The number of internet users in India has been increasing at an eye-watering rate due to the
growing penetration of smartphones in the country. Expected to rise to 500 million in 2017, as many as 400 million of these internet users access the web through mobile phones. The internet and digital media have enabled customers to look beyond the basics about a brand. They can now access reviews and ask for opinions from across the globe due to their newfound ability to access global networks and communities. As the demand for brands with a strong digital presence increases, businesses find themselves staring down depleted digital marketing talent pools.
The importance of ‘Digital’ skills
Innovative products attract attention and create a buzz in the market but true marketing success in the current digital age requires continuous engagement and discussion of ideas on digital media platforms. Catching the attention of users is harder on digital media, given the control users exercise over what they see and when they see it. Furthermore, the large number of different social media trends and platforms are hard to track, adding to the workload of existing marketing teams. The rapid pace of change means that they have to respond to new challenges and opportunities at a breakneck speed, contributing further to the boiler-room situation. The lack of skilled resources also contributes to wastage of efforts. For instance, it has been noted that even after more than 92 per cent of marketers collect data on customers or prospects frequently, they are unable to use this information due to a lack of awareness or the unavailability of the right tools.
The ideal digital marketer
Ideally, a digital marketer should be able to adopt a clear and smart strategy that covers media plans, advertising and brand proposition, as well as how to distribute their message to relevant customer segments. They should have the required expertise to chart out complex and exciting solutions for this dynamic space.
Addressing the ‘skill’ gap
In a study by the Digital Marketing Institute, it was found that the lack of digital marketing training offered by firms resulted in incompetent strategies being adopted by companies and brands. In such a scenario, the only real way to bridge the skill gap in digital marketing is through comprehensive training that deals with the digital medium with precision and helps marketers create highly relevant brand communication strategies. The training should help marketers develop brand messaging that has an emotional connection to the target audience and is contextually relevant. Several brands have already attempted to address this problem. Unilever, for example, increased its training budget and training duration, while introducing mandatory modules and workshops.
To continue to remain relevant and engage with customers regularly is no longer an aspirational goal but an absolute necessity for survival in a better-informed and more competitive market. Investing in digital marketing allows brands to engage with existing and potential customers in this new arena and doing so effectively will lead to high conversions and great revenues for enterprises.
Every firm, big or small, should invest in training employees to cost-effectively realize the immense potential of digital marketing with a focus on being interactive, adaptive, and efficient. They should also invest in software and commercially available solutions that aid marketing teams to analyze their data and make their jobs easier. Without these skills and tools, organizations will falter and fall behind the continuously evolving dynamics of digital competition.
Barin Mukherjee is the Co Founder and CEO of DigitalF5.