Technology for eMarketing

I have always pointed out that an eMarketer needs to have a good understanding of the technologies involved. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every eMarketer needs a strong technology background to properly do the job. But it certainly helps a lot. Actually I would not want to do my job without this knowledge. Just a few examples:

  • New marketing ideas

    Whenever a new technology hits the Internet, it should be evaluated with regard to whether and how it can be applied to online marketing. Not only can existing projects largely benefit from new technologies, some of the technologies like RSS have resulted in whole new online marketing concepts. The better you understand the underlying technology, the more ideas you can generate for your own projects, and much faster too.

  • Improving existing projects

    AJAX is a good example for this. While many still believe that AJAX is the cool stuff that makes sites look Web 2.0, understanding its real technical benefits will allow you to first implement AJAX where it really makes a difference, thereby increasing web site usability and performance, and maintaining accessibility at the same time.

  • Balanced decision making

    The web developer in my right brain half may want to jump onto every new bit of technology (especially the cool bits) and immediately implement them. Fortunately its left counterpart wants to first discuss the eMarketing why and how.

  • Implementation options

    It helps a lot if you know the technical possibilities to implement something. Just one simple example. Automatically redirecting a site vistor to another web site can be done in many different ways. Server side or client side, temporary 302 or permanent 301, Javascript or meta refresh, scripting or htaccess, ISAPI handlers or custom 404 pages, etc. Implementing a quick technical solution without knowing its eMarketing implications may result in search engine optimization issues, usability issues, browser incompatibility issues, performance issues, and more.

  • Managing 3rd parties

    When I talk to technical consultants about the implementation of a web site or web site features, it helps if they know that I have developed web sites myself. I would often notice if they tried to suggest a self-interested extension of a project’s scope for “technical reasons”. I also know how long it should take an agency to do typical web development tasks. When the project gets to its implementation phase, it’s great to have technical consultants sitting right next to you, being able to quickly answer their questions not only from a “functional specs” point of view.

  • Testing

    I was recently involved in the planning and testing of a complex database driven web application. Knowing typical programming mistakes myself, I challenged the program with non-standard input data. A number of technical issues had to be fixed that either crashed the application or resulted in the storage of invalid data.

  • Independence

    I try to delegate as many technical tasks as possible. However, sometimes it’s just easier or faster to do it yourself. Configuring a zone on the DNS server is one such example. Instructing somebody to do this for you takes about as long as editing the zone file yourself, with instant results. DNS issues can be urgent sometimes…

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