That title may be a little harsh.
Web developers are actually great – I work closely with them every day and they are essential to making nice things happen online. They also have an important role to play when it comes to implementing digital marketing strategy.
A good / bad web developer can make / break your digital campaigns, so it pays to stay on their good side as a digital marketer.
My hostile tone is more reserved for companies, managers, HR teams (whoever – I’m not sure who is to blame really) and what is included in some digital marketing job descriptions.
I work in an in-house digital role and have to spin many different plates, so I know the challenges that can arise. Luckily, in my case, most of my projects revolve around digital so they’re plates I don’t mind spinning.
When I need to outsource work to a specialist on a specific project, or know I won’t have time to put as much into it as I would like to, then that’s what I do.
The difficulty I have is when I notice a digital job being advertised that covers anything from SEO to product support, and everything in between.
One of my favourites (*ahem*) looked a little something like this (coming under the title of ‘Digital Marketing Executive’):
- Support the Digital Marketing Manager – support them how? Cheer every time they come into the room? Bring them tea or coffee? The devil is in the detail, and there wasn’t a lot to work with, but I can give the benefit of the doubt here that it will be something in a digital capacity.
- Manage website and future website development – The first bit. Hmm, it depends but OK. The second bit, please see article title.
- Manage social media platforms – We’re good here.
- Manage email campaigns – And here.
- Manage design and production of all printed materials – Digital. Really?
- Database management – Sounds like CRM stuff. The Sales team must be on a sabbatical.
- Manage digital analytics (web, email, app, etc.) – Thumbs up for this one.
- Undertake market research projects – Competitive analysis in digital marketing is a must-do. I’m not sure that falls under ‘market research’ on the whole, so I’m dubious of this one.
- Assist event marketing plans – Are you sure you don’t want an Events Co-Ordinator instead?
- Manage the company app – Getting more people to download the app could definitely form part of a digital campaign. App development is a totally different ball game!
- Discover & manage new digital initiatives – I think this means stay on top of what’s hot in digital and utilise it where you can. All good on that front.
- Key contact for visitors and charities – I’ll admit I did have a good giggle at this one. Those giggles quickly turned to tears. WTF.
- Admin duties when required – When you’re finished welcoming the charities, planning the next event and designing the new website, can you pay those invoices?
Well over half of the things listed, in my opinion, have very little to do with digital marketing.
No mention of SEO, PPC, conversion rate optimisation. Nada. Although I’m sure they would be bundled in there somewhere sooner or later.
Sounds like they need a full design and marketing agency, rather than one person to tick all those boxes!
Job descriptions like the one above really stand out to me as indicators that the hiring company don’t really know who they want to hire and so have created a mish-mash of several roles into one. Or, alternatively, they don’t fully appreciate the time, effort and resources needed to drive the best possible results from digital campaigns.
Digital marketing is hard work. SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media management, etc. all require careful planning, execution and analysis to get the best bang for your buck.
Scale is also important here. I get it that there will be small companies who can’t afford to hire digital teams and so need an all rounder in every aspect of Marketing (and everything else) to do the job at hand.
That’s totally understandable – I just don’t think there is a need, or benefit, to dress it up as a digital role and pin lot’s of other tasks onto it!
The end result is that you’ll end up doing a little bit of a lot of things, many of which aren’t really digital related. The company probably won’t fulfill their true digital potential and, as a digital marketer, you won’t improve your skillset as you would in a dedicated digital role.
Don’t be that web developer SEO guy who occasionally organises events for charities.