Today, I have a great interview with Parneet Gosal for you! Parneet is a digital strategist and the founder of Seedwalker, LLC, a Digital Strategy Consulting Firm with offices in New York and San Francisco. She is a quintessential New Yorker and that rarest of marketers – a geekoid digital strategist with great passion for, and serious chops in e-commerce, online audience development, acquisition and loyalty strategies, and emerging technologies and trends.
After 13+ years of executing digital strategies at both start-ups and powerhouses like American Express, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and Saks Fifth Avenue, Parneet saw a lot of raw talent but noticed a dearth of marketers with a broad grasp of all the moving pieces that make up digital. This provided the impetus for launching Seedwalker.
Parneet’s voice is also behind her company blog at http://www.seedwalker.com/our-blog where you can read her hands-on perspective on emerging technologies and marketing strategies. You can sign up for her blog (http://www.seedwalker.com/our-blog) and also follow her on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/parneetg) and Quora (http://www.quora.com/Parneet-Gosal).
Parneet, how did you get into internet marketing?
I joined an online exchange startup during the dotcom boom more than a decade ago when online exchanges like eBay were a new phenomena. I went on to join American Express’s Online Marketing Group where I worked on some truly groundbreaking projects across the entire enterprise. Since then, I’ve lead digital marketing teams at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and Saks Fifth Avenue in the areas of Digital Brand Strategy, Audience Development and Analytics. I’ve been very fortunate in my career choice, the companies I’ve worked at and the people I’ve worked with and now look forward to helping my clients with their marketing challenges.
What are your most successful projects?
Most recently at Saks Fifth Avenue I launched a new community feature called Ratings & Reviews allowing Saks website visitors to submit reviews on products for the first time. This was a bid deal as reviews have the potential to increase conversions by 30% or more – and conversions (or online sales) are the bread and butter of any ecommerce site. I also spearheaded the international business from infancy to a major 2011 initiative within the company.
At Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia I managed a team with a very aggressive mandate that included social media, blog outreach, SEO, SEM, email, web analytics and sales forecasting. Since resources are always a challenge in any publishing environment, we successfully put in place turnkey solutions across all these areas.
At American Express, one of my favorite companies incidentally, I managed the digital channel for the company’s largest card portfolio called the Consumer Gold Card. I was fortunate to work with some very talented marketers and mentors who I remain friends with to this day.
What are the biggest challenges for your business over the next couple years?
Identifying the right balance between earned and paid media in terms of both $$ and employee resources.
Indentify ways to harness emerging technologies into profitable, paying channels that engage and retain customers. There is a lot of noise in the digital ecosystem with new technologies and this will only accelerate. It can be hard to balance the need to innovate through experimentation and risk-taking against the essential need to contribute to the bottom-line.
And where do you see the best opportunities?
Mobile and video are critical channels and have seen the most disruption of late. Cloud computing may be an unsexy topic for some marketers but it is BIG and beginning to be more ingrained in our lives than we realize. A colleague who is the CEO of an up and coming startup in Silicon Valley was telling me recently about how they had a break-in at the office but their most valuable asset – data – was safe thanks to the cloud. We are going to continue to see strong innovation in the cloud space and this will literally change our lives exponentially in the years to come.
Is there anything you would do differently?
My life has been a series of very fortuitous accidents and career choices, so no. I’m a small town girl who got to work in one of the most exciting areas (Digital Marketing), in one of the most exciting cities for my space (Silicon Alley in New York) so I’ve been very blessed.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Be audacious. Success is equal parts opportunity, application and audacity.
What are the most valuable hints you would give someone who is just starting out?
To marketing managers today, the best digital marketers apply a combination of structure and scrappiness. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Don’t be afraid of failure. Having started, move rapidly and make inroads fast. Nothing spells death for a new venture as much as early disappointment or apathy.
Any secrets hands-on information you can share with our readers (e.g. great website, book, training, source …)?
Yes, come visit my blog at www.seedwalker.com/our-blog. We often have guest writers on it (from the brilliant start-up scene here in New York) and some very interesting topics du jour.
What are your preferred information sources about the internet marketing world?
I use a Reader to scan about a 100 sites every morning with my morning cup of tea – everything from the regular news sources like NYTimes and WSJ to tech/innovation news on TED, ReadWriteWeb and Techcrunch to venture-related information on VentureBeat. It’s very efficient and by 7:45am I feel like I’ve had a productive morning already.
Parneet, thanks a lot for these insights!