And just like that, at some point of your life, you decided you want to be a marketer. The excitement, the big markets, VW beetle ads, countless hours of brainstorming in smoky offices, it all seemed too good to be true. Well, it seemed good, and then you learned that it’s not as easy as it seemed. You did everything right, you kept your feet on the table, wore nice suits and always drank fine scotch while brainstorming, but the brilliant idea never came. That’s when you really realized that you are not in the 20th century anymore.
And so, somewhere along the road you heard about the social media, how they are future of marketing, changing the communication landscape. Everybody is using them and it makes your company look cool. You open up a Facebook account, take a couple of selfies, read about inbound marketing, follow all the relevant Twitter personas. You did everything right, but the brilliant idea never came. That’s when you realized that you are in the 21st century.
Remember the pimply kid you used to give wedgies to in elementary school? Yes, that one, the one who played Dungeons & Dragons, wore big glasses and Hackers movie shirt. The one who quit school and you never saw him again? Well, he’s been living in Singapore for couple of years, running one of the Asia’s biggest marketing agencies. Wife, three kids, travelled across the globe. And as you ponder over the meaning of life, saying “Oh, how the mighty have fallen”, you suddenly realize it’s 2017.
That’s when you realize you need to start coding
You quickly browse around the web and study your options. Some of them you already heard about, but, ultimately, you decide to stay away from C++ because those pluses look ominous. Some of them are completely new to you. A tsunami of questions soon overwhelms you:
– Wait, you mean to tell me there are two Java’s?
– HTML and https:// are the same, right?
– Back-end? Yeah, I like tennis.
After couple of hours of research you settle for front-end development, it says it has something to do with webpages. You love webpages. Anonymous people of Internet told you to focus on HTML and you listen to their advice as you always do. It’ll help you with your websites, they told you.
Suddenly, you find yourself alone in this vast, cold world without a clue what to do next. It’s strange, it’s new, completely chaotic, yet, somehow, so systematic and senseful. Like a nomad, you wander around this world, meticulously absorbing huge, huge, huge, huge amounts of information. It’ll rip you apart if you don’t. This world doesn’t forget nor forgive.
You find shelter really quick. It’s nothing special, but it’s warm and there’s an abundance of food nearby. That will be your home from now on. Overwhelmed with happiness, you start shouting “HELLO WORLD!!!”. You don’t know why you did it, but that seems like the most natural thing to do. Like something everybody does.
You stop and you go, you succeed and you fail, but, after months and months of hard work, you start to see major improvements in your business, you are ready to reap the fruits of your labor.
You noticed your relationship with developers improved significantly. By understanding the code and the structures and other tools, you find it easier to communicate your ideas to the programmers now that you know that when they talk about class, they are not talking about high school. They even invited you for a beer once.
Furthermore, developers took a liking to you now that you don’t interrupt their coding spree, since you can do the minor quick fixes by yourself. Also, your marketing suggestions are not so cryptic anymore now that you can communicate your ideas more clearly to the developers, thus improving team synergy. You understand that a lot of developers fail to understand marketing concepts, just like a lot of marketers fail to understand developer concepts, but now that you do, we don’t have that problem anymore, do we?
You quickly notice that your understanding of SEO improved immensely now that you got a grasp of coding. First, it helps you to analyze your opponent’s SEO, which, in turn, helps you develop quality SEO, both for your company and your clients. In order for SEO to be great, you need to analyze the tiny bits and pieces of your pages in HTML. Luckily for you, after hours and hours of coding, you transformed in a giant, half man – half scanner SEO monster.
We live in the digital age, but you already knew that. After all, you are an experienced digital marketer. Why, for the love of god, do you still use those horrendous flash banners that look like they were made on a calculator? Now that you learned a lot about HTML and CSS, your colleagues will not turn their heads in shame when you mention web page design, and the information architecture looks like something that came out of Le Corbusier’s dreams.
As the world around you slowly dissolves in a wall of zeros and ones, you suddenly regret those wedgies. You made a mistake. We all do sometimes. Some of us thought JNCO jeans were cool, you thought that Internet and computers would forever be reserved for skinny guys wearing their grandma’s glasses.
See, the point I am making here is that we live in a digital world. You know that, I know you do, but too often do you forget that the digital world is not an abstract, Middle-earth-ish construct but a full-fledged world, an living organism of sorts. And it’s only going to get realer, that’s a fact. Just like scientists study our genes or scan our brains to learn about our nature, you have to start studying bits and pieces of cyberspace in order to understand how we operate in this relatively new environment. If you truly want your online presence and your websites not to look like your daughter’s kindergarten drawings, you should pursue open and informed communication with the developers, and to do that, you have to learn their language.
I’m not saying that you should become a full-time developer, it’s probably too late for that and you chose the marketing career for a reason, but what I’m trying to say is that you should try to learn as much as possible about this new world surrounding your clients and target audience, even if that world is made out of zeros and ones and consists mostly of cute kittens videos.
Congrats, you made it, you decided to learn how to code. Here, scotch is on the house, welcome to the new age, champ.