On Digital Marketing

Being in digital marketing for the last 10 years, I get a lot of queries from fresh graduates on how to start their career in this domain. This post is for them.

This is how I think about digital marketing. 

The first step is to understand that digital marketing is not a radically new discipline but an extension of traditional marketing. The goal of marketing is to connect the sellers with the buyers and provide value to the buyer whilst making a profit for the seller. There are two major differences in traditional marketing(TM) and digital marketing(DM).
1. Reach
2. ROI
With digital you can reach only a small % of the overall population as not everyone is on digital mediums viz. online, mobile & social networks.  For e.g. internet penetration in India is only 26%. So, if your Target Audience is digital only then can you expect to reach them via DM. To reach others you will need to use the traditional channels such as radio or TV.
Measuring ROI is much simpler in digital when compared to TM. For every channel you get a standard set of marketing metrics that cover three aspects - visibility or reach, engagement and conversion.

This gives us four possible career paths in digital:
1. Reaching the target audience
2. Engaging the target audience
3. Converting the engaged to customers
4. Measuring the performance of each of the above activities

So if you are interested in reaching, SEO & online advertising i.e. google adwords, Facebook ads, banner ads, LinkedIn ads etc. is what you should get into.

If you are interested in engaging the target audience, community management and content marketing is what you should get into.

If you are interested in converting the engaged customer email marketing , content marketing (again!) is the name of the game.

If you are interested in measuring the performance of all activities campaign analytics or web analytics should be your chosen path.

It is possible to start your career with either of these disciplines and then as per your learning and exposure you can advance to others. Once you've had hands on experience in each domain you can move on to digital strategy.

DM is a brilliant domain and it is very exciting. There are lots of new channels and awesome metrics especially around mobile that will make DM the core of all marketing programs across verticals and consumer segments in the future.

Good Luck!


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