Interview with Saurabh Jain, Fun2Do Labs, Founder

8 Min Read. |

Saurabh Jain is leading the ‘Paytm – Build for India’ initiative. This is an initiative to create grassroots innovators in India. They are running an open source incubator in it. Saurabh has also founded the ‘Fun2Do Labs’ open education project. Both involve communities of people building open source and open content projects. Building communities involve digital marketing skills. Thus digital marketing is very important for him.

He also has rich experience of being a mobile apps publisher and that too involved digital marketing to some extent. Saurabh is mentoring the digital team at Delhi Press (owners of brands like Caravan, Sarita, Grihshobha, Champak etc). There also, digital marketing is an important component.

How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital?

Saurabh Jain: I started OpenClass community for developers in 2010. At that time I realized the importance of digital marketing. To grow the community I needed social media skills. So I began learning social media skills.

According to you, what are the advantages of conventional marketing over Digital Marketing? 

Saurabh Jain: For a few things which involve marketing in a localised area conventional marketing is better. Also for companies which run national brands, traditional marketing makes sense due to economies of scale. Conventional marketing is more for mass market and thus is cheaper sometimes at scale. Conventional marketing also helps to reach a predominantly offline audience which majority of Indians still are. 

Do you think that Digital Marketing is a threat to the future of conventional marketing?

Saurabh Jain: Digital marketing is good in many areas. Specially for things involving kids and youth digital marketing works better. Digital marketing also works better for community and niche things. Digital marketing will not decimate conventional marketing but it will exert more and more influence in the coming years.

Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?

Saurabh Jain: 

  1. Paytm: Paytm has built a new brand virtually overnight. In less than 5 years Paytm has become a pan India brand. Paytm did use conventional marketing but being a digital company it has used digital marketing in a very good way. Even the founder Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma answers all the stuff on Twitter personally. The company has a human touch to it. Digital media has helped it to provide a human touch.
  2. Uber: Uber has built a brand by good use of digital marketing. The average man on the street came to know about Uber only very late. Uber started in Delhi with digital marketing. Hoardings and offline stuff came later on.
  3. Narendra Modi: Modi’s camp used social media strategically during 2014 election. They got excellent results.

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

Saurabh Jain: 

  • Outsourcing social media management

Many organisation outsource social media. Social media is an extension of personality. Unfortunately, people think that digital marketing is just like conventional marketing and make a blunder.

  •   Thinking digital marketing will replace conventional marketing

Both will co-exist. Conventional marketing is good for broadcasting and digital marketing is good for personalised marketing. Thus we need both.

  • Digital marketing is not push marketing

It is is pull marketing. Organisations try to push things on digital media and fall flat. Organisations need to change their thinking process digitally and try to be more relevant for the audience. Organisations need to think more like a media company then a product company.

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

Saurabh Jain: I think digital marketing should be either in-house or with an agency which works closely. You cannot outsource it. The bond between agency and company should be very tight for best results. If an organisation functions in silos it will not get good results with digital marketing. Digital marketing is just communication at scale. Having an agency adds value due to better skills of the agency in executing digital marketing but an agency can add value only if the organisation treats it as its own part.

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

Saurabh Jain: 

The top management should take digital marketing seriously. For example Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma takes digital marketing very seriously in Paytm. Without top management’s commitment digital marketing does not bring results. Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma always tweet’s personally. He has not delegated his Twitter handle to a team to manage

Similarly, during Mr. Suresh Prabhu’s tenure as Railway Minister, Indian Railways started seeming like a world-class organization due to its innovative use of Twitter. Mr. Prabhu started helping anyone who asked him for help on Twitter. It was only after he forwarded messages to the concerned officials on Twitter that people came to know direct Twitter handles of various senior railway officials. Senior officials also responded quickly since they knew that their boss is readily accessible to people on Twitter.

Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?

