As the world set its foot in the 21st century in the year 2001 the technological advancement started taking shape making brands take their baby steps towards digital marketing. The first set of social media websites were developed in the early 2000’s and now after close to 2 decades, digital marketing has become a core part of whatever initiatives brands take for its growth. Kolkata based Indus Net TechShu has been making remarkable achievements in the world of Digital Marketing for Brands, Agencies and Learners as well. In tête-à-tête with us, Aji Issac Mathew of Digital Marketing University throws the light of the past, present and future of Digital Marketing in India. He is a thought leader in Digital Marketing and started his career as a high-end algorithm writer, web coder and server optimizer. In the journey, he headed few digital companies before starting TechShu, a full-service digital marketing agency. With 15 years of hands-on digital marketing experience, he has achieved an absolute balance of Marcom, Tech, Business Modelling, and Digital Know-how, which allows him to integrate core business KPI to digital marketing KPI.
The concept of Digital Marketing University
Digital Marketing University (DMU) is an initiative by Indus Net Technologies and Indus Net TechShu. Indus Net Technologies has over two decades of experience in Digital Consulting, Web Apps, Mobile Apps, Analytics, Cloud Infra and ROI Driven Digital Marketing serving enterprises which include many Fortune 500s across 9 countries and has a team of 750+ professionals. A few of the clients include Ageas, Uber, Bridgestone, Cadbury, Tesco Bank, Bank of America, Axis Bank, LG, Fox Sports, Paytm, SBI General, Mattel, Cipla, Tata Motors, Unilever, Pepsico, Deloitte, PWC, KPMG.
While working with our clients, we realized that there is a demand-supply gap for “quality” digital marketing resources and very often our clients would ask us if we can help them build their digital marketing team. As digital is growing at a spectacular rate of 30% year on year, the need for resources even for small & medium enterprises is increasing rapidly. We realized this shift and ventured into a concept that would not only fill the demand-supply gap for “quality” digital marketing resources but also help:
- Companies hire the right candidate at the right time with the right skill set and build their dream digital marketing teams
- Institutions offer better job opportunities to the students and
- Professionals to upgrade their core skill set and get better offerings for a sustainable growth
DMU is trying to cover every aspect to be perceived as a digital growth partner for businesses, institutions and professionals. DMU is offering the following services:
- Institutions – Foundation Training, Career Counseling and a dedicated platform to find exciting digital marketing opportunities.
- Businesses – Corporate Training, Team Building & a dedicated platform to search for quality digital marketing resources
- Professionals – Training and a dedicated platform to find relevant digital marketing opportunities.
Digital marketing training is the key offering of DMU and the training methodology has been customized keeping in mind the need, pain and gain of a potential candidate. The delivery method we follow are quite flexible and unique:
- Self Learn – learn at your own pace
- Live Coaching – faculty led online interactive training
- Power Workshops – highly interactive and offline faculty led workshops
The digital marketing space is upgrading and evolving with every passing day. How do you plan to manage and keep up the pace with the rapidly changing requirements of brands?
This is an interesting question. This is where DMU is very different from other training institutions. We have a very strong digital marketing agency, Indus Net TechShu which supports all of the new things happening in the industry. To explain it further, inside our company we have two KPIs, one is the Client KPI where every person is supposed to achieve the business goals for our clients and the second one is Knowledge KPIs where employees need to upgrade their core skill set to stay relevant and grow along with the evolving industry. Now, if we look at the rapidly changing requirements of the brands, normally their requirements with respect to core business goals does not change much, however what changes is the way to achieve those goals and this is where we have an upper hand unlike other institutions. We get to know the requirements of our clients real time which leads to a better understanding of the changing trends. We make sure that our team is well equipped with the latest tools and methodologies to stay ahead of the peers. The whole business KPI is divided into 4-5 business KPIs where different people are contributing differently. One of the things that we do religiously is publishing a newsletter every week for the industry, the highlights of the newsletter includes the trends which is going to make a bigger impact the coming week. This particular activity adds a lot of value to our clients and the marketers in our network, therefore DMU is perceived differently in the ecosystem.
