New hybrid professions will be the future in marketing – Vladimir Ristevski

We are talking to Vladimir Ristevski, mentor of the most current Digital Marketing Academy in Skala, created in cooperation with Piksel. Read his thoughts on the future of marketing.

How does it feel to be part of a new story – the first Academy for Digital Marketing as a partnership project of the leading School of Design and Technology, Skala, and the leading company in the field of digital marketing in Macedonia, Piksel?

The feeling is excellent; it’s always exciting when starting something new. The fact that we have had such an idea for years and “it was sitting in our drawer” has additional value, and now we have the opportunity to realize it quickly and with quality with the phenomenal partners from Skala.

These are those moments when you find people with the same energy, mission, and vision who are on the same wavelength in the same unit of time, and you simply know that now and here, you will do something beautiful together.

There have been eleven years of Piksel’s existence and a huge array of challenges. From previous experience, which is more complex, working with clients and managing expectations or educating and managing internal teams?

Everything is complex and simple at the same time. Energy, knowledge, and abilities are one thing. To reach a certain point in a company’s growth and development, you need a completely different set of skills for working with clients and a third set of skills for educating and managing internal teams. Probably, the recipe for success is to work on all these skills in parallel at once.

The advantage of Piksel is that from the very beginning, we were multiple partners, and we could devote ourselves to multiple aspects in parallel without any part suffering. As we grew and developed, it was clear that we would have to build a professional organization and teams with managers and team leaders within the various sectors.

To make this happen, we knew that we needed to train the team leaders in client work and project management, but most of all, we needed to give them the confidence that they could solve problems in their own way, in line with the company’s culture and organizational values. And yes, education is perhaps the most important part of all of this.

What are the most current and highest-paying professions related to digital marketing, and what are the ones in high demand but least present in our market?

More and more new professions are emerging in the field of using artificial intelligence in digital marketing. I believe these new hybrid professions will be the future of marketing. We must understand that we must not allow ourselves to get into a comfort zone where we stop learning because that will be disastrous for us as marketers.

Regarding which professions are in demand and least present in our country, I would say “SEO Strategist” because Macedonia is a small market, and few people speak our language. There needs to be more room for someone to do SEO at that level.

In an ideal world, an SEO Strategist should take care of the overall technical functioning of a large website that sells services/products in collaboration with the development team, the user experience with the UI/UX designers, the way they should be incentivized for users to complete the order in coordination with the marketing and sales team, for the content of that website with copywriters, for creative ways to appear on digital channels in collaboration with advertising and social media managers and finally for the entire functioning of the eco the system of external channels that should bring traffic to that web page.

seo strategist future in marketing

Identify the four essential skills and qualities digital marketers need to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace and the future of marketing.

As the most important, I would single out the ability to adapt and learn. You have to learn new things; you have to be curious, don’t be afraid to experiment, learn from mistakes, learn from others, and listen to opinions from dissenters because your ideas are not the best ones all the time. 

Knowing how advertising platforms work is also very important so that you can learn how to create appropriate content. Strategic thinking is the last skill you will develop by building the entire brand narrative in a story that should “drive” for years and by regularly following analytics and drawing conclusions.

As experts in the field, is education on digital marketing supplemented with practical application crucial?

To become really good in any field, you have to know the theory and try to apply what you learn. If you learn theory but don’t have practice, you won’t know the challenges that marketers face every day, and over time, you’ll forget what you learned.

If you work practically and do not have a good understanding of theory, you will make mistakes in steps, the time you will need to complete a marketing activity will be doubled, and you will be ineffective.

Consequently, the educational process must combine a solid theoretical foundation with the practical application of real projects. This is actually the concept of Skala and Piksel Digital Marketing Academy, where students will take a comprehensive and holistic approach to specializing in digital marketing.

When does the academy start, and what are the career opportunities after completion?

The academy starts on May 13 and will offer a really extensive and quality program in digital marketing. This program, combined with practice, will train students to be ready for the challenges they will face in everyday work in the real world.

Of course, here comes the connection of the best candidates with potential employers from the industry looking for quality staff. Among them is Piksel, which very often gives young people opportunities to start their careers in our company and even to advance with full steam in high positions.

Finally, what three pieces of advice would you give to junior digital marketers just starting their digital journey?

Constantly follow trends, be bold and experiment, seek and accept feedback from friends, colleagues, associates, and industry experts, learn new tools, and refresh their knowledge at conferences, pieces of training, and festivals. They should not be burdened with expectations of quick success and should not be afraid to make mistakes because mistakes are the best and most effective way to learn, and then success will follow.

