FoM18: 5 things you need to know
The future of marketing (and PR, and advertising) is digital. Everything digital, from websites to apps to social media analytics reports, needs to be programmed, or coded, in one form or another.
A basic understanding of coding is useful when integrated communications is best practice. I’m not saying every marketer should double as a software developer, but there are reasons to take an interest.
Digital marketing campaigns work
Learning how to code means understanding that digital has limitations. There are things you can’t do (like Flash games in newsletters), and some you shouldn’t do (like Flash games in general).
A basic knowledge of even simple HTML or CSS will help you and your team appreciate what can and can’t be done. This can help you create better, more successful campaigns.
Talking to developers
It’s not rocket science: Learning to code helps you talk more easily and efficiently with people who do it for a living.
Lots of issues come from a creative team with a brilliant idea but no understanding of implementing it. Someone familiar with the lingo will be able to brief developers more easily and understand the issues that might appear.
Knowing a bit of coding also helps reveal anyone trying to sound clever by throwing jargon around. This can help avert potential crises before incompetence damages a great idea.
Talk to bosses
Not everyone shares our creative vision. For agency types, they’re clients. For in-house managers, it’s the C-suite.
When it comes to justifying your work, a bit of technical knowledge always helps. It’s easier to explain why a design will improve user experience (UX), or whether a website is properly optimised for search if you know what holds them together.
Don’t fear Excel
That might be an exaggeration, but you will look at problems from a new perspective after learning to code.
Instead of looking at a platform’s standard functionality, you might start exploring the possibilities of APIs or developer kits.
You might start tackling problems more methodically (the debugging and error-finding process will teach you that).
Ultimately, learning how to code will help you collaborate with partners and customers, identify otherwise-invisible creative opportunities, and engineer great campaigns.
It’s not hard — there are resources and courses aplenty online — and your work will benefit immediately.
“Why can’t I code?” is a question every marketer needs to answer right now, before a disastrous campaign or irate stakeholder forces them to.