What is a Marketing Developer?

When surgery was invented, the job title “surgeon” came with no modifiers. It didn’t matter what needed to come off or go in, you could see the same person. As medicine advanced, the job splintered. More knowledge meant increased complexity which necessitated specialization. Soon you would see one person for your war wounds and a different surgeon for tuberculosis. This process continued today, where we now have many different specializations.

What does this have to do with web development?

I’m getting there. I’ve watched a similar splintering happen to designers and developers throughout my career. At my first job at an agency, back in 2008, those were the only two titles in the production department. At today’s software company, you will find a mix of front-end, back-end, DevOps, mobile, native, UX & UI experts. All taking orders from a product manager or project manager, sometimes both.

I’ve seen a new type of position begin to branch off. The marketing developer. Sometimes called a growth engineer.

Today marketing departments of a certain sophistication require a programmer’s skill. You can make progress faster when you don’t have to fight the product team to gain access to it.

Since this idea is new to me, I want to attempt to put a finer point on it.

 What are the responsibilities of a marketing developer?

  • Analytics. Ensuring metrics are tracked accurately and can be interpreted usefully.
  • Website Performance.  It’s known that slow performance decreases conversions. A marketing developer can focus on performance improvements with the aim to increase revenue.
  • Segmentation & Personalization. If you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one. These days there is no excuse for showing the same web pages to every customer.
  • Tools as Marketing.  You typically don’t want to take a developer off of working on your core product to build a tool for customer acquisition. Examples include VWO’s Statistical Significance Calculator.
  • Testing & Optimization.  Speaking of VWO, when A/B testing starts to require npm modules, you’ll need an engineer to implement them.
  • Marketing Automation.  Sometimes you want to write scripts for your in-house automation. Even if you are using off-the-shelf tools such as  Zapier or Drip’s workflow editor, these are examples of duck programming and benefit from an engineer’s eye.

It’s an interesting field. One I expect to see a lot more of in the coming years.

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