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Interview with Manish Dureja, JetPrivilege,Managing Director

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After graduating from University of Pune with an MBA in Marketing in 1996, Manish Dureja began his career in the direct marketing and advertising industry as a Business Development & Account Manager for Direxions. In 1999, his interest in aviation drove him to join Jet Airways.

Manish joined Jet Airways as the Head of Frequent Flyer Programme & Relationship Marketing in 1999. With over 20 years now,  he has been passionately spearheading various strategic Business & Customer initiatives.

Importance of Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing lies at the crux of their business. Manish is a technology aficionado at heart, and data and innovation lies at the core of his work ethos. He believes that data is the fuel which helps drive actionable insights and build simple solutions to hack profitable growth in all businesses in order to support their partner’s individual objectives of loyalty’. As the Managing Director of JetPrivilege, Manish has experienced the truly transformative power of Digital Marketing & technology, he sees his role as an Advocate for Digital Marketing within the organization.

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?

Manish Dureja: Frankly, I do not believe in the ‘Conventional Marketing vs Digital Marketing’ debate. My marketing team and I are open to choosing whichever medium works best as the tool of communication for customers (i.e. programme members) and evaluate it on a case to case basis. In my years of experience, there are a few advantages of Conventional marketing over Digital, but those are disappearing rapidly. They are:

  1. Higher regional audience engagement: Conventional mediums (press, TV, radio etc.) are available in regional languages, while the Digital medium is primarily dominated by the English language.
  2. Wider reach & no direct dependency on the internet: Internet penetration in India is still below 35% which limits digital reach.
  3. The older generation is more comfortable with traditional mediums (print, radio & TV) vis-à-vis the digital ones (smartphones, laptops, tablets etc.) In order to ensure engagement in the older set of audiences, traditional methods help generate better outputs to reach the older demographic, traditional marketing methods still work.

Share your 3 favourite Integrated Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?

Manish Dureja:   

  • Paytm Karo: The campaign clearly showcased how everyday transactions via Paytm were more convenient & a viable solution to cash crunch. I believe the campaign was very successful as the brand found its place in everyday vocabulary becoming synonymous with the act of transferring and receiving money.
  • Ariel: #ShareTheLoad Campaign: The campaign successfully triggered/stirred a healthy conversation around gender equality that went beyond the social media. I found the films to be an excellent example of storytelling – they were equal measures thought-provoking and engaging rather than being outright preachy.
  • Shot on iPhone Campaign: This is a brilliant example of direct user engagement as all the content (i.e. videos and images) used in the campaign was user-generated

According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?

Manish Dureja: According to me, the three mistakes committed by organizations today are:

  1. Lack of clarity in campaign goals: Lack of quantifiable/measurable goals and objectives, it becomes really difficult to measure the ROI or the success of a campaign, and its overall contribution to business objectives
  2. Not doing A/B testing: To make optimum decisions based on actual data instead of gut feeling/intuition, it is extremely important that companies run a litmus test for all their digital campaigns before rolling them out. A/B testing is a must to maximize campaign effectiveness.
  3. Working in silos: Traditional marketing and digital marketing teams often operate as 2 separate departments/entities. To ensure business success, it’s imperative that the marketing teams planning the media channels and the customer engagement is not divided.   

Between Agency and In-house, which approach would you recommend for the maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?

Manish Dureja: It largely depends on company’s position and the business goals, but I would recommend having both. The inhouse team brings to the table the knowledge of the brand and its consumers, while the agency brings different tools, cross-industry learnings and scale. Most of the time, a good agency works as an extension of the in-house team.

Team, Skills and Tools

How do you ensure increasing Digital Marketing’s relevance and influence in the organization?

Manish Dureja: As a marketing organization focused on ‘customer delight’, all our employees have exposure to digital marketing. My role as a leader, therefore, has been to focus on ‘capability building’ of my team, which I facilitate by investing in digital tools, learning platforms and other relevant areas. In fact, it is mandatory for all the employees at JetPrivilege to undergo 4 days of training (learning & development) in a financial year.

Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?

Manish Dureja: 

  1. For Entrepreneurs: As consumers get younger by the day, engaging with them only via traditional media won’t suffice. Millennials are spending more time on their mobile devices compared to all other mediums (TV, print, radio…) combined. If the consumer can’t find you, your product or your service online, while doing their research, you have essentially lost them to your competition.
  2. For Professionals: Marketers world over are witnessing increased budget allocation towards digital media. This doesn’t imply that digital marketing is replacing traditional marketing; rather the role of digital in the integrated 360-degree marketing approach is increasing. Learning digital marketing can help stay relevant and open up new job opportunities within their own company and the industry.
  3. For Students: For students interested in building a career in the field of Marketing & Sales, the area of digital marketing is probably the best start for both, short-term as well as long-term. Given the rapid growth in the industry, there is also an increasing demand-supply’ gap in the employment market, which will bode well for the ‘digitally-skilled’ students entering the job market.

