After finishing his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering (2004), Alok Dalvi started working into Mainframe Development and he was implementing hard core IT Financials solutions in Banking and Risk domains across USA and Europe until 2008.
In 2009, Alok moved away from Closed Systems into Open Source systems and the legacy nature of Open Source Systems glued him to explore more into it and gradually he started mastering the art of Digital Marketing. Alok’s journey started with designing complex Content Management Systems followed by Search Engine Optimization and then Social Media and rest started falling in place.
By 2010, he earned an MBA degree (IT and Marketing) with distinction from a leading European Institute and by now Alok started thinking more from business angle and less from technical side. Back then, he was always curious to know how his technical solutions can benefit the business. Alok’s curiosity led him to be a part of a highly innovative and creative teams in Europe who were building Online solutions like Online Expos, Virtual Events, Online B2B directories and Online Shopping Malls. He was actively involved in product development and digital marketing campaigns for these products.
In 2012, Alok moved back to India and started working for a leading digital agency as an Account Director and delivered successful digital solutions to leading brands in India and abroad. He also worked on some innovative products like Bid Optimizer (for Google Ads, FB Ads and Twitter Ads) and Social Finder (Social Media Intelligence).
After working for couple of startups until 2014, he joined back Wipro (his first company) as a Digital Marketing Lead for its BPS division.
How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?
Alok: While working in Europe, as a part of my assignment I was asked to make some project plans and take delivery for Digital Marketing from a Canadian Agency. I was little bit hesitant to take delivery as I had no clue about Digital Marketing and it would have made my job difficult while making the estimations. I spoke to my superiors about this and my organization arranged a digital marketing training program with a leading Canadian Digital Franchise in Europe. First chapter I learned was in SEO and then Analytics and last chapter was Social Media campaigns.
What fascinated me towards Digital Marketing was playing around with Content Management Systems like Drupal, Joomla and WordPress to configure my SEO elements. I was so excited back then that I used to work more than 16 hours a day playing around with complex SEO algorithms to boost my SEO rankings. And by the end of my training program I had developed my own social media site for my organization using Dolphin (open source CMS). And after this I never looked back. I am still same eager and hungry to learn more on digital marketing concepts. Digital Marketing is like an ocean and there is no end to it.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
- Underestimating the value of content: There is no digital marketing without content. Content is the heart and soul of all digital marketing campaigns. You will lose everything if you lack content. First person to hire in digital marketing team is the content writer.
- Paying less attention to Analytics: Organizations don’t know what are the right digital metrics to track. Many a times they don’t even know how to track the right metrics. Make sure you are tracking right data points else all your digital marketing efforts are going down to drainage.
- Hiring Digital Marketers with no basic understanding and background of Marketing: Campaigns fail miserably because there is no marketing flavor to these campaigns. AdWords certification is of no use if you don’t know 3 basic questions – Why? What? and How?
Which are your 3 favourite Digital Marketing Tools?
- Email Marketing (but it is the most misused and abused Digital Marketing Tool in India)
- Influencer Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
- For Entrepreneurs: Big Ideas need Big Thinking. And Digital Marketing is the perfect platform to think beyond your imaginations. You can reach an audience beyond your thinking.
- For Marketing Professionals: To make marketing function more transparent (in digital everything is tangible) and Reach to a wider targeted audience. A physical event can be only attended by limited people from 1 Geography but a Periscope, Google Hangout and a Facebook LIVE streaming has made it possible to reach beyond geographies.
- For Students: For the same reason as Marketing Professionals and Entrepreneurs. Students need to have hunger and curiosity to learn more. More skills you learn you add it to your market value.
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?
Alok: Couple of years back I use to regularly read Mashable, Social Media Today, Tech Crunch, Social Samosa (for Indian Updates) and various other online magazines and portals. But a year back I have automated it. I have setup alerts on Paper.li and every morning I get my Digital Marketing Newsletter which covers all the latest news and trends from all leading digital marketing magazines and portals. Now I don’t have to look into 10 different places to stay updated. I have automated everything to 1 stop shop.
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?
- Right Attitude
- Communication Skills
- Relevant Skills
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?
Alok: There is no short cut in Digital Marketing. More time you spend on ground stronger is your foundation and taller you will grow. Try to start with an Agency or a startup. You will learn the most in a startup or an agency. 1-year experience in an agency or startup is equivalent to 5 years of experience in a corporate world.
And last piece of advice – Don’t forget there is a marketing in “Digital Marketing”. Learn the Marketing Basics before Learning Digital Marketing. All the best!
Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.
- Mark Zuckerberg (he literally transformed the social media landscape)
- Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Founders of Google)
- WhatsApp Owners (Jan Koum & Brian Acton)
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?
Alok: Mobile Apps and Chat is the untapped and unexplored areas of Digital Marketing. Coming years, you can see a lot of development happening in these areas.
Top 3 Trends foresee for 2016:
We are already towards the end of 2016. So late 2016 and early 2017 I am expecting more concrete things happening on Marketing Automation, Programmatic Advertising and Native Advertising.
You led the webinar ‘Winfluencer Marketing’. How was your experience in leading the webinar?
Alok: My experience was very heart warming and inspiring. I was surprised to see some 30 odd people were logged in to webinar 15 minutes before start of webinar. I was stunned to see the excitement and participation of people during the webinar. I saw some 50+ questions were being asked. Unfortunately, I managed to answer only few of them.Wish I had more time to answer these questions.
Please share top 3-5 takeaways from the Webinar you led for our community.
- Invest in your available resources. Why look beyond when you have the resources in-house [Identify who are your Brand Advocates]
- Invest in Communication. Communicate well. Even big ideas fail because they are not communicated well.
- Don’t let the Curiosity Die. Only Curios Minds can change the game.
Do you have any suggestions for us to further increase the value of our Digital Marketing Webinars for our community?
Alok: Embed Social Media into your Webinars. Use a Twitter Chat or Hangout of Facebook LIVE Streaming.
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
Spreading the knowledge is a noble job. Keep doing these wonderful webinars and interviews with Experts and spread the knowledge of Digital Marketing to much greater and bigger audience.
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 :).