By qualification, Himanshu Arora is an Engineer in Computer Science from Delhi, and an MBA in Marketing. By passion, he is an online marketing with a strong affinity towards online branding and break-out marketing techniques. In his engineering, he learnt how to build things and products, and in his MBA, he learnt how to sell them. He has been in the online space and active on digital media since dial-up connections first made way to India and has seen almost the entire life-span of the Internet. This combination of qualification, passion and the will to start his own thing made him jump into the deep end of the pool and start his own Online Branding, Marketing and UI/UX Design and Consultancy Company– Social Panga based in Bangalore.
Digital Vidya: How did you get into Digital Marketing?
Himanshu: I was always very excited about the online space – because it opens up doors that are difficult for traditional marketing techniques, or would require a huge push in terms of money and efforts. However, thanks to social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, you are immediately connected to a market more global and larger than you could have ever imagined, and trying to sell products across cultures and geographical boundaries sounded like a challenge I really wanted to take on to. By background, since I am a computer engineer to went on to study marketing, digital came very naturally to me. And once I tried on a few mediums, I was pulled in entirely. I am very inquisitive by nature and love to learn new things, and since digital marketing is still a field that is in its nascent stages – with new things being invented and discovered almost everyday, I was completely hooked. Unlike other marketing media, digital allows you to see real-time results for the effort and money being put in. And this approach of solving problems excited me much more than doing the same with traditional offline media.
Digital Vidya: Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?
Himanshu: Oh I think it is absolutely necessary that new entrepreneurs and marketing professionals and students learn Digital Marketing. Frankly it is going to define the way marketing and customer service will work over the next decade or so. The scope for digital marketing is almost limitless, with users having much more control over the kind of content they want to push.
The shift is quite evident. Product brands are not the only ones using social media right now, it has become the medium of choice for people brands too. One big reason behind the huge success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s success has been his incredible online campaign. And it is obviously modeled after the one done by President Obama, who still happens to be the most widely followed person on Twitter.
Brands are very quickly realizing that the audience has moved on from one-way advertising where you just feed them content. Now, people want to interact with their brand of choice and digital is the perfect medium to do this. There are several marketing campaigns across the world that brands have executed, the basis of which has been people engagement and their success has far surpassed that of traditional media campaigns. Digital is here to stay, and the sooner entrepreneurs, professionals and students can adapt and get experience in it, the better it will be for them.
Digital Vidya: According to you, what are the top mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
Himanshu: I feel Digital as a platform is still not very well understood by most brands. People are getting on to the bandwagon because all the rival brands are using it. However, not all are able to do it successfully.
The first big mistake that most brands make is a lack of planning and strategy in terms of the medium or platform for digital marketing. There are several options available, like Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and so on. But every option isn’t suitable for every brand. The first thing that brands need to do is recognize and think upon why they want to advertise on digital and what is the end result that they expect. For example, SEM is more suited to product-based brands looking for sales, whereas Facebook is more suited to creative brands looking for branding and engagement. Pinterest and Instagram are more suited to “visual brands”, whereas LinkedIn is very suitable for B2B marketing.
Another big problems is that most brands expect digital to yield immediate results. While sometimes a campaign may yield immediate burst of sales, a good digital strategy needs to be carefully planned and long-term. Therefore brands really need to hang in there and wait for the platform to show its magic.
Another perception that brands have is that Digital Marketing is cheap or free. While you could say that it is cheaper as compared to traditional marketing for getting the same kind of reach, it is certainly not free. You need to have a set monthly budget for digital marketing just like you have for traditional media and that is when you will be able to see the real ROI kicking in.
Digital Vidya: You led ‘How SEM will fit in your organization marketing strategy? ’ Webinar for Digital Vidya’s community. How was your experience in leading the Webinar?
Himanshu: I had a great time leading the webinar and talking with the audience which was a great mix of people with fresh new ideas and others who had prior experience at marketing with traditional media. Frankly Digital as a topic is so vast that it is best understood through live examples and experience.
The sessions that I had were very interactive and we discussed a lot of different scenarios and examples, some of which even I hadn’t really thought of before, and that’s where the real learning happens. I was able to help the participants to give them a good insight into how search engine marketing works and can do wonders for their business, and I was also able to learn from their experiences of having experimented with it previously.
We talked about strategy, went on towards actual formulation of ads and campaigns, compare the spends with offline media of advertising and discussed in detail how SEM can directly impact topline and bottomline, and in some cases can be more effective than offline based sales also. All in all, it was a really good experience!
Digital Vidya: Please share top 5-7 takeaways from the Webinar you would like to share with our community.
Himanshu: Some of the key takeaways that I had from the session are as follows:
- From people’s experience about how digital marketing is looked at within companies, I realized it is still an experimental approach. I feel that that is an incorrect way of looking at it. A company’s marketing plan needs to have digital marketing integrated into it and a clear monthly budget must be allocated to see real ROI.
- There is still widespread misconceptions and wrong notions about the power of social media and search engine marketing. While most people are now comfortable with these kind of tools, a detailed level understand of how they should be used for marketing is still missing, and this is a gap that sessions like those organized by Digital Vidya can fill.
- Another key takeaway was that Indian markets work very differently from international ones. While I was describing some internationally successful campaigns to the participants, we discussed how some of them may not work in India. I believe a detailed study of the market profile based on geographies is essential before putting in a plan.
Digital Vidya: Do you have any suggestions for us to further increase the value of our Digital Marketing Webinars for our community?
Himanshu: While the webinars are already very good and are adding considerable value to participants, I feel that we can make them better by doing the following:
- Setting expectations and helping participants create practical and executable plans as a part of the sessions that are likely to actually work. It doesn’t help to discuss best practices only because all of them might not be executable on the ground.
- We can also contextualize the sessions a little better by addressing specific problem areas – such as PPC in Education Industry, SEM in E-Commerce, etc., because they work very differently for industries and there is a need for a deep dive into each to be able to effectively implement them.
- Another thing that can be done is setting up of a business context before the webinar itself so that people understand clearly before coming to the session itself about the value it can add to their topline and bottomline. This will set a better context for them.
Digital Vidya: Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
Himanshu: I am personally very happy and excited to see the world that is going on at Digital Vidya. The kind of value that you guys are adding to the industry cannot possibly be quantified or put in words. As a digital marketer myself, I constantly face situations where my clients are unable to understand what I’m talking about. But with the kind of sessions being organized by Digital Vidya, more and more people are getting a good understanding of the platform, which really helps in delivering better results.
The best thing that I like about Digital Vidya’s work is that it is very industry and experience focused. Rather than getting theory experts, you always get people who are actually implementing the things being taught as mentors for the sessions.
While the importance of theory cannot be expressed enough, I personally feel that hands- on implementation is always better because there’s no better way than to learn from the successes and failures of others in the same industry!
Kudos to the Digital Vidya team and keep up the good work!!