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Interview with Siddharth Singh, Associate VP & Head Marketing, Yotta Infrastructure

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Interview with Siddharth Singh, Associate VP & Head Marketing, Yotta Infrastructure

Pradeep Chopra, Co-Founder at Digital Vidya: A dramatic shift is experiencing in the digital marketing landscape There are many new trends, ideas and approaches in digital marketing that are evolving rapidly. As a digital marketer, you need to continually update yourself according to these frequent updates so that you remain in this intense competition for digital marketing and do not fall behind.

In this interview, I spoke up with Siddharth Singh to know his views and significant approach towards Digital Marketing & its changing trends.

Siddharth Singh is a B-to-B technology marketer with a career spanning almost 17 years across varied industries such as Information Technology, Cloud Communications and Media/Marketing Services. He heads marketing function for Yotta Infrastructure and had an exciting ride so far with stints in organizations such as Karix Mobile, Netmagic and IDG Media.

In a B-to-B organization like Yotta where the average sales cycle can be anywhere between 2-6 months, digital marketing is a very important channel to drive brand visibility, engage customers and to drive demand generation and lead nurturing. More so, pretty much any digital campaign can be tracked end-to-end and as a marketer, you want to understand and analyze what’s working and what’s not.

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?

Siddharth Singh: In this increasingly digital world, conventional marketing to some extent, is still holding on to its turf. For example, look at corporate events and conferences. They are growing in numbers year on year because businesses want to connect with their customers face-to-face. Whether it’s an IT company hosting a full-day conference or an FMCG company organizing roadshows across malls, there’s no substitute for engaging your customers face-to-face.

However conventional channels today also blend seamlessly with digital. Live streaming of events over social media, integration of print ads with digital channels to driver conversions etc. are some examples of both conventional and digital not only co-existing but also flourishing. So I don’t think digital is a threat, but a partner instead.

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Share your 2 favourite Integrated Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them

Siddharth Singh: There are way too many marketing campaigns that I am fond of but let me share some recent ones that I liked:

(i) I recently noticed the online promotions of the Ayushman Khurana movie – Dream Girl and found it to be quite innovative. It’s an omnichannel campaign involving social media and app notifications by BookmyShow saying that you’ve received a missed call from Dream Girl, but at the centre of it all is the IVR where you can give a missed call and hear the protagonist prompt you to book the movie tickets. 

(ii) Another memorable ad campaign was by BMW in which the brand paid a tribute to the retiring CEO of Mercedes Benz – Dieter Zetsche. The ad starts by showing the CEO on his last day of work, leaving the Mercedes office and it all looks very emotional until his company car (a Mercedes of course) drops him off at his home and then there’s a twist in the plot when the super reads, “Free at last”. Dieter is then shown driving out of his garage in a BMW i8. 

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

Siddharth Singh: According to me, here are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing:

(i) Setting up Wrong Expectations: Digital marketing is not a silver bullet. And as a marketer one should caution his top management or sales teams against expecting overnight success. I have seen CEOs expect miracles out of SEO and Content marketing without even understanding how they work. It is the marketer’s responsibility to educate them and set the right expectations.

(ii) Getting Carried Away with the Tools: Just because your marketing automation platform has a hundred new features does not mean that you have to try out all of them. Just because Facebook rolls out a new ad format, doesn’t mean that you have to force-fit it into your existing campaign.

It is very easy to get distracted with the tools and lose focus on the fundamentals of marketing such as messaging, creative, segmentation etc. Yes, it’s important to experiment but not at the cost of losing objectivity.

(iii) Not Getting your Hands Dirty: In a lean marketing set-up where digital marketing is typically outsourced to an agency, it is important for CMOs to not just know their tools but also to get their hands dirty once in a while. Go ahead and configure an SEM campaign, do a chatbot integration or set up your Google Tag Manager. That way you stay relevant, you understand what goes on underneath the hood and most importantly your agency won’t take you for a ride

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

Siddharth Singh: Digital marketing is no longer a skill that’s good-to-have. It is a must-have, in-house capability. Agencies are a good option when you need to scale your marketing operations, but the gap in business understanding and lack of transparency in operations and billing could be a deal-breaker. Keeping digital marketing in-house also allows for easy flow of information from other teams such as new product brief, market expansion strategy etc. Plus, you are a lot more agile and have the ability to execute faster.

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

Siddharth Singh: Digital marketing is not a secret lab where only the marketing team knows what’s cooking. At Yotta, we regularly sit across the table with sales, products and other teams to review digital marketing metrics such as social media engagement, website traffic pattern, display campaign progress, inbound leads and lots more. These meetings are a good forum to discover practical challenges faced by the sales and products teams and to devise marketing strategies to assist them.

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

Siddharth Singh: These are the top 3-5 skills that should be looked forward to while hiring a candidate for a Digital Marketing profile.

(i) Familiarity with Marketing Automation

(ii) Strong fundamentals of SEO

(iii) Practical hands-on experience with Google Search Ads

(iv) Email Marketing

(v) Paid Social Media

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

Siddharth Singh: I have only one simple advice to freshers. Don’t start specializing in any one segment too early in your career. You will restrict your growth. Try and gain a full-stack experience before you decide to specialize. I have come across candidates who are 2-3 years into their career and they call themselves social media specialist, Inbound specialist etc. In my opinion, they will lose out on opportunities when they are compared toa full-stack digital marketing candidate.

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? 

Siddharth Singh: I follow Neil Patel and Seth Godin’s on social media channels to stay updated. The Hubspot blog is also a great source of information.

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

Siddharth Singh: Neil Patel, Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki

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How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2019?

Siddharth Singh: Jay Baer had said, “Content is fire, social media is gasoline.” In my opinion, social media will soon become the primary source of content consumption. The shift is already apparent. We spend a considerable amount of our time on social media and consume a lot of content viz. news, live videos, articles etc. on Facebook, Twitter or Tiktok.

Publishers and brands too are following their customers and are building strategies to engage their readers or customers on social media.

Here are the top 3 trends that I foresee in 2020 for digital media and marketing:

(i) Live Video will Grow

Video content consumption is growing significantly. It’s already estimated that by 2020 over 80% of the internet traffic will come from video. A good share of the same will come from Live video streaming in the near future. With very low costs and significantly high user engagements, more brands will experiment with live video on social media.

(ii) Rise of Chief Content Officer

Content Marketing – the way we know it – will change drastically. The lines between a publisher and brand are fast blurring, and in the quest to keep audiences constantly engaged, more brands will push the envelope and develop large content teams along with video production capabilities, within the organization. As such, the position of the Chief Content Officer (CCO) will become very popular. Similar to editor-in-chief at a publishing company, the CCO will collaborate with the CEO, CMO and CPO to plan, supervise, and execute complex content assignments. The CCO will also bring to the table an extensive understanding of social media and the content types best suited on respective social platforms.

(iii) Chatbots will Become Mainstream

In a recent study, it was found that over 70% of the respondents prefer to interact with chatbots for basic queries. Presently, 46% of all B2B researchers and buyers are millennials. Which is why it’s no surprise that a recent PwC research pointed out that today’s buyers demand the following CX traits from brands – speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendliness. To enable this, marketers will leverage a hybrid model of AI-enabled chatbots along with living agents to cater to prospects. 

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

Siddharth Singh: I first met Pradeep when I enrolled for a course on Social Media, way back in 2012. I found the course very useful and the takeaways were very practical, which I could implement right away. You folks have pioneered digital marketing and today are at a leadership position. As you near a decade of excellence, I wish you all the best!

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