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Why MBA’s Will Never Be Able To Survive A Career In Digital Marketing

Why MBA’s Will Never Be Able To Survive A Career In Digital Marketing

Biswaroop Padhi
Biswaroop is the Business Head & Sr. Vice President at Landmark Academy (A Landmark Group venture)

Having interviewed hundreds of young guns in the past 1 year for a variety of roles in the sphere of Digital Marketing and Communication, I can definitely let you know (yes YOU who have just moved into your final year of MBA and are reading this post) why you can never land a job in Digital Marketing.

The last 2 years has seen a phenomenal surge in marketing and communication on the digital sphere and every company worth its salt, be it the giant globe straddling conglomerates or that quaint little boutique down the corner of your lane, everyone has jumped on the digital marketing bandwagon with gusto.

Did I say bandwagon? A solid propellant fuelled multi turbo charged rocket would be more apt. Just take a look at the below infographic to get the drift.

Reaching 50 Million Users

So while everybody who can Google and has a Facebook profile thinks that he understands Digital marketing and can therefore definitely get a job in the exciting and highly dynamic field of Digital Marketing. Nothing can be far from the truth. And honestly submitting your MBA project work by Googling and working around the plagiarism software that your college has installed has really no ramification in the real world of digital marketing.

The internet is changing and changing how! Even as you read this piece, an astounding 3.2 TERABYTES of data will get generated and this is only going to grow exponentially in the days and years to come. So coming to the main point – even if YOU land a job in Digital Marketing, why you will NEVER be able to build a career in Digital Marketing is painfully obvious in my points below.

Please read the stuff below seriously.

Digital Marketing has evolved along with the internet and the future of marketing in a world of Web 3.0 will be ruled by a special breed of professionals. This breed of professionals possesses and continuously hones what are known as ‘COMB SHAPED SKILLS’.

In a world filled with jargons starting from the very common Google and Facebook, going on to slightly specialized Keywords, Engagement and ROI to the cutting edge APIs, Campaign Fencing and Analytics; the range of topics that Digital Marketing encompasses is sure to unnerve even the most hardcore nut out there.

Accomplished Digital Marketers and Strategists throughout the world are increasingly talking about the skills that an IDEAL Digital Marketing professional should possess. Take note and start doing a mental assessment of where you stand.

Skill 1: Good WORKING knowledge of the Complete DIGITAL MARKETING MIX

A hands on knowledge of Owned, Bought and Earned media which basically covers everything from SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing, Digital PR, Affiliate marketing, Remarketing, Mobile marketing, Apps et al is crucial. Not knowing about anything is not an option, this is not your internal quiz.

Skill 2: Strong ability to conduct RESEARCH and a proven track record of using WEB ANALYTICS

In the uber competitive digital business environment, resourcefulness is pivotal to long-term success. Speed to information is the key, as is the ability to extract and work on insightful data. So unless you have actually worked on standard and specialized web analytics tools, God help you!

Skill 3: Ability to create CONTENT integrating written text, graphics, videos and more

Reducing attention spans and virtually unlimited choice of content for netizens will hit you in your face almost instantaneously. So, unless you have at least novice level skills in software like Coreldraw, Photoshop and other video and text editing softwares, you will sink without a trace. And did I forget to mention copywriting skills flexible enough to populate all sorts of digital marketing platforms?

Skill 4: Technology and Coding knowledge

So you are not a Software Engineer? Too bad! Noone expects you to write code, but yeah you should be able to READ code to save your life. The rate at which jargons like HTML, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, Ruby, API etc. are used in water cooler conversations in Digital Marketing offices/departments, unless you know and speak the lingo you are already obsolete!

Skill 5: Have exceptional presentation and networking skills

With more and more business happening online through trusted professional networks, if you can’t make KILLER presentations you are gonna get run over in a week. And did I mention putting the ‘social’ into Social Media on your own professional and personal profiles? If you have anything less than 1000 friends on Facebook, 200 followers on Twitter (with an average of 7-10 original tweets per day), 500 connections on Linkedin with a few recommendations, and a blog which has atleast 40 posts, I would judge you.

And yeah social networking also happens on the ground. If you are not found at events, conferences, seminars and workshops on Digital marketing which happen throughout the year in any decent sized town, I strongly recommend considering alternate career options.

Skill 6: Strategic understanding, Flair for creativity, Entrepreneurial Adaptability and Crisis management skills

Yes, you read it correctly. Much of whatever is happening online is REAL TIME. Some, even ahead of real time. The sheer speed at which actions need to be taken in a pan global, 24X7 medium requires every self-respecting digital marketer to literally be GOD every second of his working day. Understanding the entire landscape of the client’s business, adapting and timing the digital marketing initiatives, constantly monitoring and controlling all the metrics of a typical campaign and yeah firefighting 24X7 … a Digital Marketer does it all day in – day out and then some more. Much like the X-Men, this breed of super marketers live and work among unsuspecting and naïve marketers slowly but steadily moving pushing the learning barrier higher and higher.

There you have it my dear final year MBA students. The last year of your student life (read honeymoon period) lies ahead of you. Having just returned from your summer internships, I am sure you must have gotten atleast a mild taste of the REAL WORLD. Some of you must have also started harboring fantasies of joining Digital Marketing agencies or departments next year. So, if you have really just gone through the COMB SHAPED SKILLS mentioned above, I suggest reread them and make the most of your last year in college.

For those who need spoon feeding – COMBS SHAPED SKILLS are skills which have a Broad base with multiple Expertise areas which gives the shape of a comb.

We (I mean those in their mid 30s) did not get laptops as a part of our MBA ‘experience’; neither did our hostels have high speed wifi internet connections. We did not have Google and Wikipedia in our student days and we definitely did not have SMART phones. And we will remain on the receiving end of Digital Marketing for the rest of our lives while some of you (really a tiny but brilliant bunch of you) will dazzle us with your SUPER POWERS & PYROTECHNICS!

So use these tools for what they are meant for and BE SURE TO DABBLE IN EVERYTHING BUT DEFINITELY SPECIALISE IN SOMETHING.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.


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