“I’m more of a creative mind”. “Technology just isn’t my thing”. “I don’t want to be coding behind a computer all day, I’m more of a people person”.
We all have our excuses that we play off as reasons. Trust me, I know, I felt them too.
I was fortunate to come from a household with parents whom encouraged me to explore my passions, regardless of their backgrounds. But in reality, my parents were software and hardware engineers, so while following a technical path was never pushed, it always encouraged.
When it came to applying to school, the conversations around what major I’d choose really drew out their opinions – I should study computer science. In addition to that, I had an inkling that I was wired for a job that was a bit more technical than most – I played with robotics as a kid, had a fascination with websites and tried to learn coding multiple times (partly because of my dad, but hey I enjoyed it too).
But, being nothing less than a stubborn 18 year old who was both influenced by a) truly discovering a passion for marketing and b) not wanting to follow what my parents were pushing, I decided to apply to Business School and intended to major in marketing. And that was still the best decision of my life.
But… (yes there’s always a but)
What I didn’t realize as an 18 year old infatuated with the creative world of marketing was where the future of marketing is going. What my parents didn’t realize as they were encouraging me to go completely technical as a CS major. And what I wish someone had told me, was about this world in between – a world of technical marketing. So I’m going to tell you.
The world of technical marketing is exploding. Look around you, everything is digital, which means a lot of marketing is done behind a computer. People that can take existing technologies, use them to their full potential, and even add to their functions, will be the one that survive the explosion of automated jobs (read Average is Over if you don’t believe me). The “Mad Men” jobs are still out there, but there’s so much more to be excited about. Below, I’ve listed some of the coolest areas (in my opinion) where technical, yet marketing-oriented, people can thrive –
- User acquisition and growth – search engine marketing, search engine optimization, and display ads on social networks are some of the most powerful ways to acquire new users online. And looking at these roles, they’re heavily technical – you can directly track and measure the impact of your efforts if you have the ability to set up the technical components like pixel tracking and understand your data.
- Product development and marketing – it’s impressively scary how much you can know about your users’ behavior, demographics and psychographics from the data we can collect online. Understanding your market and establishing market fit is easier (and harder) than ever. The days of establishing positioning maps from mall surveys are quickly being replaced by analyzing unstructured text data from social networks.
- Web development and design – for the creative folks out there, talking about all of these data-focused roles may seem irrelevant. You might still be thinking “I like the creative side”. This is where learning web development, UX/UI and design can be incredibly exciting. By stretching your technical skills, you can not only be the one dreaming up the online experiences, but the one also creating them and testing them, making you a triple threat.
While these are just some of the few examples of technical marketing-oriented roles that excite me, I hope you’ll take this and think critically about what you’re passionate about and what technical skills would really take your passions to the next level.
What ways do you see the world of technical marketing exploding?