Enrollment for the new generation of Digital Marketing Academy students is underway! For more, see this link.

Interview for Skala Blog

Synergy is always greater than individualism

In our latest interview for the business magazine Kapital, we discussed how putting our synergy before individualism helped us as co-owners and partners of Piksel to build the company more than we imagined that we could.

From the early days of content creation and social media management to its current role as a comprehensive digital solutions company, Piksel brings an inspiring story about the power of adaptability, synergy, and teamwork. In an exclusive interview for Kapital, the three partners and owners of Piksel – Filip Ristevski, Dimitar Jovevski, and Vladimir Ristevski reveal to us the business dynamics that in the past ten years have positioned the company in the world of digital marketing at the local and regional level.

In 2023, you marked ten years of Piksel’s existence with rapid and significant growth in revenue, human capital, and the offering of services. From a current point of view, what business decisions, except putting individualism aside, do you think were the key to this progress?

Filip Ristevski: From a business point of view, I would put the decisions made as a result of our shared view first – that you need to invest in times of crisis. Dimitar, Vladimir, and I, although very different, share a mutual quality of proactivity, hence the courage to invest in the company in the face of global volatility that seems to have no end in sight.

It helped us not only to get through the hard days but also to make progress. The result so far has been a tripling of both the number of employees and revenues.

Another decision that has proven to be successful since the founding of Piksel is the commitment to providing solutions for the needs and demands of customers and adapting accordingly. Thanks to this attitude, something that started as an idea for the development of a digital product was transformed into an offer of digital services from the sphere of marketing, design, and development, so that today it has already grown into a different company on the Macedonian market, offering a portfolio of various digital and traditional services.

How much of your success would you attribute to leadership style and internal management decisions?

Vladimir Ristevski: I would attribute Piksel’s success primarily to our shared ambition for growth, development, and a proactive approach to change. Hunger for learning, strategic judgment in assessing what is temporary and what are permanent trends, as well as agility in adaptation were essential for us.

In our work, it’s crucial to believe in our ideas before we convey them to the clients. Therefore, our approach relies on creativity combined with data from previous experiences. We as leaders are constantly expanding our horizons for business and creative solutions through regular participation in events, study visits to successful companies abroad, and cooperation with consultants and experts in various fields.

In our leadership approach, we are committed to strengthening the team before making any changes, thus fostering a distinctive company culture that permeates our work with our clients and is visible in our communication to the public.

As a result, we have a solid, coherent team that helps us achieve long-term partnerships with our clients through the consultative approach, thus enabling support for their external positioning and internal improvement through digitization and automation of processes.

piksel interview - synergy is greater than individualism

What do you think are the most significant achievements in terms of business development in the past ten years? What were the challenges you faced?

Dimitar Jovevski: Significant achievements in the development of a business are often measured through revenue growth, market expansion, innovations in services, partnerships, etc. Over the years, we’ve had a little bit of all of the above.

In the last two years, we have seen an increase both in income and human capital. The innovation of services is something we are recognizable by in this market, where we have positioned ourselves with clear business units, that is, software development, design, and marketing (digital and traditional).

With our unique position in the market as a company, we were the first to change the model of working with customers in the marketing department and introduced the so-called agile way of working. Instead of working for monthly fixed sums, we offer our clients scalable teams of experts dedicated to their needs.

Expanding to new markets is an essential part of a company’s growth, so over time, we have ensured a presence in more than ten markets, building partnerships with many companies like ours because we know that synergy is always stronger than individualism.

When it comes to challenges, they are always there when you want to be different. The industry we work in is very dynamic and brings the challenge of keeping up with technological changes. Another constant challenge is dealing with competition through innovation, quality, and pricing strategy.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges we have faced, and I believe we will face in the future, is human capital, that is, the effective management of people and all the challenges that will arise from this complex process.

piksel interview - synergy is greater than individualism

Over the years, you have built a rich portfolio of local and regional clients from various industries. What is your comment on the market regarding the industry, customers, and awareness of digitization?

Filip Ristevski: After the pandemic, our market and companies realized the need to change internal processes in the name of greater productivity and optimization on the one hand but also in keeping up with the global market on the other hand.

As we as a company developed by following world trends, we tried to transfer it to our customers.

What we still try to show today is that companies should hand over their processes to professionals in that area who will create additional value for them while they focus on improving their products and services.

You define your company as a “partner in achieving digital maturity” – what does this mean to you?

Vladimir Ristevski: What is considered “digital transformation” in our country is only the active use of digital channels and is far from transformation. We still lag behind the regional and world markets in terms of innovation, digital maturity, and courage in communication on social networks but at least the awareness of the need is already high.

