19-year-old, Akash Malhotra (name changed), a Mumbai-based commerce student was curious to know how his Amazon searches appear as ads when he is on YouTube or while scrolling on Instagram. When he looked for it on Google, he discovered the word digital marketing. Soon Malhotra found himself watching hours of content on digital marketing.
Algorithms led him to Vivek Bindra’s introductory video on digital marketing. The Hindi tutorial topped Malhotra’s search for ‘how to learn digital marketing on YouTube’.Bindra is a leadership consultant, inspirational business coach, and CEO of homegrown edtech company Bada Business. He has over 18 million subscribers on his channel that targets small business owners. It claims to be the world’s topmost subscribed YouTube channel on entrepreneurship and leadership development.
Malhotra now spends about a couple of hours every day on YouTube, watching videos about digital marketing. His parents aren’t aware of his new pursuit and interest in the subject. They’d rather have him focus his attention on a formal chartered accountancy course that they paid for.
But it’s not just young students aspiring to be marketers or to get into adjacent fields who are increasingly turning to online channels to master marketing.
The rise of generalist-specialists
Ronnie Screwvala-led edtech company upGrad has seen a growth of 48% for their digital marketing courses in January, February, March (JFM) 2021 as compared to 2020. The growth remained on an upward trajectory and upGrad’s marketing programs had more women (54%) than men. In September, the company also released an ad with a woman protagonist who fast-forwarded her career through an online course.
Arjun Mohan, CEO – India, upGrad, tells Storyboard18 in today’s world it’s important to be a “generalist and specialist.” “Specialising in subjects gives learners ample opportunities to expand their thinking, thus enabling them to make their skills indispensable.” He explains, “You could be a data analyst but what would make you a high-grade employee is your unique ability to interpret the data differently and then apply it in a manner that increases the company’s efficiency and productivity.”
The pandemic has turned homes into classrooms, not only for young students but also for career professionals who want to learn new skills, hone existing ones and stay up-to-date.
Abhishek Gupta, chief marketing officer, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, sees this as a refreshing trend. “Compared to 10-15 years ago, there is much more formal education available now in marketing and advertising. It is also important to upskill to stay with the times,” he says. The company has also started recognising employees who participate in company-led training initiatives during the year.
Education and knowledge – not the same thing
A shifting view of online, formal and informal education is also changing the way some companies hire people, looking not just at degrees and colleges to make hiring decisions.
“This is not to say that educational qualifications don’t matter,” says Gupta, “But for us, business know-how also matters equally.” The company is attempting to set up a multi-functional panel of interviewers. “We believe this will help us evaluate a candidate more holistically and not only on the parameter of education or experience,” …….