Why code is vital for every digital marketer
By Stephen Hudson - Digital Marketing Consultant.
I'll be honest, when I started working for Orantec a little over two years ago now, I was a fresh-faced university graduate with just 6 months' SEO and digital marketing experience under my belt and only a basic knowledge of coding. I could float an image and I understood what <p></p> and <h1></h1> were but that was pretty much it. Any issues I had in my previous role were dealt with primarily by the development team!
Joining Orantec was a great leap to make because here it’s all hands on deck, working as a team, which meant that I had the tools and experience around me to help me sharpen my coding skills.
Why marketers should learn code
Do you ever find it frustrating having to ask a developer to make simple changes that you should really be able to do yourself in order to save a little time? By learning code, digital marketers gain a better understanding of a website and other digital marketing channels, which in turn gives them more freedom to shape a website’s digital presence.
Not forgetting that this also provides marketers with a clearer idea of project time frames and options. You may have a brilliant idea for a new website feature, but if it can’t be done in code, you’ll be wasting your time and a developer’s time trying to pursue it.
Treat content management systems with care
I think that it is fair to say, CMS are perfect tools for plugging gaps in digital marketers’ knowledge and knowhow and they are great for clients to manage their website on a daily basis. Most CMS, like our own WebCharge will allow you to float an image, add a link, add headers and so on but it’s still important to learn how to use code too. What happens if you're having to deal with a static HTML website or need to change something in the template? Can you create or modify a link without a CMS? Can you add an image or a table? Do you even know where to look in case of error? Yes, we can all call a developer to help, but it’s so much more satisfying to fix issues yourself (and much quicker if your developers are busy!).
Find the balance
Although it’s really handy for digital marketers to understand the basics of coding, it’s important to understand the true purpose of said job, which, from a digital marketing exec’s perspective, is to drive a client’s online presence through search engine optimisation, pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, email campaigns and more. So enjoy the learning curve, ask to get involved in as much as you can… your bosses will love that you’re taking initiative and you will get hands on experience from the experts! Just make sure you get your own work done before piling up the work experience – you don’t want other areas to slip!