Peter VanRysdam / Digital Marketing / April 2nd, 2014

The New Blurred Lines Between Marketing and Development

As I board my plane home from the ClickZ Live conference in New York City, one theme is still sticking out to me: our job titles are meaningless now. No, I don’t mean we should go back to the dot-com era thinking of making everyone the Chief Imagination Officer or anything like that. What I mean is a digital marketer is no longer just a digital marketer, a user experience designer no longer just a UX designer, and a software developer no longer just a developer.

We all do the same thing.

This is hardly a new trend, but from hearing different talks, networking with peers and meeting vendors on the show floor, it was obvious that we all have to wear many hats these days. Gone are the silos where a marketer just focused on getting that specific keyword ranked or guest blog post written. So what does that mean for each role? As a digital agency that recently went through a huge transition, this was an important question for us.

Image property of Nike and Lebron. Total parody.
Seriously, everyone is a marketer these days. Image property of Nike Basketball, parody is our own.

Marketing for Everyone

First, for marketers, they need to understand not just how people will get to a site, but how to turn those visitors in to conversions. That means understanding how a user experiences a website. Two of the easiest and most effective ways to do that, and one of the big focuses of several talks at ClickZ Live, are user testing and then subsequent split testing.

First, let your users tell you how they use a site, where they get confused and what they’d like to see. Then it’s time to implement those changes, and split testing allows you to focus in on the best solution to kick your conversion rate into high gear.

At the same time, designers and developers need to understand that client sites are ultimately marketing tools. It’s a waste of effort to code a site only to have the marketers come back through it after the fact to optimize that code. Instead, designers and developers should work with an understanding of what works best for both users and search engines.

And the fixes are usually easier than you’d think.

Sure, there was much more to the show. I heard a lot of great information on topics like analytics, mobile marketing, local search, and the other hot topics in the digital marketing space. However, the convergence of development and marketing roles was clearer to me than it’s ever been.

A New Name for Everything

So should we all just call ourselves design, development and marketing associates? Maybe website makers? How about something that rolls off the tongue better like digital consultants? Let me know your suggestions in the comments, as well as your observations on the issue.

Image credit: WikiMedia

  • Brent Walbolt

    If I’m talking to someone in the industry I say that I’m an Interactive Advertiser. If I’m talking to anyone else I say, “I make websites.”