Category: Work

On Remote Working

woman sitting on sofa while looking at phone with laptop on lap
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

While I have mostly worked with digital native organisations, it is interesting, looking back, that remote working was not really a big thing in most of these organisations. Sure, you could work remotely if required, but very few people actually took it up, preferring to work from the office most of the time.

My first real exposure to formal remote working policies was, interestingly enough, when I started working for a very ‘traditional’ business. They had quite progressive rules for employees who, for whatever reason, had to work from home.

I have been ‘remotely working’, in a fashion, over the the past 18 months or so since I decided to embark on my independent gig. I have learnt a few things along the way:

I find it very challenging to work from home full time. I am just not able to shake off the fact that I am actually sitting at home, and hence get easily and regularly distracted. Not to mention that, in India, there’s a steady stream of people ringing your doorbell through the day, which can be a nuisance when you are in the midst of some work that requires concentration.

I like the discipline of having a routine of ‘going to work’. Related to the previous point, I realise that I prefer to have some sort of demarcation between ‘work space’ and ‘relaxation space’. Which is why I decided to invest in a desk at a co-working space.

I like to be surrounded by other ‘workers’. It gives me the sense of belonging to a community, After all, we are social animals.

The reason for this post is a State of Remote Work 2020 report that I came across recently. It contains some interesting insights into remote work. I personally found it surprising that only 7% of the remote workers surveyed (3,500) are working out of a co-working space. It was also disappointing to read that 80% of the organisations that the respondents work for don’t pay for monthly expenses associated with remote work.

As the ‘gig economy‘ continues to grow, organisations will have to increasingly design frameworks that balance the desire for some employees to work remotely with other considerations that might necessitate employees to work out of common offices. Clearly, the technologies of today are much better at enabling connectivity between employees who are spatially distributed. But I also believe that there are issues with team and culture building, informal networks, etc that still need to be debated and resolved.

What are your views on remote working? Please let me know by commenting on this article.


Some recent SEO Developments

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

I have written a few times previously on the importance of SEO in your Digital Marketing Strategy. Here are a few recent developments in the field of Search Engine Optimisation that I wanted to highlight:

Technical SEO and Page Speed – Google continues to put more emphasis on how quickly your page loads, especially on mobile. They have recently introduced a Speed Report within Google Search Console that shows how fast your pages perform in real world usage. Two key metrics in this report are First Contentful Paint (FCP) and First Input Delay (FID). 

First Contentful Paint (FCP) is the time from when the user requests the URL until the browser renders the first visible element in the URL.

First Input Delay (FID) is the time from when a user first interacts with your page (when they clicked a link, tapped on a button, and so on) to the time when the browser responds to that interaction.

This article has more details on these two terms.

Why Schema Markup is a Pivotal SEO Strategy For 2020 – Schema Markups have been around for a while, but it just does not seem to have gained the attention that other elements of SEO have. I believe, though, that this will change. The rise of Voice Search and other Machine Learning / AI led developments will lead to structured content will become increasingly important. This podcast does a great job of talking about these Scheme Markup topics. Interesting insight for me was that one can use Structured Data within Google Analytics .

What is SEO Content? How to Write Content that Ranks – Ok, there is nothing new here. But I like the comprehensiveness of this article that can be your single reference source when you are figuring out your next piece of content.

E-commerce category pages outperform product detail pages in SERPs – If you are an e-commerce merchant, chances are that you do not spend too much time worrying about SEO for category pages, choosing to focus on product pages instead. Recent research seems to indicate that you might want to relook at this and that category page optimization could be a valuable area to prioritize to boost your organic search rankings and traffic.

Changes in ‘nofollow’ links – This has been a topic of discussion in the SEO world ever since Google announced, back in September 2019, that it was making some changes to the way it treats ‘nofollow’ links. This detailed article will help you understand everything about what’s changing. And in case you are looking for a primer on ‘nofollow’ links, you can refer to one of my earlier posts on SEO and ‘nofollow’ links.





Key Digital Marketing Trends for 2020 (and beyond)

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Photo by Skitterphoto on

Yes, I know I am late to the party. We are well into 2020. But, as the saying goes, Better Late Than Never!

Here are my views on what key Digital Marketing trends for 2020 (and beyond) might be and the key questions you need to be asking:

  • Rise of Voice Search – The stats for Voice based Search are quite staggering. How are you going to stay relevant when most searches are going to be voice-based?
  • Content is King – A very old statement, I know. But this is going to be increasingly important as brands strive to differentiate themselves and stay relevant in this day and age. How are you thinking about your content strategy as a key strategic element of your marketing and brand strategy?
  • SEO is not going anywhere – It is surprising how many brands directly jump into social amd other media strategies before evaluating and optimising good old Organic or Natural Search. It seems like almost every year fresh obituaries are written for one of the oldest Digital Marketing tactic. To adapt the famous quote (or possibly misquote) from Mark Twain – “Reports of SEO’s death are grossly exaggerated”. Do you have a robust SEO strategy in place, that incorporates the changing nature of Search?
  • The pendulum will keep swinging between Data-Driven and ‘Creative’ Marketing – There will continue to exist two camps in the (Digital) Marketing field. One that believes that data-driven and performance marketing will rule and the other that bemoans the loss of creativity and asserts that marketers will have to stay creative to build and differentiate their brand. A few years ago, I felt that the pendulum had shifted significantly to the data camp. I believe we are now seeing a shift towards the creative side. How will you balance the requirement for creativity with holding your marketing accountable to specific ROI metrics?
  • Process-oriented marketing will be key – AI is helping automate many marketing activities. And we will see more applications of AI when it comes to marketing, especially marketing automation. I have written previously about the importance of process when it comes to Digital Marketing. Do you have a robust processes in place to drive your marketing?

