Q&A with GADM's Damian Ryan

We sat down with The Global Academy of Digital Marketing (GADM)'s Damian Ryan to talk about GADM's inception and insights from his prolific career in digital marketing.

The Global Academy of Digital Marketing (GADM)'s story all started with the book 'Understanding Digital Marketing'. As your books evolve into a movement, what was the inspiration to create a digital marketing knowledge network? The first rule of digital marketing is to know where your audience lives. The books have been mildly successful, but we've only touched 100,000 readers with them. There's another two million digital marketers out there, and the idea was to to reach them with GADM. We want to foster an ongoing dialogue where we can help digital marketers on their continuous journey of gathering knowledge.

Seeing that GADM is also running some incredible knowledge sessions, we wanted to ask what you think is the key to creating a great thought-leadership session. The key is to understand your audience, and believe anything is possible.

Damian, you're a big believer in collaborative learning, taking marketing out of the classroom and using a more practical approach. Can you tell us a bit more about how GADM will go about achieving this? Simply, two million heads are better than one. Digital moves so fast that the concept of a single point of reference, lets say a textbook, or a lecture, can apply. If marketers can tap into the combined knowledge of lots of experts from a single network then surely that has more weight than the traditional approach. 

Collaboration has always been the key to growth in industries, from medicine to agriculture. I feel marketing has been somewhat precious until now.

What do you feel is the one key thing marketing teams should be focusing their time (and budget) on in 2016? Education, education, education. 

In your experience, what is the key thing brands usually get wrong in how they approach their social media strategy? Assuming their audience cares. On a more serious note, many test their social media strategy in isolation rather than integrate this into their other channels.

Business Insider once wrote "messaging apps are now bigger than social networks." How will marketers deal with 'dark social' when it's inherently impossible to track and quantify? Maybe it's just one of those places where marketing isn't relevant - if the postman brought us a pile of Christmas Cards with ads all over the envelope we'd probably bin them!

Going back to GADM, it's looking like it's going to be a huge year for the company. What can we expect from you guys in 2016? The next edition of the book is a massive undertaking and the development of our learning management system - all of that and loads of events too.

and finally some fun questions:
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far? Far too many to mention here but seeing the first membership payment coming through on the GADM site was pretty special. But that's always been the way with me. It's extremely satisfying, seeing proof of concept. No matter how small. 

Favourite app? Why? Touchnote, because it crosses digital and traditional media quite brilliantly.

Something few people know about you? I've always wanted to play live at The Roundhouse, so speaking on the main stage is quite a thrill! Though do you reckon I could sneak in a guitar?

I'm sure we can arrange something. Speaking of the event, what are you most looking forward to at YMS? Making some new friends and finding some material for this damn book.

GADM is a media partner for Voxburner's latest event, Youth Marketing Strategy London 2016.

To find out more about GADM, head over to the GADM website.

Haven't gotten your tickets for YMS LDN 2016 yet? Head on over to our event page for more information on the biggest youth marketing conference in Europe.

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