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Guest Column: Cookies, Facebook & a career in digital

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Guest Column: Cookies, Facebook & a career in digital

Are you the kind of person who gets excited and is always curious about technological advancements and how they affect your lifestyle? Do you need a career that provides you with constant creative outlet? Well, digital marketing then might just be the field for you. For that, let’s start by understanding the essence of digital media in India.

There has been a huge expansion in social media and online communication channels over the last two years in India. These new channels and consumer devices have emerged due to advances in digital and mobile technology, which is slowly penetrating the smallest of cities. This has had a big impact on the way the marketing, advertising and PR industries operate, creating a new digital marketing discipline.

What does digital marketing mean?
To those who are new to the term digital marketing – it’s no rocket science, it’s all around you and if you have ever touched a social platform like Facebook, you have been already introduced to the world of digital marketing. It uses blogs, mobile phones, social networking and content-sharing sites to promote brands, products and services. As a consequence of its impact and future prospects, marketing graduates have now a whole new dimension to study and conquer.

To become a successful digital marketer, you need not be a software engineer. But of course, if ‘cookies’ are something you only relish with your chocolate milk and the word ‘explorer’ only reminds you of the adventures of Indiana Jones, then we could be in a little trouble!

What are the education requisites?
Digital marketing doesn't ‘compulsorily’ require a degree. Of course, if you want to enter an MNC as a digital expert, they like to see Diploma in Digital Marketing, Executive Programme in Digital Marketing, MSc in Digital Marketing and numerous IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India)-approved programmes in your CV. Students while doing these courses must make sure that it covers topics like search engine marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), online reputation management (ORM), social media optimisation (SMO), pay-per-click advertising and e-mail marketing. If you want to go into a more specialised digital education, then understanding Netnography (analysing the behaviour of individuals on the internet that uses online marketing research techniques to provide useful insights) can be a big plus.

But if you would be working in an agency, all you need is a bachelor’s degree in any stream with an ‘understanding’ of digital media and marketing.

The important takeaway is student of any field can take up digital marketing as a prospective career (Personally, I come from business administration and advertising and PR background with no special course in digital). I know this may be a generalisation, but digital media in India is, at least for the time being, a largely youth-orientated industry. For those ambitious enough, this means many opportunities for you to rise very quickly. The down side is that you need to keep abreast of the unceasing modifications or face obsolescence yourself.

What do I need to do?
As a digital marketing manager, you are going to take care of the brand that you are handling and generate interest for it using different channels in the internet. This includes promoting products and services through websites, blogs, forums, mobile phones, social media and even traditional channels like television and radio. If you are interested in this position, it is best that you observe how people interact with the brands that are advertised online and more importantly, perceive what allures you to a particular brand online.

And yes, you should be creative and know how to create strategies that are campaign and audience specific. This is the strongest weapon of a digital marketer.

How much money can I earn?
Money does matter. If you are a fresher, you can usually expect between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000 per month, depending upon your exposure to the medium. That’s at least 70-80 per cent more than any other ‘creative’ field like advertising or events. I remember getting Rs 8,000 for my first advertising job and that was the ‘best offer’ to any trainee.

The four rules to rein digital
Read more but ‘do’ most:
Any hands-on involvement with campaign creation, analytics comprehension, or just doing small but real live case studies can be extremely beneficial if you are an aspiring digital marketer.

Keep Sharing. Tweeting. Pinning: You will be paid for your time on Facebook, Twitter and surfing through the online world. So be there more and be alert of everything happening and changing around you. It’s not just a platform of entertainment anymore. It’s your career. Make them believe you can very well build any brand the way you have your own.

Jack of all. Master of some: In a digital marketing agency you will be exposed to all opportunities of digital marketing – from social media, paid search, offline integration, campaign ideas, to mobile touch points and everything in between. You need to ‘know’ everything and then specialise so that you are always in sync when a new 360 digital marketing plan is hatched, understand the whole process and not work in solidarity.

Be ever curious: My email signature reads ‘Passionately curious’. And that I think is the key to succeed in this field – always eager to know things like Netnography, understanding, analysing the changing trends and staying ahead by learning what’s in the market and what’s to come. This will help ensure you don’t get stuck when appearing for jobs interviews, and even after you make it big.

In the field of digital marketing, sometimes more than knowing the right answers, knowing the right questions matters more.

The imperative miscellaneous
Remember, a great digital marketer is like a good psychologist who can strategise well and knows how to connect with people in a very humane and effortless way.

When you decide to join the digital sphere, break the ice and start being more than just friends with the medium. I stumbled into this industry as a young advertiser with a business administration background who was simply amazed by how the internet can transform your business and bring your consumers closer to you in a way it was never plausible before.

However yes, people will expect you to have more than a basic knowledge about the web and a strong and ‘active’ presence in it. Never compromise on your dreams and your dreams will never compromise on you. And no matter which field you choose, nail it guys!

The author is Business Strategist at Brandlogist.

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