USP’s Digital Marketing University
The core USP from DMU is Structured learning and I think we can quote Elon Musk here which says “Frankly though, I Think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying. One bit of advice: It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree, make sure you understand the fundamental principles i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.” It is all about the structure now, digital marketing has evolved a lot over the years and now it’s time for the industry to realize that when it comes to learning digital, if you don’t have the structure, you cannot grow faster. We observed that a lot of companies help you get the muscles right but they don’t give you the skeleton to put the muscles on. And that is why, people get a lot of knowledge but they don’t get the wisdom. Our effort is to convert the knowledge into a structured knowledge which is a lot of hard work, anyone who has written a book will understand how difficult it is to structure your thoughts into a proper way. And, here you are talking about an industry to be structured in a particular manner and this is what we have done for the last 8 years. To conclude, putting that structure in place, the way to navigate through that structure towards wisdom and keep adding newer things to your learning will definitely add a lot of value to a long term sustainable growth. This is one of the USP’s we are bringing on the table apart from other USPs that include the hybrid methodology to learn faster and better, the platform (SLTS) is a brain child of Dr. Ranjan Das, a pioneer in India in developing a Smart Learning and Transformation Solution for delivering both academic and Professional Development Programs through 100% LIVE & 2 Way Interactive Communication Platform. He developed this solution as an Academic Entrepreneur while single-handedly leading IIM Calcutta’s extremely successful journey in this space during 1999-2007. Prof Das is an author of 6 books and over a dozen of research papers on strategic management.
Current gaps in Digital Marketing
The most visible gap that we have identified is the business level communication within the team and with the clients. The business wants some of the core business metrics to be met whereas the things are changing so rapidly in digital that most of the digital marketing people are focused on transactional KPIs rather than the business KPIs. And, often we see a huge gap between the transactional or vanity KPIs and the business KPIs because of which marketers are not able to produce result as expected from the clients. We believe that digital should be understood from the business perspective rather than understanding digital in silos, this would definitely make a huge difference when it comes to project delivery. In fact, one of our modules in the course is dedicated for this at a strategy level.
Do you think digital marketing initiatives of companies are very close to overshadowing the traditional marketing methods used for decades?
I think this is where we differ completely; we have no enmity with traditional marketing. In fact we put ourselves as the solutions company first, a marketing company second and a digital company third. As the fundamentals of business and problem solving with respect to marketing will always remain the same. And, what differs is the media, communication, delivery mechanisms, etc. But apart from that, everything remains the same. So, I don’t think anyone working in the traditional marketing should be fearful of learning digital or someone in digital marketing thinking that digital initiative of companies are very close to overshadowing the traditional marketing methods. We believe that both these forms of marketing complement one another and people coming from a traditional marketing background has a great opportunity to grow even faster. Also, when marketers come together from physical and digital world, we have seen magic happen as the perspectives are completely different and ads a lot of value for the company. At DMU we have a very special treatment for people who want to switch from traditional to digital marketing as a career choice.
How do you help brands with their digital marketing strategies?
Marketing is all about improving the buyer funnel over time and often 80% of the marketing budget is spend to reach out to the right set of audience, through the right channels with the right messaging. I would like to explain this further by talking about one of our clients, ETL Learning – a global publisher and marketer of children’s home education products. We optimized their digital marketing campaign in such a way that it was reaching only to the early moms who were well off and can spend a good amount of money to educate their kids between 3-5 years of age. The client said that by spending just $2000 they were able to make a $100,000 in sales, which we feel is a great success story. Similar to this, we have produced result for most of our esteemed clients. In digital, it is easy to create success with a good budget and the right strategy, however, for few of our clients we have been able to produce great results by spending quarter of their usual marketing budget. We believe that experience counts only when you as a marketer can create success with a small budget. For one of our clients in the UK with a small budget, we helped them plan a strategy that can give them good results, as for that business, most of the sales was happening through a research based buying. In this case we realized that investing in PPC and SEO would definitely produced results. To conclude this, it’s really important for a marketer to map business needs with the customer needs to craft a ROI focused marketing strategy.
