Pradeep Chopra (Co-Founder, Digital Vidya): There is no escaping the reality that digital marketing is currently experiencing an important moment.
Millions of businesses around the world have recognized its significance, thus, it is here to not just stay but grow.
More than 60% of people on the globe currently utilize the internet, which is plenty for firms to locate their customers online.
In this interview, I spoke to Shushant from Kyndryl about the evergrowing presence of digital marketing and the channels and tools used in making it more effective and relevant for both organizations and individuals.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Shushant for more than 2 years from 2008-2010.
In his more than 15 years of experience, Shushant has been responsible for bringing a deep understanding of online advertising in various industry verticals such as Enterprise Security, Cloud, Life Science, Banking, Retail, Finance, Software development, and many more.
Currently heading the Paid Media and Digital Strategy for Kyndryl APAC, Shushant has assisted brands such as IBM, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Infosys.
His rich experience in digital marketing spans SEM, Social Media, B2B Marketing, Web Analytics, Lead Generation, Project Management, Vendor Management, and Account Management.
When was the 1st time you experienced the power of Digital Marketing? What did you feel about Digital Marketing then?
Shushant: I landed in the world of digital marketing accidentally, in 2006, when it was in its nascent stage. I got my first break with a mid-size organization, where, on the first day of my job, I was asked to do keyword research for one of our clients.
I had absolutely no clue what is Google AdWords but started liking it. I started reading more about it, and the more I read I got more intrigued by it.
Gradually I started building a campaign on my own, and it started to show results which was a great motivation. With the support of my seniors and leaders, I started experimenting and taking risks, and it paid off.
Then I realized it is not just a simple marketing technique but a powerful tool that will rule the world in the future, and I am so glad that I was not wrong.
According to you, in what kind of situations, conventional marketing techniques (e.g. Newspaper/TV) are still valuable?
Shushant: In my opinion, all marketing techniques are valuable, you just need to be clear about what you want to achieve, strong strategy, proper planning, and timely execution are key to success.
I agree that Newspapers/TV are expensive mediums and calculating ROI is difficult, however when you want to reach a mass/diverse audience with a long-lasting impression, then conventional marketing can be your GTM strategy, and if you could tie it with your digital marketing strategy then it can be a game changer.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?
Shushant: In my opinion, the top 3 mistakes are
- Not integrating your sales and offline marketing strategy with digital marketing. DM cannot run in silos.
- Changing strategy too soon or too late, I agree that there is no fixed duration when you should change your strategy, but you must keep a close eye on the outcomes. Digital Marketing is not a magic wand that you set up and forget about it. You must monitor it closely and give sufficient time to the campaign to scale at the same time, you cannot keep the same messaging, creatives, and LPs forever. Optimization is the KEY.
- Blindly following competitors or other organizations. People must realize that if something is working for organization A is not a guarantee that it will work for you too. Taking inspiration from others is fine, but there must be some personalization for your prospects and customers.
What do you recommend between outsourcing Digital Marketing to an Agency or doing it in-house? Why?
Shushant: Again, there is no fixed mantra. Outsourcing digital marketing can give you access to more resources in terms of people, tools, and experiences, whereas an in-house team gives you better control.
But if you ask for my recommendation, I will prefer a hybrid model where you have a few experts in-house who work with an agency to bring the best outcome.
Which are your favorite Digital Marketing channels/techniques (e.g., LinkedIn, SEO, Facebook Ads) and why?
Shushant: My favorite is LinkedIn. I love the targeting option provided by LinkedIn and the various ways to reach your audience and not just the marketing solution, but the power of the Sales navigator should also be leveraged to get more insights on your prospects.
SEO is not a channel, it is the heart and soul of any digital marketing, you cannot ignore SEO if you would want to win the war in the long 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?
Technology has completely changed the way marketing is done. Technology has brought innovations in marketing, giving businesses a new shape.
Continuous technological advancements have helped marketers to reshape marketing strategies and create effective marketing campaigns.
Earlier your campaign would get people to your website, and if a user has to interact with anyone, they would have to wait for a long.
But now, with Chatbots and conversational AI, you get all the required information instantly.
Think about billboards in order days, you have to get them installed manually, now, with the introduction of DOOH you can get it done instantly.
How do you think Digital Marketing for B2B is different from Digital Marketing for B2C?
Shushant: I believe the fundamental remains the same, you have to have a clear objective, concise messaging, the right targeting, and appropriate channels/platform, you cannot deviate from these fundamentals for both B2B and B2C.
The only difference is the needs of your audience are different, you just have to adapt the right strategy to cater to that.
Which are your favorite Digital Marketing Tools and why?
Shushant: Adobe marketing suits, it gives you everything you need to be a successful digital marketer, from designing, website creation, analytics A/B testing, Marketo,
HubSpot is another great tool for your inbound marketing strategy to generate quality responses.
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?
Shushant: Moz is one place that I visit daily. Then I have a subscription to MarketingProfs. Hubspot blog is another gem where you can get the latest news and updates.
How do you see Digital Marketing evolve in the future? What are the top trends you foresee for 2022-23?
Shushant: Video Marketing- This is on a rise for a few years, but I believe in the next few years it will take a big leap and am not just talking about short-form videos, we will see a rise in long-form video marketing.
AI and Analytics – The analytical approach to marketing design and strategy will continue in the future. As AI and analytics determine what users find most informative and useful online, businesses will rely on these inputs to make data-driven decisions.
Do you recommend that freshers should consider “Digital Marketing” for building their career? What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at entering Digital Marketing industry?
Shushant: Learn your craft well as there are huge requirements in the market for good candidates. Never be afraid of doing any experiment. Competition is big, but there are huge skill gaps. so there are lots of opportunities.
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?
Shushant: Curiosity to learn, honesty, and empathy, are the 3 traits I look for in people who are starting their careers.
Would you like to share a few words about the Digital Marketing education we are imparting at Digital Vidya?
Shushant: When I started my career, there were no such platforms where can learn from industry stalwarts, Digital Vidya is providing that for the current generation.
So, I must say you are doing a fabulous job of creating qualified digital marketers who are ready to take the next big leap.
Pradeep (to our readers): I hope you find the insights shared by Shushant valuable. In case you have any questions for him or me, please post them in the comments section.
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