I think that level is enough for customers to understand that they still have a long way to go to reach a point where half of their activities will be digitized and automated, but also the data and conclusions from those processes will be easily understandable using of generative artificial intelligence which is on the rise right now.

The market is at an ideal initial stage for making changes that we as a company want to build on with innovative and creative digital solutions that will allow companies to mature in the way they grow and develop.

Where do you see Piksel in the next ten years? What are the company’s short and long-term goals in the digital marketing industry?

Dimitar Jovevski: In the coming years, the industry in which we work is expected to develop and adapt to the development of new technologies, and with that, we will also develop. What is sure, in the short term, we will continue to work on being recognized in the market for quality, commitment, and personal approach to customers.

We will continue to innovate and quickly adopt and use new technologies, above all artificial intelligence. On the other hand, in the slightly longer term, we expect to see Piksel as a regional and European partner of many companies in their journey towards digital development and transformation, and of course, towards reaching digital maturity.

piksel interview - synergy is greater than individualism

What does it mean to be a marketer in the age of AI?

Although it sounds like an existential question after the entire internet has been rocked by artificial intelligence’s ability to provide solutions at a glance, being a marketer these days is far from stressful and unpleasant.

On the contrary, we live in an exciting time where, as some people like to say, the fourth technological revolution is taking place.

Yes, artificial intelligence is gaining momentum. And yes, developing large language models (LLM) is faster than most of us expected. Certain things seem like they can be solved with two clicks, and consequently, what good are marketing companies when one ChatGPT “prompt” can get you an entire marketing strategy along with copywriting for every possible post?

The truth is in the middle.

On the one hand, we have the worried marketers who reckon half their jobs will disappear in a year or two. And they are not far from the truth. As modern applications that use artificial intelligence develop, so will the need for human labor.

If you’re ready, you can set up local GPTs and train them on documents you’ve been developing and preparing for years. Over time, with good training and learning, these “GPTs” can get smarter and wiser, eventually replicating your creative expression to the point where you don’t know the AI is writing for you.

On the other hand, if you, as a marketer, constantly learn new things, upgrade yourself with the skills you need through the prism of artificial intelligence, and have a strong knowledge of marketing theory (with a particular emphasis on digital marketing), as you can acquire at the Academy on Scala and Pixel, then, in the vernacular, “no winter” for you.

Those well-versed in knowledge have a fundamental understanding of what works and what doesn’t in the marketing world. They understand that the most crucial part of digital transformation is automating processes to free people to think strategically and creatively. These are the people that every company needs.

Hence, it is crucial to say that the future of modern marketers is to develop in the shape of the letter “T” – that is, to have a broad knowledge of the basics of digital marketing horizontally and to start specializing in specific skills that will give them vertical help achieve their marketing goals.

t-shaped marketer in time of AI

And where is AI in this whole story?

Artificial intelligence is a transformative force in digital marketing that enables marketers to work faster, smarter, and more accurately. Here are some concrete examples of how you can use AI tools to improve marketing strategies:

Copilot: As your virtual assistant, Copilot can generate code, write effective emails, and suggest website optimization strategies, all in seconds.

Dall E and Midjourney: If you want to create visual content based on textual descriptions, Dall E and Midjourney can help you create unique graphic materials for marketing campaigns without any design experience. Yes, these may not be final creatives, but at least you can give excellent directions to your fellow designers.

Gemini: Google’s powerful tool can analyze trends and user behavior, allowing marketers to make better predictions and adapt to market changes. This is crucial for any marketer.

Kapwing: Kapwing is a powerful video editing tool that uses artificial intelligence to optimize the process of creating and editing video content. With just a few clicks, you can extract a “madhouse” of clips for social media from a long video with ready-made subtitles.

Synthesia: This platform allows the creation of personalized videos with virtual characters that speak and behave like real people, which is ideal for digital advertisements and promotional videos.

Each AI tool offers different opportunities for marketers to improve their skills, be competitive in the market, and improve the results of their marketing activities. With proper understanding and application, AI can be a powerful ally in the world of digital marketing.

At Skala and Piksel’s most comprehensive digital marketing academy, among other things, you’ll learn how to use these tools to stay competitive and reach your marketing goals. Apply to the Digital Marketing Academy, take advantage of the early enrollment discount, and become part of the new generation of marketers.

See you at the lectures!

Enrollment for the new generation of Digital Marketing Academy students is underway! For more, see this link.

Written by Vladimir Ristevski for Skala Blog

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