Should all marketeers know how to code?

Author Jimmy Bower

Code

​I’m a recruiter – I know much about many things pertaining to the professional world, particularly my specialism. My specialism is marketing recruitment – identifying the gaps in my clients’ teams, and who we need to be targeting and reaching out to in order to fill them.

When you first start working in recruitment it seems like a simple process; learn about job vacancy, find perfect candidate, make placement.

As with most things in this life, it’s not as simple as it seems – but learning the process from the ground up is the best way to be successful.

The same thing can be said for marketing and, for the past few weeks, a question has been playing on my mind: should all marketeers know how to code? Is this the skill which is going to get candidates ahead of the competition when it comes to job seeking?

Coding is the basis for most of the platforms marketeers’ efforts create these days – apps, websites, emails, essentially all aspects of digital campaigns. Wouldn’t it make sense for the people cultivating the ideas and materials that go into it to understand the process back to front, inside out?

Let’s apply this to another industry; as a salesperson you wouldn’t go about trying to sell without first knowing who your target client is, the demographic you’re selling to, their budget, needs, requirements. You need to understand how your product/service/offering is going to be perceived from the other side first, in order to acquire the tools and knowledge to sell successfully.

The same can be said for marketeers when it comes to coding. Code lies behind the vast majority of successful marketing campaigns, so wouldn’t understanding it naturally allow you to generate more viable and innovative ideas? What’s going to work, what isn’t, what hasn’t been done before – but could be. Not to mention being able to problem solve, bug fix, make quick but effective changes…

Now, coding isn’t a part of most marketing jobs on the day-to-day – it’s not likely to be a part of the job description. I’m not saying that everyone working in the industry should start taking on those responsibilities. What I’m getting at is, simply having the knowledge could be enough to have you jump the queue on equally qualified and experienced applicants, could help you take your career to the next level – conversely, from a business perspective, considering these skills at interview could help you make the hire your team needs to go above and beyond.

Learning what’s going on ‘behind the scenes’ in any profession leads to more well-informed and as such higher performing teams. And, in such a buoyant job market, differentiating yourself becomes evermore important. As a marketing professional, could learning at least basic coding be the way to go about this? The design and creative side is one thing – implementation and the costs involved within that, another entirely. And as an employer, refer to my previous article about upskilling – coding could be what your marketing team need for a well-rounded, versatile and skilful approach to your campaigns.

Do I myself know and understand coding? I can’t say that I do, beyond a basic level.

What I understand is how to source, identify and communicate with top-level marketing professionals. I know how to understand the skills they possess (coding or no), and how they do or do not fit within an organisation’s plan for development.

Whether you’re a job seeker looking for insight as to market conditions, current opportunities or profile feedback, myself and my dedicated team would love to talk; if you’re an employer facing challenges in recruiting the top talent that is (or is not) currently on the job market, we’re able to troubleshoot your process and bring about the change you need.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – what’s the next must-have skill to expand your career in marketing?