The role of an advertiser is complex. We all know this. Between creating brand strategies, analyzing trends, and forecasting new technologies, our jobs can seem overwhelming.
Often, it just seems to be happening all at once.
To intensify things, the industry is very competitive, requiring us to possess skills beyond the traditional roles. These days, you have to be the equivalent of the “triple threat” in advertising; just swap out singing, dancing, and acting for traditional media, social media, and development.
As marketers, we have an entire toolbox of skills that we get to use every day. For most of us though, that doesn’t include development. And often, those with the most technical experience end up making the biggest decisions in terms of what part of a brainstorm is feasible and what’s not.
Many times, you’ll have this amazing “Big Idea” – only for it to get watered down in wireframing and development.
Working at a small agency, I get exposed to new technologies and features – all at a very fast pace. The residual effects of this are equally frustrating and motivating.
Frustrating because as a quality assurance analyst, I just want to be able to fix any mistakes that I find in their code so that they can move on and focus on bigger, more exciting projects.
And motivating because they’re so eager to teach me development.
It’s the kind of environment where I get to take on as many new tasks as I can manage. And during my first eight months at Carrot Creative, I’ve already made small (read: very small) fixes to their website, found myself in Soho on a Saturday not shopping – but learning HTML at Squarespace – and now, I’m learning to code my own Tumblr design updates.
I never imagined that I’d be on such a technical side of things, but here I am:
The only non-developer sitting at the dev table.
Through this though, I’ve more fully understood the inner workings of everything from how Facebook tabs are built to the process that a website goes through from ideation to launch (wireframes, design, development, QA, etc.).
I’ve found that there is a stark difference between being social media “aware” and social media “technical”.
I know what sort of production timelines to anticipate depending on the type of site that I’m working on.
And I know to look for certain bugs that are typical of the respective sites.
Sure, you know what a Facebook tab looks like – and why a brand could possibly need one on their page – but what I’ve learned is how I can be more creative in that space. I know what it can and cannot do, and that experience is invaluable during brainstorms and pitches.
These are all small steps that I’m taking on the road to becoming a better advertiser. By arming ourselves with a broader technical knowledge, we can push the boundaries of creativity in advertising.
While our job will never be to replace the CTO, just think about how much more you can bring to the table for your organization.
For companies small and large, that “triple threat” capacity goes a long way.