Importance of Programming For Digital Marketers

As technology grows, so do jobs. Jobs are being multi-disciplinary, especially with marketing. In the data-driven world of marketing, more tasks require a bit of coding, whether it is when using tracking code or pulling data from Google Analytics.

Knowing at least the basics of a programming language or two that apply to digital marketing is a great way to propel your career and stick out from the crowd. Some programming languages are beyond the scope of what marketers could practically use, but many are valuable for marketers to have a basic knowledge of. You don’t necessarily need to be an expert in a programming language to get a return from learning it.

Learning programming and other technical digital marketing skills can help you be more effective in a job and stand out in the job market. Many marketers are nervous about learning programming, but taking the leap and starting to learn is the most challenging part.  

Why Should Internet Marketers Learn to Code?

There are a few specific reasons why learning code can be valuable for marketers:

  1. Learning or having a basic understanding of code can make for more accessible communication with web developers on their team.
  2. Learning how to code can help marketers understand how their websites function to better optimize the site for SEO purposes and create an A+ Website.
  3. With some programming skills, you can take care of basic issues that might come up that are more technical, so you can avoid sending it to the support or development team.
  4. An understanding of programming can give insights about the ROI of specific requests you send to your development team and understand the effort it takes for them to do those tasks.
  5. Coding enhances your problem-solving skills, which is hugely beneficial in the world of digital marketing.
  6. Marketing is significantly data-driven, especially in digital marketing. Learning to code helps you find ways to manage your data, use it, and visualize it in helpful ways for clients.

Best Languages for Marketers to Learn 

  • HTML – HTML is excellent to learn first because it is prevalent in digital marketing and teaches the basic fundamentals that translate into other programming languages. It will teach you how code is structured and give you a deeper understanding of how the web is structured and how it functions. HTML is great for data and information visualization. Read more about HTML in our What is HTML blog post.
  • Javascript – As number three on the IT World’s list of the best first language, JS gives an excellent foundational start for programming. It allows you to have necessary programming skills that can translate to other languages and is useful for various projects, including websites. Javascript is everywhere, and the most frequently used language in web development. It is also great to use when implementing tracking codes.
  • C- Since C is one of the oldest languages of code, created in 1972 by Bell Labs, it is a solid foundation for learning programming languages. C sets the foundation for learning other languages, as most came after it. It is excellent for programming things like operating systems, or something as simple as spreadsheets.
  • Structured Query Language(SQL)- SQL’s design is best for managing data help in a database management system. It is a great way to process data and is increasingly vital since data drives digital marketing results.   
  • Python- Python is approachable, versatile, and a go-to language for data analysis. With how data-driven marketing is, marketers need a simple way to juggle massive amounts of data to increase insights with strategies they may use.
  • R- R is a programming language specifically designed for statistical computing and has endless packages that can help programmers achieve common to more individual tasks. R can help marketers visualize correlation and regression analysis, pivot tables, customer churn, experiments, A/B testing and more. It is fantastic for managing, manipulating and visualizing large data files. 

What Basic Programming Skills Should Digital Marketers Learn?

Basic programming skills can be learned in nearly any of the listed programming languages, and are a great supplement to marketing knowledge. Digital marketers should learn:

  • HTML – HTML is what tells the web browser what is on the page and displays the content. It is crucial to understand how to find and edit meta descriptions and title tags with and add and remove keywords. WYSIWYG interfaces in hosting sites like WordPress can be helpful and user-friendly, but having a solid understanding of HTML is more useful.
  • Scripting– Scripting is a programming language that is translated into machine code when it is run rather than beforehand. It is a series of commands that execute without the need to compile them. All scripting languages are programming languages, but not all programming languages are scripting languages. Python is an example of a scripting language.
  • Data Analysis– Data analysis includes sorting through large amounts of data and deriving key insights from it and metrics. With programming languages such as R, Python and SQL, you can inspect, cleanse, transform, manipulate and model data.
  • Data Visualization– Data visualization involves presenting the information that you gathered from data analysis in a graphical format. Usually, this is in a chart, graph, and sometimes a geo map representation. It can help you as the marketer make decisions. Data visualization is also helpful when communicating with clients because people tend to ingest information more efficiently when they are learning it visually.
  • Various programming concepts– It is essential and useful to understand applications of programming languages. Knowing the different capabilities can help you perform multiple tasks, including multivariate testing, regressions and more.

Where to Learn Coding

There are a few ways to learn R, Python, SQL, C, Javascript or HTML programming on your own.

  1. Youtube Instructional Videos: There are various youtube channels out there that teach you everything from the most basic concepts to the most advanced programming concepts. You can find videos for practically any programming language and any problem you may be having.
  2. Read blogs about the specific programming languages: There are many blogs out there and specific ones for each programming language type.
  1. Read books: You can purchase books or sometimes find free downloads of books that teach you your programming language. Just give it a quick google search!
  2. Experiment yourself: One of our most valuable resources is at our fingertips- it’s Google! Download PLATFORM and start messing around yourself.
  3. Take an Online Course: There are a few online courses that will teach you basic to advanced programming concepts. One specifically is Data Camp, but others include Udemy, Codecademy, Coursera and Lynda.
  4. Check out cheat sheets: They are a great resource to learn how to program or supplement learning. Just google the programming language and “cheat sheet,” and they should pop up!

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