on social media has its own role to play but should be very strictly limited.

Both personal and professional growth will only take place when one uses these tools and channels with a purpose in mind. Mindfulness is key and one should be aware at all times of what the time spent on any activity is going to give them back in the short or long term. The operative word to remember here is ROI – return on investment of time and money.

How do you see digital media evolving in the future?

Gaurav: With the exponential growth in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies, I think they will play a critical role in the future of marketing. We are already seeing low-code and no-code marketing tools that seem miraculous at first glance so digital marketing is going to become increasingly accessible for everyone.

In a scenario such as this, what will help one stand out is of course the ability to keep up with trends but also the return to basic marketing fundamentals. Technologies will come and go but what will keep a marketer relevant is an understanding of its target audience’s motivations and triggers.

Would you like to share a few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya in educating others about digital marketing?

Gaurav: I would like to commend Digital Vidya for being one of the pioneers of digital marketing education in a world full of brand-name institutions. They have some of the most knowledgeable trainers and the curriculum is regularly updated to keep up with the times.

Even the tasks and projects are very practical that translate seamlessly to the real world and equip students to perform with confidence in any situation that comes their way.

Are you inspired by the opportunity of Digital Marketing? Start your journey by attending our online Digital Marketing Foundation Masterclass worth Rs 1999 FREE :).

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Digital Marketing 101
Date: Feb 01 (Wed), 2023
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