4 min read
Let me attempt to give you the blue ocean strategy of getting that awesome, high paying job which will always be in demand. But first let’s look at what’s happening around us in India:
- Most large advertisers have a largely superficial digital marketing practice – strong statement, but more on this later, lest you hold me on this one!
- VC money which is driving a large part of the digital marketing in the country continues to be cheap. It is unfortunate how much money is wasted in bad execution in marketing and user acquisition. While I must not complain for indirectly benefiting enormously by being a prolific online shopper for everything from international holidays to daily groceries (almost a state of hyper-deflation sponsored by the investors), I do feel that this will hamper future investments where investors would be more circumspect.
- The Bubble will burst. Eventually. In some shape or form. Much as I hate to say this, it is inevitable given the blatant disregard shown for investor money by a large number of startups. But I hope I’m wrong.
Coming back to the first point, we pride on Digital being incredibly measurable, but who’s really measuring it end to end? Most branding campaigns are measured on non-business metrics like visits or engagement which can easily be faked, and most performance campaigns are measured by a last click attribution model which would never credit top of the funnel brand and awareness building activities like display and rich media campaigns. It’s not that marketers don’t want to measure the right metric, but rather it’s mostly about the inadequate planning around stitching the various parts of a launch or campaign for higher synergy. The classic business imperative to launch immediately often comes at a huge cost of inefficient marketing as well as a lost opportunity to learn. Millions are spent each month on digital campaigns by most large advertisers, but not a fraction of it is spent on building or enhancing skills. Also, most marketers and that’s irrespective of the level, want to do “high level” stuff and not get down to exploring the power of today’s digital marketing tools and platforms, which can help make campaigns more precise and marketing more accountable. Hence the average 10% feature utilization of most platforms and tools in the market, including the most popular ones that almost everyone uses!
It’s like buying a Ferrari and then keeping it at home as a show piece. The lack of good roads is similar in this analogy to the lack of skilled human resources to drive these digital marketing platforms. But as investors begin to look at sustainable business models and check the reckless spending, digital marketers who have hitherto never had the problem of a limited budget will eventually need to learn to get more bang for the buck by attempting to have a single view of their customer – across channels and devices that are online as well as user experiences which are offline. They will need to have an attribution model that is all encompassing. In a world where audience data is everything, marketing will need to have a long term view where every penny spent has a return at some point and every customer interaction is used to enrich future experiences.
As marketers venture into establishing these systems and platforms that are built for the future, they will need people to run the show. As of now, the bulk of the talent available is proficient only on Adwords, which has technically been around for more than a decade in the country. Some of the largest, and most evolved marketers realize this, and have been looking around for talent in this advanced digital marketing space – folks who are good at programmatic media buying, using the abundance of data and analytics available meaningfully to marry the art and science of digital marketing to truly make advertising useful for the consumer – showing an ad that helps him/her decide in the moments that matter. But this talent is very scarce in India.
At Google too, we’ve been looking for such folks so that we can handhold the campaigns for some of our clients and lead the digital ecosystem with cutting edge digital marketing ops, but are unable to find the right talent who can leverage creative, data and technology to deliver a superlative campaign. This is a low hanging fruit for anyone who is passionate about digital marketing, and is looking to build skills to enhance his/her career prospects. This demand is only going to increase exponentially in the years to come, as consumers spend more of their time online and marketers attempt to make their digital practice more precise and accountable. It’s not me who’s saying this – according to a recent, beautiful article by McKinsey titled “How digital marketing operations can transform business“, “Marketing operations is certainly not the sexiest part of marketing, but it is becoming the most important one.“
So you may ask if these jobs would be high paying? With such scarcity of good talent across the Digital space, HR will have to get more strategic and look at newer ways of attracting and retaining talent. In fact, the HR Head of a well-funded, large e-commerce company had recently remarked on TV that it is easier to convince investors than to convince employees to join – that’s how scarce good talent is becoming in the country, and organizations are willing to pay top dollar for the right skill set. While the amazing way in which Netflix reinvented HR in this outstanding HBR article remains largely utopian in the Indian context, job offers in this space at least would be led by referrals and word of mouth – which always rewards top performance and good work ethic.
So there you are – if you are passionate about Digital Marketing and technology, and are fond of programming/gaming/puzzles/statistics/math, the future is very bright for you.
Views expressed are personal.