Interview with Debajyoti Banerjee

Digital Marketing in 2020 & beyond, In Conversation with Debajyoti Banerjee, Founder & CEO of Seven Boats

Hi Everyone, Welcome to the Marketing Mavericks Interview Series EP06!

Today at this session our guest is Veteran Marketer, Entrepreneur & Educator Debajyoti Banerjee, Founder & CEO of Seven Boats Infosystems & Academy, India’s one of the leading names in Digital Marketing Education & Consulting.

Debajyoti started 7boats back in 2011 leaving his cushy corporate career with a very simple & clear objective in mind, To give back something to the community because he says,

I have always had a strong passion to give back something to the community to create value for people. So I strongly felt whatever I learned and experienced in my profession, I should share and implement those to create value for people for their benefits.

So, in this session, we are going to discuss some of the very interesting topics related to Entrepreneurship, Education & Career in Digital Marketing Sphere. Let’s begin,

Shuvashish: Hi Debajyoti, it’s a great pleasure to have you today at JobsFrontier. You are a quite well-known name in the Digital Marketing Circle of Kolkata & beyond, so how did this journey get actually started? Can you please share that story with our community?

Debajyoti: To begin with, let me thank JobsFrontier for inviting me to the “Marketing Mavericks Interview Series”. It’s my pleasure to be here to communicate with our community through your platform.

I started my career in New Delhi, later came back to Kolkata, and worked for a few companies for almost 6 years after completing my B.Tech & PGDM. During that phase from 2005 to 2011 and mostly in my stint with Nuberg Engineering, Alstom, Tisco, Compare Infobase (Maps of India), 123Greetings.com & FusionCharts as Revenue Engineer, I was handling Sales, Marketing & Revenue Strategies. During that phase, I saw and faced many problem areas of other businesses/ professionals and addressed the gaps directly.

Digital Marketing came to me quite naturally as a passion to revolve those problems.

Shuvashish: What inspired you to start 7boats? Because before starting your entrepreneurial journey you had worked with some reputed companies, so what intrigued you to start a venture into this field & that also specifically in Education?

Debajy0ti: Well :), I have always had a strong passion to give back something to the community to create value for people. So I strongly felt whatever I learned and experienced in my profession, I should share and implement those to create value for people for their benefits.

That actually inspired me to start my own venture in Digital Marketing Service & Education. When I started in 2011, these two areas were chaotic and people didn’t have much awareness about the wonders they can do with Digital Marketing.

There were only a few companies at that time actually to provide structured digital marketing solutions to other companies. On the other hand, the right specialized resources to do this kind of job were difficult to find.

I put my focus on the two verticals – Digital Marketing service to solve the marketing problems of other businesses and Digital Marketing training to create the right specialized workforce. So I started 7boats in 2011 for bridging these gaps to create some good values for the businesses & career aspirants.

I chose to take up the uncertain entrepreneurial route rather than doing easy jobs in some reputed companies. From the very beginning, my objective has been to create an ecosystem where businesses will recruit more skilled people and young professionals will learn a new skill and become more employable with the fastest-changing technological landscape. Also, entrepreneurship is more about “giving” than “taking” and there is always a blissful satisfaction and happiness attached to it while facing many odds. At the end of the day, happiness matters.

Money comes in second place here. I focused on the problem areas of other businesses and professionals and tried to solve their problems in a better way and still trying 🙂

Shuvashish: You are into Digital Marketing for nearly a decade since 2010, so in these years Digital Marketing Industry has transformed a lot. So, what significant differences you notice between that time & now in 2020?

Debajyoti: That’s correct! I’m into Digital Marketing for more than a decade now.

The passion grew inside me even before I formally started my entrepreneurial journey, to be precise from Aug 2011, and in this long journey, I saw a lot of ups & downs.

As I mentioned before, when I started there was much chaos & confusion regarding Digital Marketing and it was really challenging to get our first client. The same thing went with training also. But God’s grace, hard work & a little luck maybe helped me grow with my lean-sized but resilient and multitasking team.

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We have given Digital Marketing consultation to 500+ clients across the globe in 50+ industry verticals & trained 31000+ students till date. We received 25+ national awards including ABP news powered CMO Asia, PRCI Chanakya Award & felicitations from Top B Schools such as IIM, IIT, St Xavier’s, IIEST Shibpur etc. We got featured in premier national magazines & newspapers & got into educational partnerships with premium tools like RankWatch. We also got professionally associated with the Bengal Chamber of Commerce, CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) & more.

This industry is now growing rapidly. I can realize that from the growing competition to cater to the increasing needs. Awareness about Digital Marketing has increased manifolds as well as the competition. Now I see more and more businesses are confidently spending a good budget on it and the new generation startups are mostly taking digital marketing as their primary route for reaching out to their audience as this gives them the best & the most cost-effective results.

