Vivek Kumar Singh
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our daily lives considerably, particularly the way we work, communicate and shop among other necessary modes of functioning. With external movement being fraught with risks and complications, working from home (WFH) and readily available online learning solutions are heralding a big shift towards digital platforms. The time has never been more appropriate for professionals across sectors to up-skill themselves in digital marketing which is the newest corporate buzzword.
Here are some core data points pertaining to the digital shift amongst consumers:
- Affordable 4G internet, higher smartphone penetration and growing consumer disposable income should drive the Indian ecommerce sector towards $200 billion in value by 2026 or even earlier.
- Nine out of 10 consumers have changed buying habits and shifted to digital platforms.
- Fifty per cent of consumers have been ordering products online that they would otherwise buy at stores.
- Six out of 10 consumers are worried about physically visiting stores owing to coronavirus infection fears.
- Consumers are also expected to continue shopping online predominantly even after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in categories like personal care and groceries.
- As many as 60-85% of users of internet in South-East Asia and China have been avoiding public places strictly.
- Digitisation will be a major priority in all sectors with brands now going all out to tap into existing customer data for driving traffic to online channels and websites with retail CRM and marketing automation tools.
- Personalised digital engagement to become a key differentiator for selling vital category items such as personal care/wellness products, medicines and groceries among others.
Demand has clearly shot up for digital market courses offered by several online learning platforms. Businesses are relying more and more on digital marketing solutions for finding new customers, driving online traffic, building communities, enhancing customer engagement, branding and building narratives around their brands.
Even businesses with limited online engagement channels earlier, are steadily shifting towards influencer driven digital campaigns, social media marketing, content marketing and SEO.
Digital marketing techniques are more viable and cost-effective for companies in the present scenario while generating comparatively higher ROI (return on investment) than traditional marketing channels. Companies are choosing digital campaigns where they can easily track spends and compare metrics and return figures including viewership, analytics and click/bounce rates along with leads generated. Businesses are deriving greater value from solutions like content marketing, search optimization, pay per click marketing, email marketing and social media promotions.
Community building and enhanced digital interactions with customers are helping marketers flourish amidst the pandemic. In the near future, digital marketers will be in demand not just across companies but also for influencers, personal brands and celebrities alike.
With a wide array of career paths available, digital marketing courses are covering various specialisations in the field. Working as a digital marketing specialist means evolving rapidly in a fast-changing environment. An online course followed by an internship or carrying out a few projects is the best way to build a career in this domain.
Some of the preferred specialisations include the following:
· E-commerce marketing: Online retail will become the new normal and aspirants will find jobs in marketing, strategy and analyst positions in this segment.
· Content Marketing: Digital marketing managers will emphasize more on content covering social media posts, blogs, videos, PPC advertisements and more. Creators, content managers, strategists can all find opportunities galore in the future after obtaining the right certification.
· SEO: Search engine optimization will continue to be a hot specialisation for professionals who can help companies drive traffic and rank higher on Google and other search engines. SEO professionals will find more scope of growth in future years.
· Mobile Marketing: Mobile marketers will become highly preferred professionals for a large variety of businesses, pushing strategies like messaging, in-game notifications, QR codes, push notifications and MMS to drive engagement.
· Social Media Marketing: Undoubtedly course takers in this space will never run out of opportunities. Social media is the gateway to future networking and engagement for brands in all spheres.
· Online Reputation Management: ORM has become synonymous with contemporary digital marketing since any online track record directly impacts advertising/selling prospects. This is one domain that should attract more learners in the near future.
These are career opportunities that are currently in demand and this has naturally spurred demand for digital marketing courses across a variety of platforms. The world is going digital and with data all set to be the next big battleground for leading companies, abundant opportunities can be expected for skilled professionals in this field.
Professionals with the right skill-sets, certification and aptitude can definitely make hay over the next decade or two as per industry estimates.
— The writer is Co-Founder & CEO, Careerera