Alokedeep Singh currently leads E-Commerce at Titan Company managing an online retail business of brands such as Tanishq, Titan, Fastrack, Sonata, Skinn, Xylys(over 14 in-house and intl. licensed brands) across categories of jewelry, watches, accessories, perfumes & eye-wear.
Earlier to Titan, Alokedeep has managed Digital Strategy, Online Sales, Mobile-Internet Products & CRM at Financial institutions like ICICI Bank, ING Vysya Bank and Early Start-up Companies.
As an Industry leader, Alokedeep has been recognized through various awards, recently featuring among ’25 Most Influential E-Commerce Professionals of India’ by CMO Asia. In 2010, he was awarded IDC’s Enterprise Innovation Award for Technology & Business Excellence at the CIO Summit. He is one of the founding members of CII’s National Committee on E-Commerce
Digital for them besides being a medium for online sales, plays a major influence role for consumers who research their products, brands online before making a purchase decision even at physical stores/dealer outlets. Hence, it is not only about Web/Mobile campaigns for branding or performance; it is also about creating a compelling customer experience for each of our brands online.
How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?
Alokedeep: I think mine has been an unconventional career journey into digital, I started my career as an army officer! Post leaving the armed forces, during my MBA at IIFT, Delhi I developed interest in digital, even presenting a case paper on Mobile Commerce in way back in 2004(when Mobile primarily a medium for voice calls).
In my last decade or so spent in the Digital space, I have had opportunity to work for some of the most well-known consumer brands, across industries-Retail, Banking-Financial Services and even very early stage Start-up Companies.
What built interest in me for Digital was the unconventional nature of the medium (very much like my background when I started off in this space).There is a constant of stage of evolution and innovation which keeps it so exciting. Besides this, Digital is not only about marketing or communication, the inherent abilities of real-time reach-targeting, data-analytics, devices, behavior, tracking make it very interesting and ROI driven.
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?
Alokedeep: I have highlighted some of the advantages in my answer to the question above. Having said that don’t think it is an immediate threat to other mediums except for Print which I feel is slowly losing consumer share (especially from the younger audience)due to more and content being consumed digitally.
Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?
Alokedeep: I have not had a chance to take a detailed look at any ‘case studies’ post my MBA days, I definitely see a lot of good work being done in this space by lot of brands (both in India and abroad) who see as a medium of innovation, measurability and mass-audience reach. In the past 10 years Digital has seen a major shift from being an experimental channel (for most marketers who needed a lot of convincing to even allocate ad budgets) to becoming the most preferred medium today to target/reach relevant consumer audiences.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
- Treating Digital as an extension (read adaptation) of Other mediums like TV, Print – This is not going to yield anything in a day and age when consumers expect brands to curate content specific to devices(not even Digital) . Hence despite spending crores, such adaptations yield no insights and are very low performing on metrics.
- Not having a consistent Digital plan- adopting a start n stop approach to Digital Marketing which really doesn’t work like bursts of activity on TV or Outdoor. In this case, it takes time for digital campaigns to build especially in areas of Search advertising, social, affiliates, re-targeting, programmatic etc.
- Lack of defined metrics for in-house or agency driven campaigns– or simply lack of knowledge of what you can expect from a Digital Campaign- this is the most obvious one that I see, wherein investing large budgets wouldn’t yield anything.
Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?
Alokedeep: The answer to this is case based. Digital Marketing is not generic and hence requires skilled resources to run campaigns or manage digital properties.
Depending upon the kind of business, its size and expectations from this medium, the decision needs to be taken whether to have an in-house team/be agency driven or even a hybrid approach. What really matters is the skills, knowledge metrics of the person who owns this for the brand/organization. He/she should own the performance metrics and be able to drive it effectively through specialized agencies or build a team in-house.
Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?
Alokedeep: Don’t think there are any favorites here, because we have a large mandate of E-Commerce Sales and building Digital Influence for 14+ brands. This requires working with a wide variety to tools both On-site ( on aspects like user journey, experience, product discovery, search, personalization, analytics etc.) and Campaigns through mediums like Search, Display ads, E-mail, Social, Affiliates, Re-targeting etc.
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
Alokedeep: Digital, as I mentioned earlier is a specialized medium. Hence it is required for people, (whether it is entrepreneurs or marketing professionals or students) who aspire to work in the areas of Digital Marketing, E-Commerce, Technology driven Businesses to build capabilities that help them understand the nuances of this medium. Also, given that almost every industry is going digital, there is a high demand for Digital Marketing professionals.
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?
- Good understanding/knowledge of both Web and Mobile mediums/technologies
- Campaign Management/Execution experience
- Entrepreneurial bent of mind
- Good knowledge of Web Analytics & Performance Metrics
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?
Alokedeep: Build in a lot of self-learning besides what is taught in class-rooms, workshops.
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?
Alokedeep: Well, there isn’t any fixed list of resources or websites. I read a lot across the web on happenings, new trends in digital space. Besides this I attend industry events, conferences to meet people, network and understand what is working for them and if there is any learning that can be leveraged.
Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.
Alokedeep: In the last decade of mine spent in this space, I have met a lot of people doing fabulous work -Marketing Heads, Agency Ownersetc, it will be difficult to mention just 3 people.
Of course someone whom I consider a guru in this space is Brian Solis. I have had the privilege of attending some of his sessions, must say it’s always an inspiring experience.
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?
Alokedeep: Given that Digital is already the 3rd largest medium behind TV, Print (which is de-growing) in India and also the fastest growing, I expect a more integrated approach going forward between Digital and other mediums. In times of connected devices and audiences using multiple screens, it is necessary to have both an integrated approach and also curation specific to the device.
Within digital media, I see a lot of marketers shifting their ad spends to Programmatic for better targeting, efficiency, pre-targeting real time to become buzzier versus just re-targeting and of course Mobile’s share to continue to grow even bigger.
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
I think Digital Vidya is doing great work in building talent for the industry. With skills around digital marketing, advertising, web-analytics some of the most in demand today, not only will people who undergo your training programs benefit from employment opportunities it is helping create a whole ecosystem.
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 :).