Should Digital Marketers Learn How to Code to Be Successful?
by Gio Ortiz
Marketing has evolved a lot over the past years. My mind immediately goes back to the “Norman Rockwell-esque” ad style of the 60’s and then jumps forward to the present where your cell phone and pocket goes nuts every couple of minutes at the latest interactive e-blast or ad that comes through.
The difference? Technology.
With a designated set of characters and brackets (code), we can now figure out whether you really read that email or just how long you stayed on a webpage before bouncing. As if that isn’t enough, we know that you most likely live 1,172 miles away in Quebec, you speak French, and that you took that iPhone or Samsung out of your Levi’s® 721 High-Rise Skinny Jeans because you’re a girl.
There’s definitely money in the details but it’s worth asking “how do we know so much?”
Simple answer: someone who had a background in marketing learned how to code and understood the potential behind it all.
Should digital marketers learn how to code? Absolutely.
When you understand the structure of how apps, websites, and programs function, you can accurately gauge what’s possible to achieve in terms of understanding your audience and reaching your marketing goals.
You may surprise yourself at how effective and quick you can be by learning simple lines of code. Code helps you link items to relevant pieces of information, create and embed forms to capture data, and even quickly re-direct pages in order to learn buyer demographics and habits.
All of this is possible with very minimal coding and if you don’t believe me, ask your SEO specialist how long a Google analytics tag actually is or your web developer how much code is involved in making sure that page opens in a new window. These simple tasks aren’t rocket science.
What does this mean for digital marketers?
From an internal marketing standpoint, your employer will love and appreciate you for learning about coding because you’re saving them lots-o-money. If you can do the simple coding tasks that would normally be handed off to a specialist, you’ll be decreasing the amount of work outsourced and the resulting costs. You’ll also be able to move forward with campaigns more quickly without having to rely so heavily on developers and your IT department.
Does this mean that you now need to become the web developer for your company?
That would be a giant no.
Leave the specialized coding tasks to those who’ve studied years to do it right. Web developers have different strengths and you should definitely work together on larger and more intricate projects.
But as a digital marketer, be sure to keep your eyes on the metrics that result from the code that affects you most like Google analytics tags. If you have a better understanding of how coding works, you’ll be able to better track your campaigns down to the most granular of levels, explain why the results of your campaigns look the way they do, and even troubleshoot when the metrics don’t look the way they should.
The main point here is that digital marketers should have a fundamental understanding of code.
In an era where nearly all advertising is tied to code, it’s of utmost importance to grasp how you can leverage that code to fortify your craft and refine your marketing strategies. In the near future, your daily tasks, employers, and even clients will inevitably require that you understand code as a digital marketer.
If you’re looking to learn more about coding as a means of making your marketing campaigns run more efficiently, I suggest the following resources:
Thanks for reading! Looking for ways to keep up with the ever changing landscape of digital marketing? Schedule a strategy session with us!