I got a chance to pick his brain and I asked him questions about how he started his journey, how he made Digital Vidya the best in its class and some other questions about digital marketing in general.
Deepak: How did you learn digital marketing? How did you get into the digital marketing field?
Pradeep: It was by chance vs by choice. For our 1st venture, Whizlabs Software, while none of the conventional marketing channels worked in our favor, we happened to sell our first product through SEO without actually knowing it.
That too in the year 2001. We could then scale Whizlabs really fast and could create a global brand for us. Since then we’ve not looked back and have been actively using digital marketing in all our ventures.
Deepak: What was the inception point of Digital Vidya, how did you get started and eventually become one of the leading digital marketing training companies?
Pradeep: Till 2009, we were informally supporting other professionals and entrepreneurs in learning and leveraging digital marketing by sharing our experience with them.
A friend of ours suggested that we should consider doing it formally as it was the need of the industry. That gave birth to Digital Vidya.
Since we were among the first few companies to formally offer digital marketing education in India and were driven by passion to genuinely support others in their growth, we could start well and our understanding of digital marketing industry helped us to continuously evolve our model.
For e.g., we started by conducting 2 days Social Media Workshop, which we continued till 2013 and then we completely switched to instructor-led, online digital marketing certification programs.
Deepak: What is the one thing that is stopping organisations from leveraging digital marketing?
Pradeep: Instead of one, I would like to add ‘two reasons’ so that I can cover a large % of organizations, which are not yet leveraging digital marketing:
- Unaware about the real opportunity of digital marketing
- Inability to successfully execute digital marketing campaigns
Deepak: There is a huge demand for digital marketing skills and the gap is filled by training companies like Digital Vidya. But I still do not see universities and colleges roll out digital marketing programs, any idea why?
Pradeep: There’s an ever-growing demand of skilled digital marketing professionals. While a lot of academic institutions including IIMs have added digital marketing in their curriculum or even started to offer standalone programs, they have not been able to do justice to this demand.
The primary reason is that digital marketing skill needs to be imparted by practitioners who are working in the industry vs through an academic orientation. We regularly see people who participate in our program after they’ve attended a program at an academic institution.
Each one of them share that the real value of our digital marketing program lies in the assignments, exercises and projects, which give them confidence to apply the learning in real life scenario.
For the same reason, I find it’s even more challenging for academic institutions to offer program in Mobile Marketing. Even we’d to invest a lot of time in creating curriculum and identify program leaders for our recently launched Mobile Marketing certification program.
Deepak: Out of all the digital marketing channels, what is the one channel that has helped Digital Vidya scale with marketing?
Pradeep: To be honest, our growth has been a function of our ability to leverage various digital marketing channels including search, social and email. However, search would have contributed most so far.
Deepak: SEO is becoming very difficult with every passing day. It looks like almost anything we do is black hat SEO. Can you share some SEO strategies that are not likely to get outdated?
Pradeep: Yes, SEO has become increasingly difficult over last few years. That’s one reason why the value of SEO is even higher today for companies who know it well and are doing it right as short-term techniques are no more valuable.
I first experienced the value of SEO in 2001 and as I’d shared it was purely by chance. In my experience, while Google’s algorithm has matured a lot, basic principles of SEO haven’t changed.
The importance of key word research, providing great user experience including relevant content, gaining recommendations from other sites in the form of links has not changed.
Deepak: Do you think that the roles of marketing and sales are getting overlapped because of digital marketing? If yes, how?
Pradeep: Yes, the distinction between sales & marketing is very blurred when it comes to digital marketing. Interestingly, we find a very high percentage of sales professionals in our digital marketing programs.
Deepak: What do you think the state of digital marketing would be in 2025? Will traditional marketing be completely dead by that time?
Pradeep: Did you mean 2015? 🙂 I think 2025 is too far to even think about; we should be concerned about the state of digital marketing in next 1-3 years.
In my view, traditional marketing will not be dead; the role of digital is only going to increase and we will see even higher importance of integrated marketing.
Deepak: Any digital marketing suggestions for my blog digitaldeepak.com? Can you give me a few tips to scale my traffic up? 🙂
Pradeep: I am a regular reader of your blog and newsletters. It has been a great learning for me going through the content you write.
Your passion is truly visible in everything you do at DigitalDeepak.com. I suggest that you continue that and if possible, involve more passionate people like you so as to scale the great work you are already doing.
Deepak: Thanks a lot for the wonderful answers. I am sure the readers of DigitalDeepak.com would have gained a lot of value from this!
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