What are your views? What else do you think will be important in Digital Marketing in the near term?





Micro-credentials: The Future of Learning?

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We have all heard the saying that Learning has to be a continuous process. And the digitisation of learning has meant that it’s become easier than ever for people to learn a new skill, at whatever stage in their lives they might be.

I am a Visiting Faculty of Digital Marketing at a few institutes and teach both MBA students as well as Working Professionals. I like teaching, and so I occasionally wonder what the future of education and learning might look like. These are some of the trends that I believe will become increasingly important:

  1. Bite-sized learning – The desire to only invest time and money for learning some specific subjects or skills
  2. Anytime, anyplace learning – the ability to learn at one’s own convenience
  3. Application Oriented learning – learners are keen on pedagogies that prepare them better on how to apply their learnings in their immediate careers

Enter micro-credentials. These have become very popular very quickly to address the opportunities being created by these above trends. While they are not yet a substitute for formal, university oriented education, I have no doubt that these can, and will, play an increasingly important role going forward.

Does that mean that universities and established higher education institutes have reasons to worry?

I do not believe there is undue cause for concern, at least in the near term. There will continue to be the need for centres of academic excellence that provides an environment for people to go deep into a subject and do research. At the same time, there will continue to exist, for the near term, the need for ‘signalling’ – a way for society, especially employers, to be able to filter people by their ability to conform to the set of rules that define success in a typical academic set-up.

I would like this, to be different, though, such that people who might not have the ability, of the willingness, to conform to these set rules can still signal their capabilities and interests to the broader world. I believe micro-credentials can be a means to achieve this end. We are not there yet – the lack of a uniform set of standards to evaluate the various different ways to earn micro-credentials is a major issue that needs to be resolved before this can happen.


This post was inspired by the following article published on – Could micro-credentials compete with traditional degrees?


The Role of Process in Digital Marketing

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One of the benefits of working as a Digital Marketing consultant is the opportunity it provides of meeting a variety of interesting businesses, people and getting a chance to understand and help solve different problems. Over the past 18 months, I have been fortunate to have got the opportunity to analyse varied businesses and help them with their Digital Marketing and Growth Strategies. It’s been a great learning experience for me as well, trying to understand what could be some of the common reasons and opportunities for all these varied businesses.

There are a few reasons when businesses feel the need for an external consultant when it comes to Digital Marketing:

  • They have an idea and realise they need some expertise in developing an overall digital presence.
  • They have been in business for some time, have some degree of Product Market fit and now realise they need Digital Marketing to grow their business and take it to the next level.
  • They have been doing Digital Marketing for some time and would like an external pair of eyes to help them understand the true performance of their Digital Marketing and drive further efficiencies

One of the key learnings for me so far, having engaged with businesses in all of the above stages, is that, in most cases, the solution lies in the process.

Digital Marketing is a continuously evolving field. Channels come and go, as do tactics. What works well for one business in a particular context might not work for another. But one aspect that has really not changed is that it is a very data-driven field. And that, by necessity, requires businesses to have a strong process orientation to be successful.

What does this mean in practice?

Barriers to entry in Digital Marketing are low and keep dropping all the time, so almost anyone these days can start a Digital Marketing campaign from their computer in about 24 hours (or even less). This makes it very tempting to jump into a specific tactic headlong. However, just because execution is relatively simple and easy does not mean that one should not take the time to think through how one is going to evaluate the performance of their Digital Marketing. And this requires a Digital Marketing framework that includes the objectives, strategy, execution and measurement plan. And the first step in developing this framework is an in-depth understanding of the customer.

Once a business has some strong customer insights is when they can start developing their Digital Marketing strategy – what are the channels to leverage, how does one target the relevant audience, what is the content strategy and, most importantly, what are the measures of success?

The reason I emphasise the process aspect is because, very often, businesses might not have all the insights, or it might be very expensive and time-consuming exercise to get very accurate insights. What I recommend businesses is that it’s fine to not have all the insights, as long as one has put in place a process to gather insights quickly, translate these into hypotheses, create a plan to test these hypotheses, gather and analyse the data as close to real-time as possible and then make changes to their tactics and strategy based on these insights.

The point I want to emphasise is that there is no ‘magic bullet’ solution when it comes to Digital Marketing. Every business is unique. Customers might be common across multiple businesses, but the mindset they are in when it comes to interacting with brands might be very different across different brands. And, therefore, assuming that what works for someone else should work for you can be a dangerous assumption. It is always best to start from first principles, iterate, learn, tweak, learn some more and so on. And one requires a robust process mechanism to ensure that this happens as a matter of principle.

So do you have a process to do the above?

If you would like some help with setting one up, please do get in touch with me. I will be happy to help!