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Interview With Purnima Gupta, Head of Digital Marketing, Dalmia Cement

Interview With Purnima Gupta

Pradeep Chopra (Co-Founder, Digital Vidya): Digital marketing has become a crucial component of any successful business strategy in the modern era. 

With the rise of internet usage and social media platforms, businesses need to establish a strong online presence to reach their target audience effectively. 

In fact, according to a report by Statista, global digital ad spending is expected to reach US $679.80 billion in 2023, highlighting the growing importance of digital marketing. 

Purnima GuptaTo gain more insights into the swiftly growing industry and the various marketing aspects, I spoke to the Head of Digital Marketing of Dalmia Cement, Purnima Gupta.

With an experience of over 15 years in strategic leadership, complete business management, and digital marketing solutions in both the corporate and the social sectors, Purnima has delivered profit-oriented results starting from the top of the marketing funnel. 

She also has extensive experience working with start-ups and providing them leadership to deliver growth to self-sustainability.

Purnima currently heads Digital Marketing at Dalmia Cement, where she is responsible for the digital marketing strategy and initiatives.

When was the 1st time you experienced the power of Digital Marketing? Briefly describe your experience.

Purnima: My first brush with digital marketing was more than a decade ago while building my D2C venture, The White Light.

Though it was primarily built using organic traffic, we leveraged the power of SEO, Social Media Marketing, and content marketing to generate good business.

Once we started leveraging this collective power of digital marketing, our cost of acquisition overall came down by 40%.

During this period, I learned dynamic digital marketing hacks and ad platform capabilities to do 1000s of micro-ad experiments with minimum budgets targeting multiple audiences to cater to the marketing funnel. 

According to you, in what kind of situations, conventional marketing techniques (e.g. Newspaper/TV) are still valuable?

Purnima: Conventional marketing techniques such as newspaper and TV ads are still valuable in situations where the target audience is not tech-savvy or does not use the internet frequently.

For example, if you are targeting a Tier 3/4 demographic, they may be more likely to read newspapers or watch TV than use social media or other digital platforms.

Additionally, conventional marketing techniques can be useful for building brand awareness and reaching a large audience quickly. 

Conventional media ads also directly help in digital marketing since it enhances online searches reduces brand keyword cost and drive high recall and improve CTR for online ads.

Which are your favorite Digital Marketing channels/techniques (e.g. LinkedIn, SEO, Facebook Ads) and why?

Purnima: As a digital marketer, it’s not just one platform that I vouch for. Every platform has its strengths which can be leveraged based on the product and its intended audience.

For example, Linkedin helps extensively in SAAS product marketing, lead gen, and employer branding while Facebook/ IG delivers good results on direct-to-consumer products. SEO supersedes everything as it provides the best ROI in the long run.

Why do you think most marketers bet heavily on “online advertising” as part of their digital marketing strategy? Do you think that the resource allocation including budget distribution between Online Ads and SEO/Organic is justified?

Purnima: Undoubtedly, online advertising has a better ROI with lower investments and higher targeted reach versus conventional marketing making it the single most important reason for organizations to opt for it.

But nevertheless, SEO as a digital marketing tool is hugely underrated by new-age companies simply because it is slower to deliver.

Most new-age companies especially startups riding on VC money are looking for instant results hence they end up focusing heavily on Ads.

SEO builds slowly buts grows suddenly. It’s an investment that delivers in a few years with consistent effort around building content, better landing pages, focussing on quality traffic, building inbound links, and forming collaborations with similar websites.

What do you recommend between outsourcing Digital Marketing to an Agency and doing it in-house? Why?

Purnima: This is a tricky one. But a simple answer would be to start in-house (one doesn’t need a dedicated digital marketing person initially) and get the basic ads going.

Google Adwords & FB Ad platforms are fairly easy to understand and are quite useful for setting up initial campaigns.

Once the budget has gone up, conversions are picking up and there is a sign of using expert knowledge than hiring a dedicated digital marketing person would help.

As a subsequent step to this, when the dedicated in-house team is maxing out on ROI then external help should be sought as some good agencies have developed multi-product expertise thanks to various campaigns they run. 

What do you think is the role of technology in marketing in today’s world? Would you like to share any good examples in which technology is efficiently leveraged for the success of marketing?

Purnima: Technology has become an integral part of marketing in today’s world. Marketers use marketing technology tools to encourage, retain and engage customers.

The types of marketing technology, or MarTech, range from analytics to content creation to SEO. Marketing technology can help a marketing team increase efficiency, improve customer relationships and become more agile. 

One good example of technology being efficiently leveraged for the success of marketing is the use of chatbots and generative AI.

