Why Marketers Should Learn How to Code

Programming often gets looked at as something mystical.

Developers get paid a lot, code looks like an alien language, and everyone makes a big deal out of it. Companies make it sound like developers will save the world. And while programming can solve a lot of problems, you don’t have to be a genius to learn how to do it. In reality, everyone who can solve a puzzle can code.

You see, programming isn’t so much about writing the actual code as it is about figuring out how to explain a process in such detail that a computer can understand. If you had to explain how to solve sudokus to something that could only understand 1s and 0s, how would you do it?

I think it’s important that everyone learns how to do it. Doesn’t matter if you’re a designer, CEO, or you work in a completely different field. Not only does it make your life easier but it helps you save a lot of time. It’s especially useful if you’re a marketer In this post I’ll show you why.

Code can automate the boring stuff

Let’s be honest: marketing isn’t always the most exciting job. It often requires you to look at a lot of spreadsheets and do boring work like copying and pasting numbers or words from one field to the next.

Learning how to write a simple program can make your job a lot more fun and easy. If you’re doing the same things over and over again, chances are a computer can do it way faster than you.

For example, let’s say you have a list of blog posts and you need to combine Google Analytics data and Google Search Console data. The traditional way of doing this is by creating a spreadsheet with all your blog posts, exporting your Google Analytics and Google Search Console data, and then start matching them. You might even do a cheeky VLOOKUP in Google sheets.

When you know how to program this can all be done in one single script. You can get a list of URLs, get traffic data from Google search console using their API, and get traffic data from Google analytics.

Granted, this might take a bit longer to set up but once you get it going it can save you hours of work if you need the data repeatedly.

Code can give you an edge

As marketers, we are all struggling to find ways to stand out. SEO is a good example. Everyone is writing the same articles over and over again hoping they gamed the algorithm better. And while some blogs explain things better or have a better video, there’s no fundamental difference between strategies.

An agency like Fractl does things differently. They specialize in creating pieces of content that are based on data. They gather and scrape a bunch of data from the web, and turn it into a narrative. The data gathering is often done with surveys but also utilizing automated web scraping.

As a result, their pieces of content get heaps of backlinks because they’ve produced something interesting. The articles they produce often get featured in big-time publications like Inc or Fortune.

Code can win back hours of your week

The biggest advantage of learning how to code is by far the amount of time it saves you during the week. Here are some examples of things you could automate:

  • Automatically creating ad creatives by programmatically adding text to images. This is essentially what Bannerbear does.
  • Go through a list of CSVs and combine, update, delete, or read specific data
  • Automatically resizing and optimizing images to make them ready for publishing. Similar to TinyPNGdoes.
  • Create custom reports pulling data from multiple sources.
  • Scrape the web to gather important market data
  • Start and stop ads based on inventory
  • Simplify your job search by scraping multiple job boards and looking for specific keywords
  • Automate repetitive actions on the web like making multiple form entries

The possibilities are endless. If you have to do the same thing over and over again, chances are there’s a way to automate it.

You can learn how to code

One of the main reasons people don’t want to code is because they think it’s hard to learn. I don’t blame them – the first time you see a bunch of code it looks confusing.

But while it looks daunting, the basics are not that hard. Even when it comes to learning specific programming languages, there are languages like Python that are quite easy to learn.

Of course, if you’re trying to build very complex programs where speed is important then it becomes more complicated and you need to learn specific programming languages.

Luckily, that’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re just trying to get our life easier, so Python will suffice. Below are some resources to get you started: