Why It Pays to Understand Coding in Digital Marketing

Written By Steven Novak

It is becoming ever more common for jobs to be posted looking for a hybrid of skills, and in the field of digital marketing, that includes candidates who have a knowledge of coding.

Indeed, in small companies it wouldn’t be strange to see staff wearing multiple hats, but even in bigger companies, coding abilities are seen as an important interdisciplinary skill. Here’s how coding can be a useful attribute in digital marketing.

It Will Help You Understand What’s Involved

Let’s start from a really basic level here. If you are a digital marketer and you have absolutely no knowledge of code, then you have no idea what you are asking your technical guys to do—or, in turn, how long the task will take. But knowing more about coding means your projects will go smoother because you know what’s possible and what needs to be done, and this helps you plan your projects better.

Having some knowledge of code could also allow you to perform a number of simple functions yourself, making you more independent in your role.

“Some digital marketers may look at coding as being ‘not part of my role,’ which is fair enough, but it forms the basis of many of the activities that you do. And in this day and age, the defined roles between team members are blurred anyway,” admits Jean Latravers, a project manager at Writinity and Lastminutewriting.

It Leads to Better Teams

What about those all-important relationships that you have with developers and product teams? Those relationships will be fortified by respect and appreciation of each other’s abilities.

We are not suggesting you do their job for them, but having even a basic understanding of coding will win the respect of those who you are ever so reliant upon, and can lead to better communication with your team.

You Are More Useful to Your Clients

Another benefit of having a modicum of coding knowledge is that you will be able to solve problems for your clients that were previously out of your comfort zone or area of expertise. After all, coding is all about problem-solving.

If a problem arises with a client’s project, you need to break that problem down to get to the core of what is causing it. Breaking it down like this will certainly impress upon clients your invaluable attention to detail, as well as your impressive skill set. For example, if you are already showing your clients a completed project but then something is not working properly, you’ll be able to control the situation and fix the problem more quickly because of the coding knowledge.

It Could Lead to Inspiration

Understanding the technology that you work with, or at least understanding its capabilities, places you at a huge advantage. When tailoring marketing campaigns on an individual client basis, you realize there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and so recognizing the capabilities of your tools, and utilizing those capabilities in each individual solution, gives you a strong competitive edge.

When you understand coding and your tools, it can be much easier to ask the right questions and get the right answers from your tech team. For example, if you are working on a marketing campaign and you want an app that will really amaze your audience. A regular marketer would just suggest that, without knowing what is possible in terms of technology. But if you do know coding you know just how your app can impress your audience and what it will take to make it. Understanding coding can also help you get inspired because you can imagine more things that are possible for digital marketing when you know what’s possible from the coding side.

So What Exactly Are We Talking About?

What are the languages that you need to know? How deep do you need to get?

As a great start there is HTML and CSS, which are basic front-end development skills dealing with the structure of web pages. As Trish Lehman, a tech writer at Draftbeyond and Researchpapersuk points out, with a decent working knowledge of these two languages you can “learn to structure emails and landing pages, and format blog posts, which are all bread-and-butter tasks to a developer, but can often seem like rocket science to a digital marketer, even though these are fundamental tools to getting the job done.”

Beyond these languages, there are a number of possibilities. UX/UI offers basic design principles which impress clients to no end. Then there are data analytics codes, content management system (CMS) platforms, automation software, and more. Data analytics can help you better understand the results of your campaigns, CMS platforms can help you be better with content marketing, and automation can really amp up your consistency strategies.

It can seem daunting, but in reality you will not need to know how to code every last one of these languages. It’s all about identifying which are the most crucial to your task, and getting a basic working understanding.

Get a Step Ahead

Shaking up your tech skills is a sure-fire way of getting ahead of the curve in the increasingly crowded digital marketing space. It will endear you to clients, colleagues, and your bosses alike, adding a new dimension to your skill set, and ensuring that you are moving with the times in this fast-paced and dynamic sector.