Ankit Oberoi leads the business and marketing efforts @ AdPushup along with his Inbound Marketing team (Sujan and VJ). AdPushup is a SaaS company that helps web publishers increase their ad revenue by letting them test and optimize their website’s ad layout. Considering they’re an online business, nailing the digital strategy has been imperative for them. Their expertise has been content marketing, something which makes them stand out in their industry.
How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?
Ankit: What drew me and Atul (my co-founder @ AdPushup) towards digital marketing for the first time was necessity. We wanted to scale our initial businesses (SecFence and Innobuzz) and SEO was the most cost effective and fastest way to inform our audience, about our services.
But since then both of us have expanded our knowledge and have developed a vigorous appetite and respect for digital marketing tactics (like long tail keyword optimization, lead magnets) and strategies (like content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, PPC). What makes DM interesting, and challenging at the same time, is that its application and functions are constantly changing (from Google penalizing websites in search engines results for poor mobile experience to Facebook showing how powerful its ad targeting can be) and in order to stay competitive, you have to regularly update your skills and strategy with it.
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?
Ankit: Well I wouldn’t say one is better than another. Both traditional and digital marketing have their advantages and work best when implemented in tandem.
For instance when we attended a prominent two-day offline exhibition, in one fell swoop we acquired massive brand value and generated twice the number of leads than we usually do in two weeks. What makes these particular leads or this particular branding exercise special? Simply put – everyone of those leads were high converting sales qualified leads, meaning they were willing to start using our product. With just a 5-10 minute face to face conversation we were able to convince people to get onboard AdPushup – something which would have taken quite a lot of time and testing if the same result was expected from online marketing.
And since we were present there – in person, it gave us an opportunity to build trust and confidence with our audience instantly – again, something which would have taken a considerably longer lead conversion cycle, online.
But I mentioned earlier that traditional marketing and digital can do wonders when used together. During the aforementioned offline event we did just that by running a live online social media contest side by side with it. The contest on Twitter/Facebook went viral, and because of that we saw even more footfall on our booth and the website.
Can offline events scale at 10x? No. Can offline marketing help us re-target our users? No. Digital marketing has its own place, and so does conventional.
To answer the second part of your question – No, I don’t think digital marketing is a threat to conventional marketing. Both of these channels are an opportunity to better reach and convince your audience (think how companies like Coca-Cola or Unilever reach billions of their target market).
Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?
Ankit: I’m not sharing case studies per say but interesting anecdotes that inspired and intrigued me:
- How an Illegal Gambling Website Became the King of Marketing (Priceonomics)
What I find interesting about this case study is how GoldenPalace gamed the system and marketed to millions, with a fraction of the cost.
- Here’s How To Write an Email That Throws off a Whole Room’s Productivity (Moz)
What I like about this is that something as simple as a welcome email can be used as a powerful tool to convince and convert readers on your blog. Hustle’s honest and transparent informal tone resonated with visitors and turned them into regular readers.
- com – Our Blades Are F***ing Great
A company which created a viral product gag/commercial on YouTube using humor and music (and with a limited budget) that bought in thousands of signups and made them stand out from the competition in a monopolized market.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
- Expecting results too quickly – Building a brand using marketing takes time, testing and patience. Expecting to see results in just two or three months is naive and a sure way to lose out to the competition. If you start out with a (content marketing) blog’s publishing calendar – stick to it. Most companies fail to do that when they don’t see results and which is exactly what they shouldn’t do. Building trust with your audience and thought leadership takes time and consistency.
- Hiring the wrong people – Doing great marketing requires great people who have the right skills and experience. It’s like – if your marketing resources are a top notch race car – a talented marketer is the driver who brings in the trophy.
- Not understanding the value of Data in marketing – A lot of traditional companies don’t realize that the biggest successes in digital marketing have been unlocked only after unleashing and understanding the true power of digital marketing – Data. This means investing in models to understand the data which your marketing generates, producing hypothesis-driven experiments and finally translating that into insights and results. For example, at AdPushup, we try to create experiments across the following stages, every week, for all our paid marketing channels:
This weekly exercise has created a data driven, always optimizing culture in our marketing team.
Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?
Ankit: Here again, they both work well provided you hire the right people or the agency. The biggest challenge when working with agencies is finding a good one. 80% of agencies are crap; similarly your in-house team isn’t going to create results unless you hire very good people.
But I’ll tell you what’s even more important for businesses, especially startups: It is to have someone from the founding team being involved closely in the marketing, irrespective if it’s outsourced to an agency or an internal team. One big reason behind this is the understanding of the audience which a founder can bring in the process.
Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?
- GetResponse, to manage our email marketing
- BuzzSumo, for content marketing and SEO
- Mixpanel, for measurement and analytics
Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
- For Entrepreneurs: so that they can market their product and build an audience using next to no money
- For Marketing Professionals: TBH, if a marketing professional doesn’t understand digital, I won’t call him a marketing professional in the first place. Marketing is more competitive than ever and if marketing professionals aren’t investing in learning and updating their knowledge – they will become obsolete, along with the brands which they manage.
- For Students: same as professionals above – build skills to get better career opportunities and stand out from the competition.
What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?
- Based on the skill they are applying for (e.g. content marketing, content writer, Paid, SMM, SEM, SEO) – their knowledge and proficiency about the ins and outs of it
- Taking decisions and actions based on analytics & data
- Is big on self-learning, testing and implementation
- Good communication skills and willingness to work in a team
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?
- Read as much as you can (and then some more). Everything that you want to learn about DM is already available on the internet.
- Cultivate the habit of self-learning which is basically – learn > execute > if negative outcome > revise and rinse > execute > positive outcome. The key here is to not stop until the positive outcome is achieved.
- Learn how to communicate properly – verbally and in written form
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?
- Blogs like HubSpot, Moz, Wordstream
- Sites like ReadWrite, HackerNews, TechCrunch, SearchEngineJournal
- Forums like org, GrowthHackers, WarriorForum, ProductHunt
- Aggregated marketing lists in Feedly app
Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.
- Avinash Kaushik
- Seth Godin
- Rand Fishkin
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?
- Higher spending on pay per click advertising and remarketing for personalization
- Increased use of social ads (in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin etc.)
- Content marketing will rise exponentially
- Use of big data to analyze user behavior and generate customer insights
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
I believe Digital Vidya is at the forefront of teaching and breeding the next gen marketers. I have gone through some of the course material while participating at a Digital Vidya event and am happy to see that they are up to date with the current marketing landscape.
Interactions post Webinar on ‘Using Content To Fuel Your Sales Funnel‘:
You led the webinar ‘Using Content To Fuel Your Sales Funnel‘. How was your experience in leading the webinar?
Ankit: It was an excellent webinar; very well organized and curated.
Please share top 3-5 takeaways from the Webinar you led for our community.
Ankit: Takeaways for me on leading this webinar would be:
- Personas are key in content marketing – create them early
- Spend 50% time on content and 50% on distribution
- Use analytics to measure everything, learn, rinse and repeat.
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 :).