Coding: A Learning Guide for Marketers

image of a child learning mathNobody learns math for the main purpose of becoming a mathematician, we learn math to understand its application in our everyday lives. This same idea applies to marketers and the understanding of certain coding languages.

In today’s technological age, there is no denying that digital drives the way in which consumers, consume and marketers, market. We see examples of this every day – i.e. augmented reality in advertisements. These innovations are powered by software documentation and programming languages. And just like math, understanding the applications of coding makes it easier for marketers to do their job. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, there are over 2,000 types of computer languages. Where should a marketer begin?

Marketers should start with front-end coding languages.

For marketers its best to start with the basics: front-end web applications. The front-end includes everything that is visible to your consumers when they visit your web page. At the very least, familiarizing yourself with these languages will help improve efficiencies because you will learn that certain tasks can be easily executed without involving a web developer. In addition, learning the enigmas of these languages (or lack of) can help you communicate more fluidly with technical matters, make more informed decisions and better strategize how to integrate web applications into marketing strategies. Therefore, marketers should start with learning the concepts of HTML, CSS and Javascript.

1. HTML: HyperText Markup Language or HTML is the language used to define the structure and how data is to be displayed on a brand’s webpage. It is a markup language that does not really “do” anything in the programming sense, however it uses tags or elements to communicate how content is to be structure on the page. For example, I am currently using the paragraph tag to communicate that this should look like a paragraph and not something else (header, link etc.).

2. CSS: Cascading Style Sheets help communicate how the HTML elements are to look. This is  especially relevant for marketers because this is how brand guidelines will be deployed throughout your site. For example, we can use the CSS to ensure that Header 6 elements (H6 tag) are using the same shade of pink outlined in brand documentation guidelines of your company.


Q:  What if you were launching a marketing campaign in which the tone and style deviated from that of the brand?

Answer: Thankfully, CSS styles can be overwritten for a particular page by using inline styling for HTML. As a result of this technique, you are able to change the styling without disrupting the CSS of the entire website.


3. Javascript: Image of javascript being used on a website.Have you ever visited an online retailer and was prompt to enter an email to receive 10% off your purchase? That specific prompt or pop-up, was made possible through Javascript programming. Essentially, the interactions that happen on webpages are all handled by JavaScript programming. This coding provides the logic and rules that determine what happens after you perform a certain action – such as hitting the submit button after you complete a form. JavaScript help make webpages more interactive and enjoyable for users. Therefore, having an understanding of JavaScript’s capabilities, will help you better deploy your website to encourage a specific response (call-to-action) from your site visitors.

Appreciating the benefits coding provides marketers.

In conclusion, coding gives you the opportunity to use your creativity and problem solving skills to create something and see it evolve in real-time.  Fortunately for all of us, with so many online resources, learning how to code has never been easier. The best part? In general, it requires little effort – just a computer and some free time. Here are some online resources to help get you started:

 

Best of luck!