Advantages for Students
This is another interesting question. Most of the resources we hire at our company are freshers from a mid level B-schools, we train them well and today if you see their salaries have grown in between 7x to 15x in 4-5 years. Some of them are lucky enough to got an opportunity at Google, Facebook and some of the most celebrated companies in India and outside. We believe that success stories attract and inspire others as well. We encourage students to learn digital and build their career with one of the fastest growing industry today. In addition, learning digital through the right channels is really important for a sustainable growth, hence finding a mentor with skills that matter in today’s digital ecosystem will definitely make a huge difference. We see a lot of young leaders working at a senior level for companies in their digital marketing department and producing great results. If we talk about students, we take classes at few of the premier institutions like IIFT, XLRI UPH and we realized that more than 10% of students in a batch chose to learn and grow in digital marketing instead of any other traditional career choices.
The team behind Digital Marketing University?
In last 9 years, we have build a quality workforce in digital while working with few of the world’s finest companies, once we achieved the scale, we thought that it is better to create a separate entity for the masses to capitalize from our learning and mistakes. To achieve scale in terms of human resources has been the biggest challenge for us, however, we believe that we have solved that problem. Digital Marketing University was started in 2017 by me (Aji Issac Mathew, CEO | Indus Net TechShu) and Abhishek Rungta, Founder & CEO of Indus Net Technologies. We both have built successful companies in this space and are considered to be the pioneers in our own area of expertise. Later on, Uttam Kumar joined the team as a Program Director and he is taking care of the marketing & operations. Two more prominent names from the industry have joined the team at senior advisory roles – Dr. Ranjan Das, Chairman | The Strategy Academy with an experience of over 42 years in corporate and academics and Mr. Debasish Biswas with an experience of over 26 years in corporate and academics.
We believe that there are only 3 kinds of people in the academics:
- Who knows the subject
- Who can teach others
- Who can help other people to learn
And, we fall under the 3rd category because we have transited from knowing the subject to teaching others and then to help people learn which we are doing through DMU.
Please provide names of some educational institutions, brands, and agencies that you have tied-up with?
We have a strong support from The Strategy Academy led by Dr. Ranjan Das – an Academic Entrepreneur who single-handedly led IIM Calcutta’s extremely successful journey in this space during 1999-2007. Also, Alpha Universal Group represented by Mr. Debasish Biswas has come forward to help us build DMU as an exclusive platform to learn structured digital marketing. If we talk about our portfolio, we have been training at IIFT & UPH from past 3 years and I think if people call you multiple times, it speaks about the quality. This year we have also started training at XLRI and we are in the process to train at MDI as well. Apart from this, we train at HP, Ambuja Neotia, SEtSquared, E2Exchange, LikeMinds and various other corporates in India and the UK.
What are some other core businesses of Indus Net TechShu?
The nucleus of the company is knowledge and we package this knowledge into various categories and help our clients meet their business goals. Digital marketing services is one of our core offerings along with consulting and development. We also support the industry with newer products in marketing automation. And now we have a new arm in L&D which is DMU.
Anything you would like to add?
Digital is way more powerful than what we think it is, and sometimes we go in the wrong direction by comparing it with traditional marketing. I believe that digital needs to be looked at as a medium which gives you a lot of unique things and instead of putting your offline/traditional marketing thoughts into digital you need to understand how digital works and come up with its own way of making it successful. For instance, instead of thinking of a creative campaign, digital allows you to plan a sustainable campaign using utilities, which can give you more dividend that a creative campaign that just helps you in branding. If you compare the overall ROI of a utility campaign with a creative campaign, utility will always sustain for many years and the ROI will multiply over time as it matures. There are a lot of things which digital helps you achieve as a business or a professional, provided you have the right success partner throughout the journey. This is where we as Digital Marketing University comes into picture with our offering customized perfectly to fit the needs of businesses, institutions and professionals in terms of training, career counseling, consulting and team building.