I foresee this will grow more in our country beyond 2020 as we have just seen a digital footprint of only a small portion of all businesses. In the next 15-20 years, this industry will attain maturity in India.

Shuvashish: There is a lot of hype related to Digital Marketing in the market. So, what are the things one should consider before jumping into this field? The hard truths!!!

Debajyoti: Hype will not be the right term to attach to Digital Marketing.

While choosing it as an alternative career option or deciding to promote any business with it one has to keep in mind some facts & statistics.

It is one of the top global career options as surveyed by LinkedIn. Globally more than 70% of companies are showing interest in hiring skilled Digital Marketing professionals. It is growing at rocket speed and every business needs professionals for their marketing campaigns. This increasing demand for skilled professionals opens the door for job seekers who want to enter in this evolving industry. It is part of marketing that a business can’t ignore to keep pace with evolving technology.

To get into this industry my suggestion will be to acquire skills from a reputed institute which has credibility & experience in the domain and most importantly the trainers whom you learn from must not be the fly by night types. Remember, at the end of the day you will be investing money to acquire skills. So you should not just bother about syllabus, top-notch infrastructure, or any other frills on offer to lure you away.

You will at least need to spend 3-6 months to cover a standard digital marketing syllabus from an institute that has a good reputation, excellent student track record & feedback, and of course experienced trainers. I’m happy to tell you that Seven Boats Academy scores very high on all these aspects.

Shuvashish: What are the top 5 qualities a person should have to become a successful Digital Marketer?

Debajyoti: Hmm 🙂 As such it will be difficult to tell the top 5 qualities to become a successful Digital Marketer.

My mantra is simple – Give back your learning & experience to society.

If you are a self-starter, love accepting challenges, can adapt to any situation, can be flexible, have the desire to grow other businesses, and possess decent communication skills then you are quite a good fit. But be simple, honest, transparent, keep mutual respect for others, carry humility, and be grateful to God for whatever you achieve in life in any context.

Shuvashish: Post COVID-19 how do you think the Digital Marketing Industry will be in terms of employment/ newer opportunities?

Debajyoti: This is a good question!

We all are literally grappling with the Coronavirus and no one knows up to what extent we’ll suffer the damages out of it’s spread. Like Tourism, Retail, Logistics, Entertainment, Hospitality, and other industries Digital Marketing Industry is also at the receiving end for this but I foresee this industry getting back on feet earlier than most others.

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For Digital Marketing in our country, we’ll have challenges to tackle like increasing productive consumption of digital media, giving more digital literacy, improving infrastructure for the digital economy, mitigating the logistics and structural challenges for eCommerce companies, addressing the changed consumer behavior and creating sustainable and alternative business strategies.

But these are the areas where we have been working all these years. Post Covid-19 the ecosystem itself will regenerate to adapt and survive within the environment. This will channelize more effort and energy to the system, demanding youthful resources to recover the lost miles for growing.

Shuvashish: Can you please share some real facts & figures, which will inspire more people to come into Digital Marketing?

Debajyoti: Oh sure! See, one can easily think of taking Digital Marketing as an alternative career option. If you compare Digital Marketing with other career opportunities I must say on average it gives you the most important first career break in less time than other conventional qualifications/skills. One doesn’t have to spend a huge lot of money on doing a Digital Marketing Course in comparison with other traditional courses.

For example, one will on average spend INR 25,000 – 1 Lac for a standard professional Digital Marketing course of 3-12 months and can start a career with an average pay package of INR 96,000 (at the lower end) to 2.40 Lacs per annum. Whereas, an Engineering or an MBA student from a non-premier institute on average spends 2-4 years in college & shells out no less than INR 4-6 lacs.

Comparatively, he takes more time to start working and the average starting salary package in his case ranges from INR 1.2 – 2.4 Lacs. Moreover, demand for Engineering and MBA candidates has almost reached saturation at this point. So while hiring these candidates, the companies look for the best and experienced resources. But this is not the case with Digital Marketing at the moment.

The Digital Marketing Industry has an almost 97% absorbance ratio in comparison with Engineering (20%) and MBA (33%). If one has the right qualification, skill, and attitude it’s very likely that he will get his first career break sooner than the other two compared. Still, it won’t be fair on my part to evaluate other skills by making a generalized statement.

I’m talking about seeing the current career trend but obviously, based on various other parameters and with higher professional qualifications one will do better in the long run. Another interesting fact is that a 10th or 12th standard student can also learn Digital Marketing and can make a career, which is not common with most other career courses.

This skill is purely performance-based applicable directly to industry solutions.

Shuvashish: What Digital Marketing Trends you are foreseeing in 2020 & how do you think this can reshape the future of Digital Marketing?

