The usual jam-packed, sluggish movement of Bangalore traffic on Thursday, January 22 didn’t dampen my spirits for a change. I was too excited about the #Unlearn Digital Marketing Meetup at Christ College that I was on my way to attend. The meetup, arranged by Web Marketing Academy (WMA), had professors and post grad students coming in from Dublin City University (DCU), Ireland. I was super curious to learn from this elite group of digital marketers.
The event took off with a quiz on digital marketing. I didn’t know a lot (yes, I am ashamed) but there were others who kept winning chocolate goodies. Impressive! The audience included people from companies like HP, entrepreneurs, and dreamers (“quitters” is certainly not the term) who’d left their jobs to explore new opportunities, WMA students and alumni.
Networking to learn and bond
As is the culture at WMA, Suresh (founder & CEO of WMA) got everyone on their feet to introduce themselves and reach out to someone outside their circle. I was lucky to meet Corinna Hardgrave, student at DCU, accomplished content manager and food writer for Sunday Times. Had a nice chat with her and exchanged experiences in the content space.
About Ireland and Digital Marketing education
This was followed by a session by Professor Theo Lynn, Business Innovation Platform Director at Dublin City University, where he introduced the audience to many amazing facts about Ireland and its key role in the world economy. Did you know that 60-70 percent of Irish students reach University level? The country offers free education up to graduation to its 4 million people and a subsidized fee for post graduation! If I could get dual citizenship …
He also talked about the postgraduate degree in Digital Marketing offered at DCU. If you’re interested, check it out. Professor Theo did warn that 35 percent of students don’t make it to the end coz’ it’s just… well, tough. But the knowledge and training the University imparts to students sounded truly inspiring.
Debate and discussion – on the panel
There was a panel discussion that ran till 4pm, after which everyone had to disburse but not without hearing opinions, getting valuable suggestions and ideas from the panelists. On the panel, we had faculty from DCU, Professor Theo, Suresh, Arnab Ganguly (Digital Marketing and Analytics – Tesco Group Companies) and Ashwin Ramesh (entrepreneur and marketer).
Since it would be too selfish to keep the learning to myself, I’m sharing them with you.
#1. Know your marketing fundamentals.
Digital marketing is fast evolving as are the tools and technologies around it. Though digital marketers need to keep up, understanding the basics of digital marketing – the same as marketing fundamentals – help to keep you focused. You should know the goals of marketing, have a deep understanding of your customers as well as the strategic factors behind successful marketing campaigns.
#2. Learn the why and what of digital marketing elements.
It is important to understand the internal mechanisms of elements we base digital marketing strategies on. For example, how does Google work? How important is PageRank to SEO? Did you know a PR1 backlink is 200,000 times more valuable than a PR2 link? What’s behind Facebook’s constant innovation? Why is a Google+ presence recommended?
#3. The dynamism of digital marketing makes people redundant. True or False.
Ashwin Ramesh denied this stating that there’s a move towards specializing of roles rather than elimination. Professor Theo empathized with traditional marketers, especially 50-65 year old marketing veterans in the west, stating that they are the ones at most risk. He also touched upon cross-border competition from India.
#4. Start small, succeed and scale.
The advice of all panelists for small businesses was to start small. Pick one digital marketing channel, test it, measure and analyze the ROI. If it’s successful, scale up. Don’t lose focus by jumping on to multiple marketing channels at once.
#5. Don’t aim for short-term wins. Not shortcut to success.
Professor Theo’s advice to digital marketers in India was to be proud of who we are. Don’t focus on short-term success but on repeatable and sustainable growth for customers. “Sell your smarts” is how he put it. Think about your customer at all times. Don’t risk penalization for instant results.
#6. Email marketing is still as strong as ever.
Email marketing is at the forefront when it comes to ROI. Whether B2B or B2C, businesses around the world are using emails to engage customers and generate leads. Of course, the trick is to do it right. How do you provide the perception of value and get people to comply with your request? It’s about hitting the right persuasion points.
#7. It’s always H2H.
Suresh’s message to all digital marketers was not to get lost in tools and technology. The key to successful marketing lies in understanding humans. His goal at WMA is to change the mindset of students, help them move away from B2B and B2C to H2H (human to human).
#8. Don’t neglect mobile.
Professor Theo’s recommendation to the Indian digital marketing community was not to take mobile lightly. His observation was that mobile marketing has still not gained traction in India. Be it mobile apps, mobile websites or mobile ads, there is a huge opportunity to engage with people on the mobile space. Understand it well and leverage it for greater reach and revenue.
There were also some tools and tips that the panelists shared with the audience but more on that in the next blog. Hold your horses!
Monica is a digital marketing enthusiast, blogger and technical writer. She has helped small businesses with content development for the last 5 years and is now extending the value with online marketing. Her goal is to introduce more businesses to this exciting and profitable marketing medium. She is a regular blogger for WMA.