Why Marketers Should Learn to Code [+3 Reasons and Resources]

Apart from gaining valuable background information, coding builds a set of transferable skills for your role as a digital marketer

You’re known as a marketing ninja. You’re great at what you do. You know what your clients need, and you ace your projects. But—do you know how to code?

Probably not.

Why does it matter?

The whole web word is built on coded software. Can you be called a digital marketing guru without knowing the basics of how the web world is built?

In this guide, you’ll get a better understanding of why coding can make you an indispensable marketer in today’s digital world. You’ll also get valuable advice on where to start with learning how to code.

Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be closer to be an all-around digital marketing superstar.

Building Your Problem-Solving Abilities

What is coding all about?

Coding is less about the language and more about an approach to problem-solving.

What does this mean for you as a marketer?

Building Your Problem-Solving Abilities

You wear this hat already. Every marketer has problem-solving skills they put to use each and every day. But how will coding make you even better at problem-solving?

Well—it’s all about how to act when you encounter a new problem. When I started coding, I realized there is a framework available to solve problems that can translate to marketing as well. If you have a problem, you shouldn’t just try a solution, see if it works, and if not, try another one.

You need a framework and then you practice it. So, if a problem comes at you, try the following: identify the core problem, break it down into steps, plan, and solve it incrementally. Programmers don’t just start hacking away. They have to analyze the problem and then process the information.

Process information

The same will follow for the larger marketing challenges you face. To get a good plan, start by answering this question: “If customers are giving input X, what steps will get them to output Y”? Coding will give you the framework here to engage these difficult problems and have sound, great solutions.

Broadens Your Product Understanding

 You know what it’s like being around the product and IT team. They’re speaking English, but you can’t get anything they’re saying.

Well—start coding and you’ll know the lingo.

After some weeks of coding, I found myself thinking like a product person. My conversations with the technical teammates were so much better. And people began to take notice. They discussed matters with me and I brought the findings back to the outreach team. And the same will happen to you.

And—you’ll get the larger picture of what can be done for your marketing campaigns. You’ll know how much time the development team needs to build certain aspects of your project. You can evaluable the feasibility of building it from the outset and incorporate it into your larger project timeline.

But—that’s not all.

Growth Hacker

In today’s digital marketing workspace, you need to be versatile and understand multiple perspectives of the people working on your team. Think of growth hackers. It’s a new job title many companies have now emphasizing how coding and technical skills are now an essential part of being a great marketer.

Traditional questions of “How do I get customers for my product” are answered differently. You’ll use A/B tests, different landing pages, viral factors, and email deliverability. You can see there is no such thing as a single role, and it’s disrupting marketing teams everywhere. Evolve together with the digital world by learning to code and getting a better understanding of the entire development process.

Become the Do-It-Yourself Marketer

You know what needs to be changed. You let the development team know. But the problem—it’ll take several weeks and you need it done now.

If you know how to code, then you can make those changes now. Think about how many times you’ve had customers tell you some great advice on what should be changed on your website. With coding skills, you can create online content in real time as a reaction to what your audience is doing or saying.

And you won’t have to rely on a web development team anymore. It puts you in a position to get things done. Think of all the things you can do if you know a bit of code:

  • Manipulate/iterate web pages
  • Build landing pages
  • Adding marketing plugins to the website
  • Adding content to existing websites
  • Creating a marketing app
  • Personalizing a mass email marketing campaign

With some basic HTML and JavaScript, you’re halfway there. All of these can be done if you learn the basics and you’ll be a more effective marketer. You’ll pave the way for efficiency and productivity on your team.

What to Learn and Where to Learn It

 You know the benefits of learning to code for digital marketing. Now you need to know what to learn and where to learn it.

The first is a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. It’s the building block of all websites. That’s a great start. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can venture into JavaScript. JavaScript will help you implement basic automation, update web page content on the fly, and communicate with the cloud. Later on, you can try design and the UX side of things as well.

Where can you learn to code? The web, of course. There are tons of free online resources available you can choose from. Codeacademy is free and approachable, with courses on many different languages.

These classes will help, but practice makes perfect. Once you have the basics of a language down, set yourself a project. Try to build a blog or other website from scratch. Practice doing as many landing pages as possible.

You’ll quickly see how addicting coding can be—all while becoming a black belt in digital marketing.

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Published on April 9, 2019 by Roger Maftean. Filed under: .

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