As expression portals pervade across multiple platforms, marketers are on their feet. With the advent and rise of social media, new and niche platforms emerge every day. But social media experts, as they are called, are rare because hardly anyone understands what a social media expert is.
“Some marketers claim themselves to be experts in social and digital media, which is incorrect. In fact, many of them have no clue about digital analytics and the way the new media works. How can you expect a successful Twitter campaign to be run by a marketer who himself is not present on Twitter,” said a social media researcher, on the condition of anonymity.
Based on the above fulcrum, the question that arises is: Are we in need of institutes that offer courses in digital media for current marketers? The thought above opens a Pandora’s Box of discussion.
Rashmi Putcha, CEO, Digital Marketing Training Institute said, “I think there is a need for full time training for digital marketers. Most management colleges don’t have full time or ample amount of credits in their curriculum for digital marketing. The time allotted by various industry sources or other industry based institutes is also minimal.”
Putcha, along with some of her industry colleagues, launched Digital Marketing Training Institute (DMTI) a year ago. “With over 1,800 professionals trained so far, we feel that bringing on esteemed advisors in our board will provide the company and more importantly, the students with the growth direction needed to excel in the digital marketing education space,” she added.
DMTI is one such example but are marketers serious about learning digital marketing as a separate paradigm? “The problem is that most marketers in the current domain are not open about accepting the fact that they are not competitive in social media. They think it would dampen their credibility in a way and are therefore skeptical in accepting the fact. This is a far bigger problem than commenting on the viability of such courses,” said a senior social media marketer, on condition of anonymity.
He also mentioned a fact that many people in his own organisation are not acquainted with the nuances of digital marketing but they won’t accept it. “Digital is a different a ball game altogether,” he added.
But will an academy help a corporate?
“I would look for experience here. What I would expect from a social media school in this context would be a school which is run by professionals. I can learn from people who have actually implemented successful campaigns for their brands or who themselves are active on social media,” said Abhinav Sahai, Founder, Niswey Digital Marketing. “I don’t want to learn from academicians who will build castles in the air like we had in classrooms,” he added.
Rajiv Dingra, Founder, WatConsult said, “The digital medium is fast catching the attention of the young generation of our country. A digital marketing institute will be an apt platform for the budding talent to explore and experience the various opportunities that are available in the digital world. And getting firsthand experience from the e-marketers, this will be a great opportunity for someone who is considering digital as a long-term career option.”
Manish Mishra, VP - Business Development & Country Manager, India, BuzzCity said “I guess there already exists many such courses from education brands such as NIIT, Digital Vidya, etc., and few other mainline Institutions. Surely, there exists a requirement and good demand too for such programmes with continuous evolution in digital media – consumption, content and consumers along with the growing market fragmentation. If these courses can offer best practices, learning and how and what not to do from seasoned e-marketers, it will be a catalyst in getting digital media its desired share and will also support to carve out a niche for such institutions.”
A seasoned marketing head of a leading global company said, “If an institute can offer me something which is exclusive at my age and experience, then why not? After all, digital media is a niche emerging domain and marketers like us need to be acquainted with it, even if it is at the cost of becoming a student again.”
The way forward
With no proper internet regulation in India and being the largest democracy, internet freedom is a much debated issue. But the reality is that brands regularly face the wrath of audiences who are fast and frank about their opinions. It is alleged that 71 per cent of celebrity Twitter followers are fake. Twitter is full of parody accounts that simply thrive on the business of criticizing others. Therefore, brands have to deal with a very vocal and sharp audience on the digital medium.
Digital medium, therefore, can be taken as another marketing platform but also a platform to govern the crisis which could emerge from any corner and at any moment.
Whether institutes such as DMTI would be able to carve a niche and offer marketers tailor-made digital solutions or not, will be judged by time. The concept is sure to be a hit with aspiring and current generation of marketers. Change is the way here, and with digital medium steadily eating into the pie of conventional media, time has come for marketers to not only embrace the new medium but also understand the nuances of this new media. After all, a simple tweet can make a product fall from the shelf!