Debajyoti: Alright! Trends to watch out for in 2020 will be the use of more sophisticated Analytics tools other than Google Analytics to beat your competitors, Voice search, Chatbots, Marketing Automation, AI-based Personalized Marketing, Content Marketing, Virtual & Augmented Reality in Next-Gen SEO and Programmatic Marketing to name a few.

See, this is a dynamic industry and things change here very quickly. You’ll have to keep your eyes open, pick up new technologies for experimenting & put your hands into action. You will fail with few but will excel with others to grow. When you evolve & give back your learning to the community working in a collaborative way, the ecosystem also benefits.

So it is not only the trend that will reshape the future but the practitioners must also be cooperative & collaborative to take the benefits to the next level.

Shuvashish: What is your opinion about the Entry-level Salary in Digital Marketing? Seeing the recent stats, what do you think?

Debajyoti: Well, this is a tricky question, so better I will answer it this way. It depends on various factors from qualification, skill, background, academics, personality trait, the confidence of the candidate to requirement, circumstances & nature of the business who is hiring, and even a few unforeseen elements as well.

The average industry trend is INR 8,000 to 15,000 per month for basic entry-level Digital Marketer (in Kolkata).

Shuvashish: The State of Search in 2020!!! How do see virtual and augmented reality impacting SEO?

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Debajyoti: I’m really excited. I have mentioned this in your previous question.

For example, already you must have noticed a lot of changes happening in how you search. You can do a voice search and can point your mobile camera to scan a product’s details. Your mobile device is more like your buddy now and I can see Google as the frontrunner in giving you more personalized feel through their bundle of apps & browser enhancements.

All these are directed to give you more personalized cozy experience as a consumer and growing their community by referrals. At the end of the day, you’re married with Google or other such services & can’t leave them out of loyalty. You are just adding to their business revenue by allowing them to send more marketing materials and ads.

So, the more businesses use these technologies to give better customer experience the more they stand a chance of getting SEO benefits in other ways to help businesses like Google.

Shuvashish: Nowadays we often get flooded with content & advertisements. In such a situation, what is the right way to get the target audience’s eyeballs on content?

Debajyoti: See, this is very subjective. You can’t tell what will catch the audience’s attention & what will not. You’ll have to keep experimenting, constantly keeping an eye on industry trends & your competitors.

You can make content to be unique, out of the box, interesting, visually appealing, thought-provoking, storytelling, engaging, and brand recalling.

Shuvashish: Social Media marketing has created a lot of buzz among business communities in the past few years, how do you see it will shape up in the coming time?

Debajyoti: Yes truly! Social Media has gained popularity over the years & has become a must-go place for businesses for marketing.

The global average of a person spending time on social media networks is 2-4 hours every day across 2-3 platforms. Over 3.8 million people use social media globally & it’s growing. Can you imagine the total hours of attention people give here? That’s over 1.1 billion hours every day! It’s quite understandable why in the coming time more and more businesses will prepare their social media marketing campaigns to grab attention. The competition will also increase manifolds.

Shuvashish: Now an off the book question. What strategies you guys followed over the years to assure steady & sustainable growth of brand 7boats? Some Real Advice or I would say the tricks of the trade from Debajyoti Banerjee.

Debajyoti: Smile :)… You may take my philosophy as tricks of the trade. I could maintain a steady & sustainable growth of brand 7boats for years because of God’s grace and a strong belief of the following:

  • I listen first and then respond (do not react).
  • I do not run after a short term goal or quick money, go for a long term goal. Consistency is the key.
  • Fast action is better than perfection. 1 action is better than 1000 ideas.
  • If you want to go fast, you can go alone but if you want to go far, go together (team). The client is God but your team is family.

Shubashish: Now last but not the least, would you like to share a few words about the work we are doing at JobsFrontier?

Debajyoti: Oh sure 🙂

I really appreciate the way JobsFrontier is helping companies in hiring the best Digital Marketing resources. I’m sure your recruitment solution will achieve great success. I wish you & the entire team of JobsFrontier all the very best.

Keep up the good work to strengthen the industry and guide career aspirants to acquire the right digital marketing skills for better career opportunities.

Shuvashish: One of “Your Quote” to Inspire the Digital Marketing Community!!!

Debajyoti:

Learn, Burn & Earn – Learn like a child, Burn like a lamp to contribute to society and money will come after you 🙂

Shuvashish: Thanks Debajyoti for your time & sharing such wonderful insights with the JobsFrontier Community.

Conclusion

Dear Readers, I hope this interview will help you all to start your Career in Digital Marketing with more confidence & better understanding.

If you want to get in touch with Debajyoti, I would recommend you to go through his LinkedIn profile.

If this interview helped you please share it in your network.

Marketing Mavericks