Almost 8 years ago, in 2012, a Harvard Business Review article titled “Marketing is Dead” created a stir in the management community. Author, Bill Lee argued that marketing, as we traditionally know it, has changed forever and will be replaced by more digitally native and social-media driven efforts. It sounded like a stretch back then, when smartphones were not as popular as they are now (imagine the era of iPhone 4).
However, looking back, it turned out to be an extremely precise and almost a prophetic prediction. Marketing across the corporate world has transformed in the last 10 years, where digital marketing, which started really small, has taken a front-seat. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Google and Facebook generate more revenue from digital advertising than any media company.
Marketing is fundamentally about connecting to customers and influencing them favourably towards your product and brand. When the connection and communication, and almost a large chunk of user attention, has shifted online, it only made sense for the marketers to follow suit. (Mary Meeker report noted a 4x jump in the share of media time by consumers on mobile from 2010 to 2018)
Understanding the basics on becoming a world-class Digital Marketing Strategist
Let’s define Digital marketing as a marketing communication delivered online, through a combination of digital channels, to support a business objective.
Some of the most usual business objectives are to get users to websites, promote app downloads, increase transactions, and promote word of mouth. Typically firms use a combination of digital marketing channels to achieve these objectives. If you have worked in digital marketing, or have read about it, you’ll be familiar with these channels. For the uninitiated, let’s make a note and explain the most common digital marketing channels:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): The work you put in to try and list on the top of the rankings is SEO. Ideally, you want people searching for the needs related to your product to discover your website. For that to happen, a search-engine should rank your page in the top 3 results of the keyword research. There is a lot of work that goes behind in making it happen.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM): This is about building your presence on social media. As a brand, if you are popular on social media, not only will you stay at the top of the mind of your target users, you can drive a lot of business by connecting to the audience when they are researching to make a decision.
- Pay-per-click advertising (PPC): Not every-time will firms have the patience to ‘earn’ organic reach through SEO/social media. Many firms prefer ‘buying’ visits to the site. Naturally, there’s no point in getting the additional visits unless they are translating into good business. This is why, PPC advertising requires detailed configuration in defining your target audience, ad criteria, as well as experimenting with a variety of creatives.
- Content marketing: Of all the time that people spend on smartphones, most of it is either spent in communication or in media consumption. Be it social media platforms like facebook and instagram, or video platforms like youtube, content always drives user engagement and can help you form a deep connection with your target audience. This is why brands spend in content marketing to generate word of mouth and engagement with your audience.
- Email marketing: The promotional emails that you receive from multiple businesses are carefully planned and sent to optimize for open rates and click rates. The efforts that are put in building the list of email subscribers, carefully making an email marketing plan, and sending optimized emails to drive repeat visits or transactions count as email marketing.
- Influencer marketing: Sometimes, a brand might not want to go the way of paid advertising, aiming for a mass audience. Instead, they’ll prefer to reach out to niche communities and carefully selected marketing partners where the target audience is spending a lot of time. This is usually done through influencers, who have an engaged audience on one of their channels (blog, facebook page, youtube channel etc). The influencers promote the product to their audience in return for the payout.
- Growth marketing: Growth marketing is the most challenging part of it all. It is about rapidly experimenting with marketing strategies, decisions, and processes to deliver results fast. This could be about product or revenue goals, but growth marketing typically focuses on exponential growth projects.
Becoming a Digital Marketing Strategist
Let’s see how to build a strong foundation in digital marketing. To start with that, let’s first ask what skills are required for you to turn into a powerful digital marketer.
- Expertise of respective channels and the tools used to manage them
- Understanding of the fundamentals of marketing
- Understanding of business domain and key metrics
- Deep sensitivity to marketing communication
- High attention to detail in operations
- Empathetic understanding of user’s motivations and needs
- Data analytics and experimentation skills
- A high degree of resourcefulness to learn from competition and rapidly develop new, more effective processes
- Working on top-quality projects
Of these 9 items, the tools and processes can be learned by hands-on learning or through the free content available on lots of blogs and youtube channels. Resourcefulness cannot be taught and can only come from internal motivation and drive, to keep updated through blogs and resources and constantly apply new learning. However, the remaining points, concerning marketing and business knowledge, are where a lot of digital marketing managers lag and fall short of performing at the peak of their abilities. Just understanding the tools and processes is just one small part of the equation. For world-class execution and results, you need to have a clear understanding of the basics of marketing, marketing communications, business metrics that you are impacting, operational process control, and data analytics/experimentation abilities. These will set you up for evolving your understanding and learn from some of the best case studies in the industry, which you can implement in your work.
Enrolling in a proper course from one of the top business schools can lend you the necessary understanding and expertise to set you up for world-class success. Additionally, this being a dynamic field, you’ll also become a part of a network beyond your company that can help you learn faster and share insights from their global experiences. Let’s look at some of the top courses for digital marketers in India which helps you in Becoming a world-class Digital Marketing Strategist.
Top Digital Marketing Courses to grow into a world-class professional
The most recommended course is the Executive Program in Digital & Social Media Marketing Strategy by Indian Institute Of Management Calcutta. It has well-defined training modules that help you becoming a world-class Digital marketing strategist and understand the concepts well and test their understanding with the help of case studies. The faculty is globally recognized and the certificate with the brand name of IIM Calcutta can additionally lend you professional credibility.
Most importantly, a great institute can help you get an opportunity of working on top-notch projects (with some of the best brands and companies). This can set your career up for success way better than working on average quality projects.
Let’s also look at the top 5 recommendations based on the research of our experts:
- IIM Calcutta Executive Program in Digital and Social Media Marketing Strategy (EPDSMMS)
- IIM Raipur Executive Certificate Program in Digital Marketing & Social Media Marketing Strategy
- Professional Certificate in Marketing Management and Consumer Behavior
- Professional Certificate in Marketing Analytics and Product Management
On becoming a world-class Digital Marketing Strategist you’ll make the best use of these insights for your career to grow into a world-class digital marketing professional. Let’s get started on the learning journey.