Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran has been in sales and marketing, especially in technology space from last 7 years and started his career as Dentist. He did private practice for about 5 years and then he got into management and did his MBA and since then he has been in sales and marketing in the technology space. In the past, he has worked for companies like CSC, Wipro, IBM and now he is heading marketing for the firm callled, Almetrik.
Digital Vidya: How did you get into Digital Marketing?
Dr. Vikram: This did not come by choice actually. In the year 2008, I was leading sales for CSC and if you remember, the year 2008 was the year of recession when the banks were stepping down etc., so there was a big cut on spendings, especially on the normal channels you would use like face to face promotional events and going to third party conferences etc. so at that time I realized that all the smart marketers started to switch to digital and they started using webinars, webcasts, and co-incidently that was the time when social grew. So, all of sudden marketers had different options such as using digital, using social media, using the website as a corner stone of their digital marketing strategy. So, I think that was the turning point but still I believe that online and offline presence has to be complementary. You can’t have two different strategies and I believe digital is one channel for implementing your marketing strategy. And definitely its much cheaper, the scale is much wider, and playing with analytics and right tools can be very profitable.
Digital Vidya: Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
Dr. Vikram: The primary reason is that because your customers are their, as simple as that. Lot of consumers are consuming content in the digital format. Obviously, it differs from industry to industry but if you look at most of the major industries, almost everybody has switched to digital. All major firms have websites so if your are trying to sell management services or marketing services, you have to be on digital because that’s the place where your customer is based. Another reason is that if you do the assessment of sale of professional services in any industry, you would see that almost 50% – 60% of the professional services which are sold off, are financial services but a very close second is marketing services. So, if you look at the hinge report i.e. the hinge survey on sale of professional services, almost 40% of respondent says that they buying marketing services mostly through a digital format. So, if you are not doing then your competitors are doing it. So, you have no choice. And thirdly, I would say is; however, its should not be the main reason but of course it is much cheaper.
Digital Vidya: According to you, what are the top mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
- I would say that digital marketing asset which you have is your own website. Not paying enough attention to the website, not having the right relevant content, not having engaging content, having website content which is not updated, inconsistencies in what you are saying on some other channels and the website content, that is the biggest mistake people make
- Another big mistake which people make is not integrating social into the website, and
- Lastly, they don’t spend enough time in doing search engine optimization and off-page optimization
I think these are three major mistakes which people make.
Digital Vidya:You led ‘Influencer Marketing: How To Identify And Engage With Your Influencers’ Webinar for Digital Vidya’s community. How was your experience in leading the Webinar?
Dr. Vikram: It was a holiday that day which we didn’t realized when we fixed the day for webinar. But still we had 45 to 50 people in webinar which is encouraging. Secondly, I got a lot of questions and I got a lot of feedback even after the webinar from various participants which showed that I had at least planted a thought in their minds.
This is a relatively new field, not much has been written about it. Some firms are just experimenting with it right now. So, I feel in India, its important that we start moving in that direction. Overall experience of leading the webinar was good.
Digital Vidya: Please share top 5-7 takeaways from the Webinar you would like to share with our community.
- The most important thing which I belive is that 3 things that a marketer needs, whether it is influencer marketing or digital marketing, is not to have many decisions on his/her past experiences. The world is changing constantly so what has succeeded in the past will not succeed in future and that’s what I wanted to emphasize very clearly. Do I have all the answers? No! I don’t have all the answers but we are looking for the answers and I may have some positive solutions.
- Every marketer should be very comfortable with technology. I am not saying you start coding or learn HTML 5 or CSS but if you are not comfortable with technology then you are already at a very big disadvantage because going forward, marketing will be entirely driven by technology, whether it is listening, analytics, automation and all the works. It is going to be driven heavily by technology and digital marketing is a big part of it.
- Another thing is that whether you like it or not what marketers need is a very-very good approach to gain knowledge. Things are changing rapidly and new formats of marketing are coming in such as new information, new social sites, new technology. I mean just look at the Google for example. Just look into the number of updates Google brings out, whether it is the Panda update or the Penguin update. You have to be on the top of all of this and you should know this before anybody else.
- Apart from this, the fourth takeaway would be the old ways of business are probably coming to an end. We may not see that emphasis on traditional channels like celebrity endorsements, advertisement and PR and that’s why I feel that influencer marketing will play a very important role in next couple of years and finally if you have any great ideas to send them out then it is very important to share information. No idea is bad but what I feel is it is not the bad idea but it is the bad implementation.
Digital Vidya: Do you have any suggestions for us to further increase the value of our Digital Marketing Webinars for our community?
Dr. Vikram: I think you are doing a great job. I feel there is a big gap when it comes to digital and social in India. There are very few channels that are doing a great job. You are one of them. I think now what you look into is that how can India utilize some of the greater and broader technology in the global era. I think that’s the direction which nobody has taken and we should start taking. When we talk about things even like influencer marketing, I was trying to focus on where India is concerned and not trying to take it outside that context because we live in and serve this country, which have potential if you ask me and I really like the format. I would recommend you to have more industry experts. It will be great to hear perspectives of various industries and see what they have done.
Digital Vidya:Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
Dr. Vikram: I think I have heard two of your webinars. I have not attended your course and I have not even got a chance to go through the new modules. I think you are probably one of the first in India to start looking at digital very seriously and what I really like about the format is, it can be consumed anywhere, anytime and with any device. It is very convenient and I also feel that your outreach has also reached the B-schools, which is very important because what happens is most of the B-schools do not have a formal curriculum and they don’t have enough of professors with practical experience in digital, which is relatively new. So through Digital Vidya, I think a lot of students have taken digital information and I think Digital Vidya is not only for working professionals but also for lot of students as well. I think you people are doing a phenomenal job in that.