This medium is for the doers and not salivators.
How often have you interacted with professionals on LinkedIn or in person, who call themselve digital media growth hackers, digital mavens, xyz certified professionals, etc, only to realise that the basics of digital media is way above their grasp? Hand on my heart, I have interacted with lot of them, who is interested is having orgasmic conversation about the impact of Artificial Intelligence on advertising, Digital Transformation of business, Reaching the Millennials in the age of digital economy or Innovating to stay relevant, but lack the common sense to know what is going right & what is going wrong at the time of execution.
Let us face it, we have a serious dearth of talent in the digital space. The challenge that the industry is facing two fold.
- The business leaders are’nt sure what digital means. Depending on the conversations, it changes between advertising medium, sale medium, technology, CRM, etc. If the trust in the potential of digital is true, it wouldn’t be the first investment to be cut during the time of crisis. Digital advertising wouldn’t get a meagre 10% of the marketing expense. I have been at the wrong end of the barrel far too many times, wherein the money from digital has been moved to offline.
- When the business leaders don’t understand the nitty gritties of digital and direct the juniors, the young talent, yes the digital natives, work from KRA to KRA, without understanding the basics of how digital works. They do not ask the WHY NOTs, which is the most important question in digital today. The digital natives, majority at least, consider digital as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and the likes. They are in the realm of social media, whereas digital needs to be the enabler for consumers as well as businesses.
The only way we can make improvement is by getting the hands dirty. The concepts & classrooms training are good as long as the theories have’nt changes over decades. This holds good for traditional mediums, but not digital. Digital is evolving every day. Concepts are changing, new technologies are emerging, new platforms are being created and there are no precedence to create the theories. Today’s right is irrelevant tomorrow.
If we look around at the new breed of start ups or small companies, who are doing great on digital platforms, it is because they are willing to experiment, learn new things and are also super agile. The moment these companies grow, are infused with capital and create hierarchies, the appetite for experimentation goes away, and the money is moved to traditional platforms. Is it because suddenly digital does’nt work, or the appetite has died?
People who are trying to get into digital should understand that certifications does’nt really help in understanding & exploring digital. Create a blog, promote your blog, create a facebook community and promote and it learn what happens with your efforts, set up a search account, create a website and explore. All the answers are there on Google & the only thing you need is the tenacity to learn. These experiments will help you in understanding the platforms as well as understand the actual effort which goes into all this. You just need to learn the basic of marketing & media from a good college.
It calls for a collective call from multiple stakeholders, business, institutes, agency partners, HR team in the following manner
- HR : Please understand what is actually needed as the skill set for your company before putting up captions like “certified professional”, “growth hacker”, etc.
- Agency partners : We need to nurture the talent, give them the correct skill sets, train them & encourage them to make mistakes
- Business: Start having corporate training programs across the board and create a program that will help everyone in getting their hands dirty
- Institutes : Get the curriculum made by people who have actually gotten their hands dirty, and create programs that has more live projects than theory.
The author of this article is Rahul Vengalil – Founder & CEO at What clicks, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org