Marketing & Branding

How to Start a Career in Digital Marketing in India

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Proud of your meme skills? Know all the cool web hangouts? Confident that you can get anything on the net because you know exactly what to search for? If you enjoy spending time on the internet, know what’s in vogue and have enough expertise in generating buzz on social media platforms- maybe you should consider a career in digital marketing as a career choice for yourself.

Why choose a career in Digital Marketing

If you think about it, half of our lives are online now. The internet is where we get information, check our emails, apply for jobs, interact with people, shop, nerd out, watch movies and read the news. In an increasingly digitised world, it makes sense that you insert yourself in a field that you can see for yourself is all-encompassing and ever growing.

In India, digital penetration is steadily going up. According to Google, India is adding 10 million daily active internet users. 20 years ago, it was unthinkable (And unaffordable, frankly) that almost everyone around you will have internet access. Now, it is a reality.

Just think of the scope of digital marketing with respect to these figures. People are now devouring more content than ever. And in this increasingly populated space, more companies are looking for people who are savvy enough to understand the pulse of the internet. A skilled digital marketing professional is worth their weight in gold.

If you are looking at any career that is related to creating content, advertising, public relations or marketing- you will notice that more employers are searching for people who have a general idea of digital trends and technology, if not great digital marketing skills.

Understanding required in Typical Digital Marketing Jobs?

Mainly, digital marketing entails understanding and working in three areas:

  1. Content: This is about creating content- or whatever you read on the web. These include articles, blogs, ebooks, research papers, email newsletters, sales pages, social media campaigns, keyword research and related SEO processes.
  2. Creative: These are mostly visual stuff that goes along with the content, like photos, infographics, videos and images.
  3. Stats: These are figures and projections related to your online content, products and processes. These include Web analytics, setting goals and targets, conversion funnels and determining customer lifetime values.

Digital Marketing Career Scope

Digital marketing is a specialised field. Since our entire world is shifting online, many traditional marketing modes are inadequate to deal with the challenges that come with it. In the digital landscape, your marketing campaign must take into account two spheres.

Inbound marketing consists of content marketing, search engine optimisation, blogs writing, social media marketing and many other things. The other part is combining your inbound marketing ventures with outbound elements like PR, advertisements and events, among other things. Always remember, getting your customers to your website or social media profile/webpage is just a part of the job. To inspire brand loyalty, you must provide superior customer service, and prove to be a great example in the real world too.

Every brand worth its salt pays serious attention to digital marketing now. One thing to keep in mind is that any brand should update itself with the passage of time, or else, it becomes obsolete. Think of HMV, which was a household name once. But, with the rise of the internet and music streaming services, it could no longer sustain itself and ultimately, shut shop.

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How to start a Career in Digital Marketing

Like in many practical or vocational areas, your skills in digital marketing may come from exposure and experience. If you have worked in a field like content creation or web development– you eventually pick up a thing or two while working and from your interactions with professionals in the field. On the field learning is valuable, as it develops your instincts, sharpens the eye and orients your mind towards thinking in a certain way.

On the other hand, it always helps if you have some professional training in the field. You may take specialised training to become a marketing manager or take a digital marketing course. There are many institutes of repute that offer these courses, you just have to fire your search engine and choose the one that suits you best.

What employers look for?

India is a huge market and is considered the “youth capital” of the world. Our youth are the driving force behind our country. It does not take a rocket scientist to realise what tremendous potential India has as a consumer market and how important young people are as a customer base. Here are some things employers look for when they consider hiring for their digital marketing team:

  1. To appeal to the youth, employers look for people who can speak their language. And who better than someone who is one of them? Marketing ultimately is communicating with the customer. A stuffy middle-aged executive in a suit may be a great asset in an air-conditioned office, but when your target audience is today’s socially conscious, dynamic youth, you have better chance roping them in if your spokesperson and marketing team consists of people like them.
  2. The world is continuously changing. A young, net-savvy person is more in touch with trends than others. A good digital marketing strategy should always keep a finger on the pulse. Consumer insight forms the basis of any marketing strategy, and a young digital marketer can figure out quickly what people are looking for by looking at trending hashtags, topics and social media campaigns.
  3. An essential part of conducting digital marketing campaigns is marketing via influencers. Our traditional ideas of celebrity spokesperson do not always apply to the digital or social media landscape. Influencers, thanks to their vast internet fanbase and subsequent influence, impact the reputation and sales of the brands that they represent massively. Which is why Tommy Hilfiger has signed up Gigi Hadid to be their face and not gone with someone like Naomi Campbell.