Saurabh Jain: 

  • Twitter gives us ability to reach the decision makers. Twitter is also the most open.
  • Medium lets us share our learnings. Since it has no limits to sharing content we can write blog posts full of substance. It helps the audience also and it helps in branding also.
  • Facebook is the social tool which almost everybody knows. Thus you can reach the mass audience also with Facebook.

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

Saurabh Jain: 

  • For Entrepreneurs:

Marketing is one of the biggest cost and bottleneck for any new venture. Having knowledge of digital marketing can help the entrepreneurs to manage this issue in a better way.

  • For Professionals:

It can help professionals to build a better career profile and also give better results to employers.

  • For Students:

It can help students to build a better career profile and also learn from top people. Future belongs to digital media. Thus students should learn digital marketing. Digital marketing is good for studies also. It makes a student to think clearly. For sharing anything you need to think clearly about it.

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

Saurabh Jain: I generally look for these skills:

  • Knowledge of social media
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Analytics
  • Growth hacking etc. 

If the digital marketer is techy and can code it will be beneficial. Some digital marketing tools need automation to scale and coding knowledge helps in that. Knowledge of psychology will also be very useful.

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

Saurabh Jain: Start with social media. Almost all people know social media these days. Then go to Google and learn about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Then focus on analytics and growth hacking solutions. For growth hacking knowledge of psychology and coding is very useful. Python is a useful and easy language for growth hackers to learn.

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?

Saurabh Jain: I visit and daily. I have also subscribed to Medium’s daily newsletter. Although in this ever-changing world staying updated is very difficult.

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

Saurabh Jain: 

  • Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, Paytm

He answers his own messages on Twitter. No small task given his busy schedule.

  • Mr. Jason Fried, Co-Founder, Basecamp

Basecamp has become a brand worldwide due to innovative digital marketing by its founder.

  • Mr. Deepak Abbot, Senior Vice President, Paytm

Deepak is an expert in digital marketing and even after becoming senior vice president of Paytm he continues to help people on Twitter.

Digital Marketing Course by Digital Vidya

Free Digital Marketing Webinar

Date: 27th Feb, 2021 (Sat)
Time: 11 AM to 12:30 PM (IST/GMT +5:30)
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You led the webinar ‘Community Development with Social Media’. How was your experience in leading the webinar?

Saurabh Jain:

I was happy to share my experience with people. I was happy to have 170+ attendees in the webinar. Q & A section is my favourite in a webinar. In fact, Q & A is the section in which you can solve problems of people one to one. I was happy to answer the questions in the webinar.

Please share top 3-5 takeaways from the Webinar you led for our community.

Saurabh Jain:

  • Community is more about helping and less about money
  • Communities need patience to grow
  • Communities are about people

Do you have any suggestions for us to further increase the values of our Digital Marketing Webinars?

Saurabh Jain: Your webinar was good. I do not have any major suggestions. You can however have special sessions for beginners in digital marketing. Those special webinars for beginners will be useful for people entering the field of digital marketing

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

Saurabh Jain: I see continuance of dominance of social media, search and blogs.

Social media continues to grow. We see that with the advent of Jio even people who are poor now use WhatsApp and Facebook. Thus digital marketing is now even necessary to reach the masses.

Search continues to grow. People like my mother are still new to search. My mother has just recently started using Google. After Google, she discovered that travel agents charge exorbitantly when compared to travel websites. So now she searches any product online before buying. Thus search continues to grow in India.

Blogs are here to stay. The popularity of has shown that quality blogs are relied upon by a large number of people.

Thus I think these 3 will be be major factors in the Indian market.

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

Saurabh Jain: 

Digital Vidya is helping businesses to use digital marketing in a good way. Its webinars are very useful for the digital marketing community. Pradeep and his team has worked tirelessly over the years. I compliment them for promoting digital marketing in a big way in India.

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 :).

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Date: 27th Feb, 2021 (Sat)
Time: 11 AM to 12:30 PM (IST/GMT +5:30)
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