afaqs!

How Digital Marketing became just another profession

By Anshuman Gandhi, afaqs!, | March 26, 2014
Anshuman Gandhi

There are stereotypes and prejudices by people, for people across industries for different industries. Mouthful that is, isn't it?

There is a prevalent thought and some still believe it to be true that Sales, Marketing and Business Development is the same thing. And the problem is that in most Micro, Small and Medium scale business, it is completely correct. And for idealists like me, the sad truth is, this stereotype might not be just a perception issue in the top corporations either.

Lack of skills is a problem being faced across industry verticals. The catch in this story is, it does not affect industry performance. You know how to present yourself, hide your ignorance and run your mouth at the opportune time, challenges are left gaping at your confidence.

However there were still a few professions on the commerce side of the world, where hard skills were essential. Finance being the most important of them. The dynamic environment of our economy keeps the most proficient on their toes. Things have slowly and steadily changed, though. The current Finance Minister is a shining example of how smart people under you can make you look like an expert on the most complicated of issues. How mistakes of incredible stature can be termed as tiny oversights.

Another industry close to my heart, Digital Marketing started out as a purely skill based endeavor. Here was required a combination of knowledge, skills, experience and foresight. Certifications was a way of judging a professional and a simple update could leave an industry veteran out of touch, outdated and sometimes, even out of the organization structure. The point here is that, just like every new industry, it was led and developed by idealists. People studied hard, worked hard and learned to move ahead and build careers through a gradual process.

Moving to the present time, there are individuals skilled in making Presentations and complicated macros on Excel files, leading skill sensitive marketing efforts. Individuals with no prior experience, knowledge or skills are now sitting at spots where decisions made on whims and fancies do not fly but are made to. Experience might prove to be even more important of a friend as you might have thought than knowledge or hard work.

In such scenarios efficiency takes a beating, effectiveness can be covered with smooth talk and money is burned faster then you can say ROI.

Digital Marketing is a constant battle of wits and skills in a highly competitive and dynamic environment fraught with minefields with names like copyrights and bot farms. It is about who learned first, understood the scenario and made a move before things changed again with timeframes as short as 5 minutes. It is not always about being clever but smart. Not about being right, but being accurate but unfortunately, there are individuals who are out their, proving these statements wrong, turning opportunities into losses and pushing the smartest out and replacing them with the glib everyday.