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Interview with Pravahan Mohanty, MarCom Lead-Ecommerce, LeEco

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Interview with Pravahan Mohanty, MarCom Lead-Ecommerce, LeEco

Pravahan did his engineering in Industrial Production and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC India) as a Consultant in their Business Advisory Services. Thereafter, he went to Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad (MICA) to pursue my MBA in Marketing and Retail Communications.

He started his career at a time when Social Media and Digital Marketing channels were getting launched, and he has been amazed – and fortunate – to witness the dizzying pace at which consumers have embraced technology in their social and cultural lives.

Regardless of the business or industry category, the role and importance of Digital Marketing has increased significantly – to the extent that, today, in several organizations, Digital Marketing itself constitutes upwards of +50% of the overall Media Marketing spends.

From his perspective, he realized that while he was dealing with Digital Agencies and Partners in his current work – and had a fairly basic understanding of the concepts he needed to retool and sharpen his skills with Advanced Level program (preferably one that leads to an authorized certification) in Digital Marketing, so as to be on top of the game.

Which course of Digital Vidya you participated in? How did it help you acquire new skills related to digital marketing?

Pravahan: I participated in the six months Certified Digital Marketing Master (CDMM) course of Digital Vidya.

This is a fairly intense program, with the most comprehensive and up-to-date course content available in India, that helped me develop advanced-level expertise and deeper competencies in various aspects of Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Email Marketing, as well as Web Analytics. The best part of the program, which actually helped acquire and absorb new skills, was the relentless focus on hands-on training and immersion to real-world business case studies that all of us were required to solve or analyze.

Why did you choose Digital Vidya’s course?

Pravahan: I carefully evaluated all other options available in the Market and also attended a few live webinars and seminars of competitors before deciding on Digital Vidya.

It was a fairly straightforward choice to opt for Digital Vidya, because of their superior content, better instructors and trainers, more reliable and stable technology to deliver the online classes, the level of flexibility that they offered to revisit and re-assess my learning requirements throughout the lifetime (at any later stage) of my career, the fact that they have very credible tie-ups with all leading service providers (including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, HubSpot, etc), and the fact that they were really the pioneers to bring forth country-wide access to learning Digital Marketing in a stimulated and controlled online environment.

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How has the course contributed in your career growth including new job opportunities?

Pravahan: While my primary objective was to retool and reskill myself with advanced skills, expertise and competencies in Digital Marketing to help me in current work, the CDMM course has certainly broadened my horizon with respect to increased employment prospects.

I now have the freedom and flexibility to choose between Senior Marketing Management roles that are focused exclusively on a Digital Marketing mandate, OR a broader charter that includes a leadership opportunity to focus on a blended Integrated Marketing Communications role – a role that activates a seamless Marketing Campaign using a mix of both Digital and Traditional Media.

Why do you think it’s important to learn Digital Marketing today?

Pravahan: To put it rather bluntly, one cannot aspire to (or survive in) a Marketing career without learning Digital Marketing.

Or, assuming one starts one’s career focusing on the traditional media, it’s almost impossible to grow in one’s career and take additional / bigger responsibilities unless one understands Digital Marketing.

Regardless of whether the business is B2B or B2C, regardless of the product or service category, regardless of the industry one works in, Digital Marketing has quickly evolved in the last decade to now being at the center of every Marketing campaign.

It’s not as much as the fact that Digital Marketing is relatively cost-effective, easier and simpler way to connect with (potential) customers (or target audience), or the fact that it offers a better visibility of Marketing RoI; as much as it is a frank and honest admission of the fact that most of out lives are now increasingly being spent in a digital world – and this, in itself, presents the best opportunity for the brand to connect meaningfully (and personally) with its customers at every stage of their purchase journey.

Share about the benefits you can foresee about building a career in Digital Marketing industry.

