Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Why can't Marketers Code?

If you think this is code - you need help!
As someone working in marketing, you've probably heard or at least some stage, said; 'I'm not actually technical, you'll have to speak to the techies'

In today's digital dawn of modern marketing, should we still be thinking like this?

Unless you've been hiding under a rock (which is not wifi-enabled, I might add) for the last decade, you might not have noticed that techies can now talk and do most other normal social and business functions too - so it begs the question - why can't marketers code?

While self-confessed geeks such as Zucker, Gates, Page & Brin are busy running the internet for us, is it that unreasonable to expect digital marketers to be equipped with HTML or Java programming knowledge? Or if an academic programming background is too much to expect, should marketers take the initiative and learn to code themselves using online free tutorials such as Code Academy - You gotta start somewhere!

Okay, so we may be a few years away from Marketing Directors expecting marketeers to have coding skills. However, without these, digital marketing managers today are increasingly frustrated on having to depend upon IT or tech departments to action marketing objectives.

So the next time, a simple marketing task is held up by the need to use a techie to add some code which entails facing an IT ticket queue of mammoth proportions, ask yourself, 'If I could code a little, wouldn't my life be much easier?'

Having asked myself that question about 18 months ago, I personally found using...:

  • A slice of Code Academy
  • Time with techies to find out how it all knits together
  • View source option on internet browsers to examine website code
  • Notepad to check and change email creative html 
  • Reading up with the help of an old html book
  • Google to plug any annoying gaps in my wafer thin coding knowledge

... has worked wonders to speed up my marketing effectiveness. Whilst I'll never be a No.1 coder, I can solve many simple bugs and make changes to code without the need to submit myself to ticket request IT hell.

And.... guess what... my life is now much easier! I don't sweat the small stuff and leave the big stuff to the coding experts.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting Blog!

I think it raises valid points and as a marketer, I for one am not as savvy on code as I should be.

However, in my organisation, the programmers would get very irritated if I started doing minor programming myself. After all, I would get irritated if they started doing the finer points of brand or product management just because they view themselves as a customer.

Is coding actually viewed as a strategic initiative in organisations or is it a delivery function? Which then begs the question;

Should we also expect marketers to have similar levels of skills in SQL, photoshop, advanced statistical quantitative research, printing, logistics etc?

Either way, a healthy understanding of html will never be a bad thing in my eyes!

Peter Trinder said...

In answer to this post and the comment above, I believe that when you work in smaller companies you sometimes get exposed to a lot more activities on a smaller budget. What this means is that you sometimes have to learn to do things yourself.

In my career I have picked up a good basis of HTML code, SQL, and Visual Basic. This is because I have had no choice but to know this as the role of database and website manager fell on my shoulders. In today's world however we have started to segment out marketing into various segments. Whilst this has its good points the result (in my opinion) is that marketers don't have the depth of knowledge that they used to.