Having a digital marketing translator who can easily communicate with both marketers and developers is becoming increasingly vital to any organization that hopes to stay relevant online.
More and more business activities are performed online every day. And not just straight marketing—sales, communications, branding, customer interaction. All are vitally important day-to-day activities that all rely on digital power.
Yet as ubiquitous and powerful as digital tools are, many of us know distressingly little about how they actually work. And even if we can use them with some competency, we’re often at a loss when systems break or don’t perform as we expect.
This is an issue that almost all companies have difficulty dealing with, especially if marketing is a big part of their business. It’s a particularly common problem with small businesses and departments where you often don’t have the resources to hire dedicated experts who can assist you full time. But even in huge corporations with a massive staff, it’s often not enough to have an army of IT experts and master developers on hand.
No matter how good developers are at their job, they’re not necessarily fluent in the language and familiar with the needs of your field. Likewise, unless you have a background in software engineering you probably struggle to understand what they’re doing and how they can help you.
The Marketer-Developer Divide
Marketers often have grand visions of beautiful interfaces and compelling consumer experiences, but have no idea how to craft them in a digital space. They want to move quickly to keep up with the latest trends and nimbly respond to testing results to maximize ROI. But they’re frequently not tech-minded and don’t understand the limitations of various platforms and online media.
On the other hand, web developers are not typically schooled in the fundamentals of marketing. Even if they get experience in the industry, they are frequently unable to anticipate the needs of the marketers they work with. They don’t know what features and functionalities they need to include in their work to produce an effective and useful product for marketer and consumer alike. Good developers want to move methodically, ensuring they lay a stable and flexible foundation that won’t unexpectedly malfunction down the road.
These two roles have become fatefully intertwined and codependent, yet members of each struggle to communicate on anything beyond the basic level. To complicate the matter, core tenants of their fields can come into direct conflict. Only one kind of person is fluent enough in the worlds and words of each to effectively manage digital projects and people—the Digital Translator.
Communication Breakdown: Epic Marketing Disasters
Need to see the damage this level of misunderstanding can bring firsthand? Here’s a couple epic marketing failures caused by poor communication between marketers and developers, recounted by our own resident digital translator Olena, that could have been prevented with better digital marketing recruiting:
- A medium-sized company’s website redesign was poorly executed when the web development team used 302 redirects to handle old links. Only 301 redirects will save organic rankings and page reputation—an essential factor in SEO. The marketing team, not knowing the difference between the two, watched a huge organic traffic and revenue decrease in panic after the new website launched. With no idea what was causing the sudden drop, they were unable to fix the issue. By the time the culprit was discovered and addressed, many organic rankings were lost and SEO value took a huge hit. Cases like this can damage the entire domain’s authority, which can take years and a huge amount of resources to repair.
- Even massive Fortune 500 companies with large marketing and development teams are vulnerable to such mistakes. A large hotel chain’s marketing team wanted to wow users, executives and competitors by fully rebuilding the site and using Adobe Flash heavily. Flash is a powerful tool that can be used in many effective ways—but most Flash content is not indexable by search engines. Corporate marketing got so carried away by the awesome concept and great looks of the new website that no one stopped to think how a Flash-based website would impact SEO. The web development team also didn’t have an opportunity to mention it: they were just giving marketing what it requested. The grand new website launched on time, but had no content that search engines could see.
Find Your Translator with Digital Marketing Recruiting
When doing digital marketing recruiting, you should always take your candidates’ fluency in development into account. But taking the extra step to find someone who is especially adept at both fields can pay off even more. Image source
Whether it’s a marketing-savvy developer or a marketer that’s able to get under the hood of your digital infrastructure, people who can work in both realms are incredibly valuable. Their importance is only going to increase over time as media fracture further and the pace of marketing and technologies changes picks up.
In large agencies and departments they can bridge the gap between teams, make sure everyone is on the same page and effectively manage people and projects. In smaller businesses they can easily communicate with third-party assistance, clearly defining what they need and easily able to spot inconsistent quality.
Digital Comprehension is More Important Than Ever
In a world where everyone has access to the entire digital world in their pockets at all times, you can’t afford to be pushing inefficient online campaigns. You see the results of poorly coordinated digital marketing projects all the time:
- In websites that might look superficially fine but are actually a tangled mess of code that breaks under the slightest stress.
- In a well-designed application that is entirely functional but fails to engage consumers or convert sales.
- In inflexible email templates.
- In unattractive landing pages.
- In ineffective tracking and testing measures.
It leads to ineffective marketing and a damaged brand image. You need to take action now to prevent it. Do you have someone you can turn to for expertise in both marketing and digital problems? If not, you’re at immediate risk of falling behind the competition that does.