I go to a lot of tech conferences, and when I’m there I almost never meet many marketers. It’s a lonely world out there for a marketing professional passionate about data and technology. It used to intimidate me; I worked hard to master the ‘nod-like-you-get-whats-going-on’ conversation technique. At some point I got tired of it and just started asking dumb questions of my smartest friends. I took some technical courses – SQL Server administration, software development, and Data Science because I was interested. It was then I started to understand the potential of any technology that runs on data (all of them). It has made me so much better at my job.
Over the years I’ve worked hard to shed the imposter syndrome.
I sit in on sessions way outside my comfort zone and force myself to learn new technologies. Sometimes I get it; a lot of times I don’t. However, I always seem to walk away with new knowledge. Not only does it make me better at telling the brand stories for our technical clients, but it also gives me a deep understanding of how marketing technology works. And that’s how we win for our clients in the lead generation game.
Generally, most marketers don’t understand the technology they use every day. Using sophisticated marketing automation platforms, SEO, or social media management tools and not attempting to understand how the technology works means that you don’t really get the power you have at your fingertips. Data fuels these tools; how data is collected, structured, and queried can change your ability to reach an audience and make decisions about products you offer.
The good news is that I do see this changing – albeit slowly.
Many marketing programs now have beginner SQL Server courses, and more digital marketers are competent in developer languages. But we must be more wholistic when we teach marketing, including subjects like data, analytics and machine learning. When you segment, tag, A/B split test and campaign build, you are querying a database. When you push marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to a CRM, you’re performing an UPDATE statement through an API. It’s brilliant in its simplicity, so we take it for granted, but if you don’t understand what’s happening beneath the user interface, you won’t understand what questions you can ask of the data – and you’ll leave information on the table that can help your business win.
You want to update your skills in 2019 in digital marketing? Learn how data works.