Generative AI along with chat is helping with content creation, enhanced customer support, and also drive conversions (from consideration to purchase)

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

Purnima: In my opinion, the three big mistakes are unrealistic expectations from digital marketing in the short term, poor data analytics, and underestimating the power of organic traffic.

A good content strategy and a well-thought-through content marketing plan are other topics often misunderstood by organizations.

Everyone wants “viral” content without understanding what makes content viral and more often than not, there’s no set strategy for posts where one can engage and listen to the audience.

Social media platforms are sometimes treated as publishing forums and miss the pulse of the strengths an organization can leverage which specific platforms have to offer. 

This often comes from a lack of understanding of your core TG, poor data judgment, and missing the pulse of your product market fit.

Which are your favorite Digital Marketing Tools and why?

Purnima: I personally like Canva, Zaplin, google analytics, Mixpanel, Mailchimp, Haptik, Figma, and SEMrush, and recently started leveraging the power of ChatGPT for effective content marketing.

How do you stay updated on the latest trends in Digital Marketing? Which Digital Marketing resources (i.e. blogs/websites/apps) do you visit regularly?

Purnima: I keep myself updated with a mix of youtube videos on the latest marketing trends, do small courses on multiple learning platforms like Udemy, and follow blogs of Hubspot, Moz, Appmarketer, Google Play Academy, etc.

Which brands according to you are exceptionally successful in leveraging Digital Marketing?

Purnima: My top favorites are Airbnb, Starbucks, Red Bull, Nike, Apple, Cred, Zomato, Paytm, Tanishq, and ITC.

They all have leveraged social media and digital marketing to connect effectively with their audience with the right mix of ads, influencer marketing, content marketing, and extremely high-quality visual campaigns.

Storytelling has been the common theme across all successful digital marketing campaigns.

How do you see Digital Marketing evolve in the future? What are the top 3 trends you foresee for 2023 and beyond?

Purnima: Generative AI will take the center stage. It will aid influencer marketing, content generation, ad customizations on the go, landing page personalization based on incoming traffic, and customer service.

Micro Video marketing will continue to prosper with reducing attention span. SEO and ASO will become highly sought after due to excessive clutter on paid media.

If you were given the power to make one change in the Digital Marketing industry today, what would you do?

Purnima: With the increasing use of data in digital marketing, there is a growing concern about privacy and data security. Consumers want to know that their data is being used responsibly and that their privacy is being protected.

As a result, the industry needs to work on developing better data protection measures and improving transparency around data usage. I wish to work more in this field in the future.

Do you recommend that freshers should consider “Digital Marketing” for building their career? What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at entering the Digital Marketing industry?

Purnima: Absolutely. Everyone should learn digital marketing especially product managers, data analysts, software engineers, and traditional marketers.

My advice for newbies would be to focus a lot on data analytics. It’s the core of digital marketing. They also need to not just read a lot but do a lot of self-experiments by building no-code apps and websites and promoting them using small budgets.

What are the top skills (other than technical skills such as SEO/SEM) you look for when hiring a candidate for an entry-level role in Digital Marketing?

Purniima: Data Analytics is and will always be on top of my list.

Would you like to share a few words about the Digital Marketing education we are imparting at Digital Vidya?

Purnima: Digital Vidya is doing a fantastic job of propagating the importance of digital marketing as a career choice. Their extensive list of courses around SEO, SEM, and Email marketing is helping students acquire real-life skills.

I have personally heard it from some of the marketers who benefited from it. Your focus on practical training and community help is developing well-groomed professionals.

Any Digital Marketing Campaign, Quote, or Statistics you are fascinated by?

Purnima: The best quote I live by is “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” 

This quote emphasizes the idea that the most effective marketing doesn’t come across as advertising or promotion, but rather as valuable content or experiences that people genuinely enjoy and want to engage with.

When done right, marketing can create a positive emotional connection with consumers, leading to increased brand loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Purnima: I would like to summarize what I have mentioned above in my answers. Digital marketing is not just spending money.

The end goal is to get customers at a lower cost by constantly optimizing every paid or organic campaign. Focus extensively on data analytics to maximize ROI.

Pradeep (to Purnima): Thank you Purnima for providing such insightful details about your digital marketing journey as well as the future trends of digital marketing.

Pradeep (to our readers): I hope you find the insights shared by Purnima valuable. In case you have any questions for her or me, please post them in the comments section.

Would you like to have 10x Growth in your Career or Business by leveraging digital marketing? Join our upcoming live online Digital Marketing Foundation Masterclass worth Rs. 1999 FREE.

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Pradeep Chopra
Among the pioneers of Digital Marketing, Pradeep has been part of the Internet Industry since 2000. He has been a serial entrepreneur for the last 22+ years. A graduate of IIT Delhi, Pradeep is one of the most sought-after international speakers on Digital Marketing, Online Education, and Entrepreneurship.

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