Following Social Media Week in September, marketers are reflecting on the reminder it gave us that no matter how well versed in strategy and steeped in experience we are, we can’t escape the fact that digital and social are the new old terms. But digital is taking on another, new and more technical edge (yet again). Companies at social media week offered coding workshops – reflecting the upswing in the popularity of Web development, boosted by our very own UK based Silicon roundabout in London and US sitcoms aired in the UK such as Silicon Valley.
Free coding workshops and coding websites such as Code School and Code Academy are also gaining ground in the popularity stakes and inches in the media as they do. These courses offer everyone from any profession the chance to get hands on Web and app design and experience. Why do they want to? Well, the age old adage remains true; knowledge is power. And in this case, having a technical mindset, one which helps you to remain on top of the processes behind the most important digital platform – the Web – is becoming increasingly helpful. From understanding how to change a colour on a webpage to getting to grips with the latest content management system, even basic coding knowledge can help all to make small efficiencies in the day to day project management process.
This is the part where this article may give you pause. You may be asking whether you really need to know how to code or whether it’s enough to rely on that cool looking digital guy or girl in the hooded sweatshirt? The truth is that digital has gone granular. Strategy for content and earned media used to be able to cut it, and then digital came along and tweeting and posting on Facebook was the thing to engage customers in a two way conversation. Then automated marketing tools enabled the ability to track and really understand our customers before engaging with them. Programmatic added another dimension by enabling marketers to launch real-time in a box campaigns to multiple regions meaning we could better reach customers in real time. Now comes coding – it’s not new but it’s certainly a new way of looking at how to manipulate the platform powering these marketing tools. And it’s in this ability that we can really drive efficiency benefits and personalise their services.
There is absolutely still a need to focus on the macro – content strategy and development is the cornerstone of every good marketing plan. But those who create the content – marketers – are often the most likely to also take informed decisions on how content is disseminated and the budgets, strategy and design that accompany the new digital landscape – videos, apps, infographics, websites and logos. For this, knowledge of coding is necessary.