Marketers, get technical with digital to go the distance

If you work in marketing, you might want to learn a little computer programming or understand the technology underpinning many of the digital tools delivering automated ads. The savvy marketers that do, will be able to push the technological boundaries to drive business results and ultimately land that top role.

Seb Joseph

It’s no exaggeration to say that there are still many marketers struggling to understand why digital is smashing other channels when it comes to return on investment. In fact, many are increasingly reliant on outside agencies to bring them up-to speed on their weakest capability – at a time when it needs to be their strongest.

The situation is made all the more clearer in the latest CMO Compensation Report, a survey of 345 senior marketing execs globally conducted by the CMO Council, that found digitally savvy marketers gain the highest paid roles. The lack of marketers able to fully explain why digital impressions, not clicks, are what drive offline impressions or are able to game the system by gaining as many free impressions as possible despite only paying for clicks has put a premium on the skillset.

Whether its coding or understanding programmatic trading, it’s important for anyone looking to get ahead in the marketing world to have knowledge of how the web works. This isn’t a call to start writing your own marketing software but there are wins to be gained in understanding how software works, particularly when it comes to mapping out integrated customer journeys or seeing a web page through HTML eyes to assess its value as a driver of organic traffic.

An agency or a developer may have the expertise to drive results yet they still need the guiding hand of a client to wield that information wisely. It is a skills gap some of the world’s biggest companies are trying to hurdle by mending the disconnect between the information technology and marketing departments.

Pernod Ricard is placing digital experts in most of its brand teams to bring colleagues up to speed on the concepts and concerns set to underpin campaigns of the future. Simialry, SABMiller is on the hunt for digital specialists to help extend a global approach to marketing it has spent the last three years developing.  

At a time when more and more of marketing is being replaced by automation and encompassing more disciplines, it is no longer enough to be able to use a dashboard or wax lyrical about content strategies. But there will always be room for those multi-skilled disciplined individuals capable of keeping one step ahead of tech-savvy consumers.

Industry observers often talk about the need for digital marketing to have a human touch. And while true, it is just as important that they embrace their inner geek to bolster their marketing nous and prove their worthiness to employers.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Hear hear! A basic understanding of SQL & a language such as Python is a huge competitive advantage for any marketer. There room for middle-management types who don't get their hands dirty anymore is getting less and less. Why employ someone who needs their own I.T team to function?!

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  • I look forward to a time when today's digitally naive CMO's are replaced by a new wave of digital first marketers, enabling brands to reach and talk to consumers in ways they find interesting and innovative.

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