Many brands, primarily related to beauty and fashion, are more likely to succeed in generating sales from millennials by promoting their brand online than on traditional channels like television or billboards. A good digital marketing consultant must be one who is not only aware of who are the social media influencers that count, but also know who they appeal to and understand how the customers interact with brands being endorsed by them.

  1. Content writers are a vital part of any digital marketing agency. As a marketing manager, a good content writer should be well aware of digital trends & flavours and should be able to write content that is attractive and packed with optimum keyword density. In short, a content writer must understand what the potential customer of the brand is looking for, and should write blogs or articles that are so oriented that they include the keywords these customers are likely to search for.
  2. A good digital marketing campaign should always look for affiliate marketers. Quite simply, these are bloggers, content creators or sellers who can promote and sell your products for a commission. This is a mutually beneficial relationship. The company gets to increase its sphere of influence and has its message delivered to a wide range of customers, while the marketer has a product to offer. Customer satisfaction would lead to more website hits for both and inspire brand loyalty.

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How is digital marketing as a career

A career in digital marketing can be a lucrative option. You can use your knowledge and familiarity just the internet and social media to earn, and in most cases, you can apply without a formal degree. But you must have a clear idea of what kind of content people want to check out, what keywords they are likely to use, and how to harness the power of social media.

Here is a list of positions you can apply for in the field.

Career opportunities in Digital Marketing

  • Content Writers: Content writers, as the name says, create the content. They must have a clean writing style that is snappy and attractive and should be able to generate articles that are responsive to current trends. They usually write for websites and blogs.
  • Copy Writers: Copywriter are the creative brains behind an advertising campaign. They are the ones in charge of creating taglines and mottos. They are the ones who are responsible for what we see on brochures, billboards, posters, catalogues and advertisements.
  • SEO Executives: SEO is vital for making brands more visible on the internet. SEO executives are responsible for keyword research, using Google webmaster tools and optimising websites such that the content responds to search engine algorithms. This way, the site ranks on top of Google search results.
  • Search Engine Marketers: They are responsible for marketing via the search engine or Google AdWords. Their job is to bring in the designated number of clicks for the website within a stipulated period.
  • Social Media Marketing Experts/Specialists: They are in charge of promoting a brand or products on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. This may sound like an easy job, but requires a person with remarkable insights into social media trends. Marketing on social media is not sharing links on these platforms but also doing so in an ethical way. Most companies today do not favour “buying” clicks for ethical and budgetary reasons. A social media marketing experts should not only have excellent communication skills, but also be well aware of ethical guidelines, and keep abreast with the new targeting and featuring tools that are being introduced every day.
  • Conversion Rate Optimizer: For them, the job is to make sure that conversion rates increase in every part of the marketing channel. They must understand how a customer interacts with a brand, what pages are likely to generate more conversions and what it takes to make a page more attractive to customers and encourages conversion rates. They use various tools like heat mapping and other webpage analytics to enhance customer experience.
  • Inbound Marketing Manager: Inbound marketing managers work with CRO executives and content managers. They are in charge of managing leads, encouraging conversion rates and design strategy for attracting more traffic.
  • Content Marketing Manager: They are in charge of overseeing the blogs and articles, ebook publications, email communications, newsletters, videos, guest blogging and some PR activities. They manage the team of content writers. In most cases, web content is generated by freelancers, and it is the job of the content marketing manager to use that content and arrange for coordination within the team.
  • Digital Marketing Manager: A good digital marketing manager is in high demand. It is not necessary that they hold an MBA degree or so, but they must have experience in the field. A digital marketing manager should understand the landscape and be good at anticipating trends. They head the digital marketing team and are responsible for management and coordination between the team members. They are the contact point between the rest of the team and the senior management.

Why digital marketing career

Digital marketing is a vast area. There is a shortage of skilled professionals, and studies show that there are tremendous opportunities in this field. In India, as internet penetration increases, more opportunities are coming up for vernacular content. This is still in its nascent stage, but if you are multilingual, you have an added advantage.

If you want to put your communication skills, PR abilities, content creation skills to good use- and combine that with your understanding of the internet and current digital trends- this is a good fit for you.

You do not need an expensive MBA degree or speak in jargon. You can even start your own blog or website and learn from there. Remember, a good digital marketing manager should understand the customer and be able to speak to him in his language. If you are confident that you can do so and have some knowledge of how a digital customer behaves, a career in digital marketing can be extremely satisfactory.

Branding & Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of BrandLoom Consulting (A $1m startup). Help companies generate more revenue through digital marketing and branding. Growth Driver of Large Global Companies and Successful Startups. Built Sustainable & Profitable Businesses for over 100 Brands during 18 years long global career. Speaker at CII, CITI, ASSOCHAM and several prominent Industry Forums. Covered by TOI, ET, The Hindu, Silicon India, The CEO and many publications.

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