Pravahan: The biggest obvious benefit of becoming a professionally qualified Digital Marketer is the fact that it opens up a whole plethora of job opportunities across industries, across categories. Because, Digital Marketing is already a huge component of the overall Marketing mix and is poised to grow exponentially in the next 5 years (outpacing, by a fair distance, the growth of traditional media).

But, apart from enhanced job prospects, and depending on the stage of one’s professional career (fresher versus experienced), one cannot aspire to become a fully well-versed Marketer without knowing Digital Marketing. 

Organizations today, whether they are startups or the more established bigger brands, instantly prefer a candidate (for hiring or internal promotion) who demonstrate a smarter and nimble approach to crafting a Marketing Strategy and Plan that seamlessly encompasses both Digital as well as Traditional Media.

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?

Pravahan: Given the fact that Digital Marketing tools and concepts are fast evolving, I usually keep up with the latest innovations and breakthroughs through my subscription to Google and Facebook Marketing newsletters – from Google and Facebook directly.

Aside from these two, I also subscribe to Hootsuite’s newsletter blogs, and keenly follow the Blog page of Digital Vidya as well. I’ve also subscribed to Neil Patel and Sourav Jain’s blogs and read up as much as I can every week / fortnight.

Online learning material is also available on LinkedIn Learning and syndicated YouTube channels, ranging from Basic to Intermediate to Advanced Level perspectives on various aspects of Digital Marketing.

Which are your favorite 3 digital media channels (e.g. Twitter, Google etc) and why?

Pravahan:

a) Facebook – because it’s the biggest and largest digital (social) media, is at the forefront of the bulk of Social Media Marketing spends. Over the last couple of years, have also significantly increased focus on Instagram

b) Google – For Search and Display. No one even comes remotely close to GDN.

c) Twitter – because it’s compact, short, crisp and usually more contextually relevant and topical

Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?

Pravahan: Google Analytics, SEMRush and Social Studio

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

Pravahan: Pradeep Chopra, Neil Patel and Ashok Lalla 

What is your advice to newbies who want to build career in Digital Marketing?

Pravahan: Congratulations, if you’ve made the decision to build a career in Digital Marketing. My advice is to develop lateral competency across all aspects of the entire Digital Marketing ecosystem, while developing deeper expertise in one or two core areas that interest you most.

As a Digital Marketer, one is expected to have at least an Intermediate level of competency across the entire spectrum of various aspects of Digital Marketing: be it SEO, SEM, Social Media, Analytics, or Inbound Marketing. However, the reality is also that you’re expected to work – and demonstrate high level of proficiency – in at least one or two core areas.

Understand where your interests are, go ahead and develop appropriate skills to complement your learning, and continuously keep updating and refreshing your skills. And make sure to have lots of fun while doing so! 😊

What are the challenges a person is likely to face when s/he enters into Digital Marketing industry? How can s/he overcome those?

Pravahan: I think the biggest challenge facing a Digital Marketer (regardless of whether s/he is a fresher or experienced) is the very dynamic nature of the subject. What one may learn today might become relatively obsolete in as quick a time as a year (or less) down the line. One needs to invest time, resources and interest in keeping oneself retooled updated, as well as continually adapt to different learning scenarios that can maximize the outcome of the changing dynamics of Digital Marketing.

Aside from this, consumer behavior is also rapidly changing and adapting at a social and cultural level. One needs to make a continuous attempt to understand this flux, and be close to these changes happening at micro-level, so as to develop unique, customized and relevant Marketing interventions to tap the needs and preferences of customers.

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For someone who’s looking at full time or part time job or an internship in Digital Marketing, what approach would you advice?

Pravahan: My advice would be to, firstly, develop adequate competencies in all aspects of Digital Marketing. Secondly, develop deeper level of proficiency and expertise in at least one or two of your preferred areas: it could be SEO, or SEM, or Social Media, or Web Analytics, or Inbound Marketing, or Email Marketing.

Next, refresh your CV reflecting your updated and newly acquired skills, while at the same time leveraging on LinkedIn’s utility to connect with the right resources for enhanced professional visibility.