What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?

Manish Dureja: While hiring candidates in my organization, I look for the following characteristics (besides field specific knowledge & expertise) in the candidate:

  1. Curiosity: With the increased access to new forms of technology, digital marketers need to be curious about harnessing the technologies to its’ full potential. I particularly look at a candidate’s innovative ideas and their drive to test them and learn from them.
  2. Data Driven: Digital marketers need to be equipped with the competencies & the knowledge to derive real actionable insights from data. The key is to not get intimidated by the volume of data and instead, use it with creative and experimental methods to drive real business value.
  3. Agility: A digital marketer should always have an eye on the pulse of digital marketing. Every 3-4 weeks, technology platforms change their algorithms or introduce new tools that facilitate efficient digital marketing. Even governments are improvising existing laws, especially in those that concern data & privacy (e.g. GDPR). In such a scenario, a marketer needs to be a quick learner and adept at implementing changes to stay ahead of the curve.   

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Advice to Aspiring Digital Marketers

What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?

Manish Dureja: My advice for someone looking to build a career in Digital Marketing is to never stop learning. Digital marketing is a dynamic industry, and staying on top of trends is very important – be it through new marketing tools or social media platforms.

I would also recommend being open to feedback and taking it constructively, as that’ll ensure continuous professional growth throughout his/her career.

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?

Manish Dureja: To stay abreast of the current developments and trends in Digital marketing, I read a lot. My go-to portals include, mycustomer.com, econsultancy.com, smartinsights.com, thinkwithgoogle.com, cmo.com to name a few.

Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.

Manish Dureja: The 3 people I respect when it comes to Digital Marketing are:

  1. Seth Godin: I am an ardent follower of his blog and I have read most of his books. His message is quite simple- ‘Marketers need to stop believing in the traditional ways of marketing and they need to adapt to new ways of marketing that suits their customers and their businesses’.
  2. Vala Afshar: On Twitter, I follow Vala Afshar for a better understanding of AI, Machine Learning, UI/UX topics. His tweets on leadership and management are an added bonus.
  3. Jeremy Waite: I consider him to be the ‘Big Data’ guru. Besides being the evangelist of IBM Watson marketing, he also hosts an interesting weekly podcast-‘Ten Words’, where-in he talks about people who have made a difference in the world by making complicated things simple.   

How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2018?

Manish Dureja: Over the years, we have witnessed a shift from a mass-media centric, one-to-many approach, to a digital-driven, data-enabled and one-to-one approach. The next phase in the evolution will be determined by the digital marketer’s ability to adapt to ‘one-to-moment’ marketing. For 2018, the top trends in digital marketing to watch out for:

  1. Video: 2017 was a great year for video, but 2018 will be even bigger as businesses will incorporate video marketing in all their marketing strategies. Research has revealed that a video on a landing page, can help increase conversions considerably. By 2020, it is estimated that video content and marketing will account for 80% of the total internet traffic.
  2. Chatbots: As AI technology becomes more advanced, expect to see more companies embrace AI and chatbots to improve online customer service
  3. Storytelling: People love good stories, so we will see many businesses incorporating storytelling into their digital marketing efforts. Brands will limit their efforts on promoting the ‘call to action’ and instead, focus more on delivering value first by telling their story and being transparent about their brand purpose.

Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?

Manish Dureja: 

In India, the need of the hour is to create a talent pool of new-age Digital Marketers with real-world, hands-on experience in Social Media, Analytics and Data Management. By offering good quality digital education online, Digital Vidya has been at the forefront when it comes to driving talent creation. Here’s wishing Success to the Digital Vidya team!

To know more about Manish Dureja, you can check out his LinkedIn profile.

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 :).

[CEO, Digital Vidya]
Among the pioneers of Digital Marketing, Pradeep has been part of the Internet Industry since 2000. He has been a serial entrepreneur for last 17 years and is currently a Co-founder & CEO of Digital Vidya, a leading Digital Marketing, and Big Data & Data Analytics training company.

A graduate of IIT Delhi and a recipient of Adobe Content100, Pradeep is one of the most sought-after international speakers in Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

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