Digital marketing is a mish-mash of marketing knowledge and little snippets of nerdy know-how. It’s a mess. You need to nail both categories, and the one that I see most often jam up would-be marketers is the nerdy stuff. Without it, you can’t execute.
There isn’t some exclusive “oh-look-at-me-I’m-a-digital marketer” club. If you can’t check off everything in this list, you just have a little homework to do.
But if you can’t execute, you aren’t a digital marketer, yet. If you’re going to execute, you must be able to:
- Write a blog post in code view, not WYSIWYG mode. That’s the bare minimum. You should be able to code and launch a responsive web page that won’t make bunnies cry.
- Resize and compress an image using the right file format. Uploading a bandwidth-hogging kitten PNG doesn’t count.
- Explain the difference between a session, a unique visitor and a pageview. Never, ever use the word “hit” in a serious meeting.
- Move a file from one computer to another without dragging and dropping, using e-mail or exposing that file to the entire planet. Secure FTP. Please. Please. Please, for my sanity and the sanity of others. It’s not too much to ask.
- Sketch out what happens between a click on a link and final delivery of the target page, from browser to server and back again.
- Pick a language. Create a form, accept input and show the result three times on submit. To do that, you have to learn variables, templating, forms and loops. Not much, but a start.
- Explain the work that goes into creating and launching good code, and the resources required to build and maintain a website.
- Explain server response codes. 200. 301. 302. 404. 500. Learn to speak Server.
- OK, this isn’t technical. But you had damned well better understand the difference between citing and stealing. This isn’t law degree stuff. It’s don’t-be-an-asshat stuff, and it’ll keep you out of hot water with grumpy, nasty people like me.
If you can check all these off, excellent. If not, start filling the gaps. It’s not a chore. You get to learn new gadgetry. It’s fun. Once you learn it, no one can shove you off the swings on the playground.
There’s no such thing as a “purely strategic” digital marketer. Marketing strategy only matters if you execute. These skills are how you execute or manage a team that does.