Speak to peers and relevant members of the Marketing community and seek their inputs while networking with them; this is in addition to, obviously, being active on job search sites.

Since the demand for Digital Marketing resources is huge – and supply of professionally qualified talent is relatively scarce – I am quite sure that finding a full-time, part-time or internship opportunity will be easy.

Digital media especially Social media channels such as Facebook can eat up a lot of your productive time if not used wisely. Do you agree? What all can one do to efficiently leverage these channels for personal growth?

Pravahan: This is a very relevant question, one that pertains to most people who are active on one (or more) Social Media channel(s).

I agree, if not used smartly and wisely, social media presence can actually turn counter-productive to one’s interests. There are various levels of distractions that exist all over Social Media channels – and it’s quite easy to fall prey to the allure.

My suggestion is towards identifying core areas of one’s interests: for e.g., it could be Arts, Literature, Media, Marketing, Sports, Recreation, Wellness, Food, Wildlife, Photography, Films, etc. – and then, identify the leading influencers in the chosen areas of Interest. Most influencers would have a cross-channel presence across different Social Media channels. Follow them wherever one is present: be it Twitter, or Instagram or Facebook (or any other). Interact with them, contribute to their posts, via comments, and enhance your potential to be a key thought leader in the subject. There is plenty of potential to learn from them as much as an opportunity to enhance one’s professional acumen and visibility.

Stay as far as possible from toxic posts, pages/comments; especially those that deliberately plant manipulative agenda and/or are manifestation of a twisted narrative of fact(s).

Always remember that, in today’s world, your digital footprints are very easily traceable and can, at some stage, come back to haunt you (either personally or professionally) especially if one isn’t careful of what (and how) one interacts on Social Media. Equally, at the same time, the power of Social Media can well be harnessed towards creating a favorable online personality that can complement one’s actual real life persona – and, consequently, significantly enhance one’s overall image (and perception).

If you were given a chance to rebuild your career, what changes you would have made to have even better growth and fulfillment?

Pravahan: Hindsight is always a twenty-twenty situation, but if I could look back and change a thing or two, I would possibly not make the mistake of being impetuous in some of my decisions at the beginning of my career.

And, of course, I think it would have been far better to have taken the CDMM course way back in 2014, that was the time when I began to see the immense potential of Digital Marketing.

How do you see Digital Media evolving in future?

Pravahan: Given the fact that Digital Media has evolved with such scorching pace over the last decade, it’s preposterous to predict the nature of evolution over the next decade or so. However, I think the immediate intervention would be the role of AI and VR to (re)create immersive experiences for the customers in their purchase journey. The other prediction is, of course, the increasing role and reliance on Automation across different Marketing activities that are especially systemic in nature. As more and more people, especially in India and China, join the Internet bandwagon, the global spend on Digital Marketing will continue to grow exponentially, far surpassing the growth rate of traditional media. Interactive multiscreen experiences, where the customer is at the heart of every decision-making process, will soon be a reality in the next few years.

While Google and Facebook will continue to lead the Digital Marketing ecosystem, I’m quite bullish particularly about the growth prospects of Instagram. 

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

Pravahan: Digital Vidya is already a pioneer in online learning of Digital Marketing. While there are quite a few other service providers offering Digital Marketing programs, the CDMM course of Digital Vidya is unparalleled in its depth of coverage, the scope of the course curriculum that spans the entire breadth of the Digital Marketing ecosystem, the industry case studies and hands-on live assignments, the pedagogy adopted by experienced course instructors / trainers, the industry certifications, the complimentary Digital Marketing tools to enable and aid learning, and the well developed support system. This, in addition to a support base for enriching and retooling oneself throughout the entire duration of one’s career, is another big (and unmatched) innovation of Digital Vidya. Pradeep Chopra and Kapil Nakra are doing a fantastic job of bringing access to learning Digital Marketing, and my heartiest congratulations to them for their stupendous journey, I hope they continue to enriching the careers of many more people in their Digital Marketing journey. Cheers!

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