Top technical reasons marketers get fired

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Marketing is becoming a technical profession, much to the dismay of many who thought they would have a career filled with martinis and long meetings about pictures and how to fit those pictures into hilarious ads.

Some weeklong celebrity photo shoots in the Bahamas would be nice too.

Unfortunately, now marketers are as responsible for the technical performance of their web-based marketing as they are for the look of their sites and online ads. But what do marketers and creative minds know about online form delivery and analytics fragmentation? It’s a steep learning curve, so here are some tips to speed the process, and a few mistakes to avoid.

Your CEO and CFO know how to log on to Google Analytics.

Does this statement strike fear into your hearts? It should — because they’re smart enough to read the numbers and draw some conclusions on their own. You’ll need to tell them ahead of time what metrics you are trying to change, and what your goals are so they know what to look for in Analytics. Otherwise you’ll be called into a surprise meeting that’s really only a surprise for you.

Make sure all forms report into the same database. So here’s what happens: you don’t have enough time to get a developer to build a form for you on your Web site, so you launch a form on a third-party system like WuFoo or Form Assembly. Then you forget that you launched that form. Then all the leads from that form are lost from your reporting system. Multiply this scenario by the number of random forms you’ve built, and you can calculate how many months are left until you get fired.

Assign identification code to every element of every campaign. You know the drill: After the campaign is launched and successful in generating leads, you get called into a meeting with the CFO to see what elements you can cut from the campaign in order to do the same thing again, but for less money. If you have every single element uniquely identified (postcard vs. email vs. brochure) then you can explain to the CFO exactly how many leads were generated by each piece so you can make an informed decision. The alternative (rolling your eyes and complaining to your coworkers about how nobody “gets” marketing) may not be as productive as you think.

Invest in a Web development class at your local college. I know, I know “you have people for that” but I can promise that you’ll save thousands of dollars on your development costs if you can speak the same language (or a similar dialect) as your technical team. It will effectively end the horn-locking and “just do it” discussions and you’ll not only rise in your career, you’ll probably live longer too.

Don’t test-drive your creative on your personal Facebook page. This one is a recipe for disaster. First, your “friends” on Facebook will always tell you any creative stinks (that’s just what they do) AND, if you’re friends with your CEO on Facebook, then he’ll see all that negative feedback and start walking toward your office. Nobody wants to be there when he arrives.

It’s a strange world out there for marketers, but if we stick together, we can beat this thing. Good luck out there, and stay safe! Oh — and make lots of money for your company too.

See you in the Bahamas…

Marci De Vries is president of MDV Interactive, a web consulting firm in Baltimore. Reach her at