Technical Marketer: How I accidentally taught myself to become one

Technical Marketer¹, Growth Hacker, Data Marketer, Startup Marketer… I identify with any/all of these, but most of all, I identify myself as a Full Stack Marketer. Why? First to differentiate myself from the sea of marketers, and second, to highlight my technical abilities. But how did I become one? Kind of by accident actually.

The general consensus of the 3 components of the full marketing stack are:

  1. Marketing & Sales
  2. Creative
  3. Technical

The specific components of which are roughly the following:

  1. Marketing & Sales: SEO, PPC, Social Media, Email Marketing, PR, Business Development
  2. Creative: Copywriting, Content Marketing, Graphic Design
  3. Technical: Analytics, A/B Testing, Landing Page Optimization, HTML/CSS

As background, I have a Bachelor’s in Mathematics & Statistics as well as a postgrad in management. Though the polytechnic that I attended in Singapore (aka Grade 11-13 aka CGEP) already exposed me to the same general topics of business: accounting, sales, organizational behaviour, finance, etc.

1. A lot of this is best learnt by doing. Write emails, social media posts and A/B test its content (copy/creative), time of posting; write press releases; pitch to journalists… at no cost! With a bit of budget, run some PPC campaigns on Google, Facebook, Twitter. Take a udemy course on Google AdWords. Get Adwords certified (totally optional but presumably studying for the exam will force you to learn).

2. Did I mention I minored in English Lit? 😛 But that doesn’t make me a good writer. Writing takes practice. As Ray Bradbury said, “you fail only if you stop writing”. What? Then we had better start.

Nicole Fu Photographer

Crouching tiger hidden dragon

I also happen to have some photoshop chops from when I was interested in photography and took a course with Objectifs once in 2007. I mostly learned how to photoshop away pimples and such, but picked up design along the way. I love Pixlr, a free, easy-to-use web app with only the essential tools from Adobe Photoshop.

 

Jolietta St Patty's Banner.jpg

St Patty’s Day promotional banner designed by moi

Nicole Fu at Clssy's HTML:CSS workshop3. In my Math and Stats classes we often had to use programming languages like Matlab and Maple. Also, a pre-requisitite of my major was a C++ or Java class. I took the former (though I recommend the latter), and that was not only my first taste of coding, but also the only class in my academic career that I would need a tutor for. It did somewhat scar me, but years later, while working on my first (eCommerce-related) startup, I took a HTML/CSS crash course with (the now defunct) clssy. It was easy to pick up with the syntax reminiscent of that which I used to create a Yahoo! GeoCities site when I was 12.😎 #nerd

HTML/CSS is where you should start from; my friend Roger Huang has a great blogpost with 5 things you should know before you learn to code. HTML/CSS is not only foundational in a journey to become a developer, but useful to a marketers to build and design landing pages, tweak websites, add analytics, and more. There are many easy DIY landing page services such as the popular Unbounce, however I’ve definitely found my little knowledge of HTML/CSS helpful in building Splash event pages, WordPress sites, and my own site nicolefu.com.

This post was inspired by a conversation that I had with a family friend last week. She was telling me about her friend’s daughter, who is fresh out of university with a Master’s in Marketing and applying to tons of marketing jobs to no avail. My advice was two-fold:

  1. Marketing is so broad… Inbound, outbound. Online, offline. Try a bunch in order to figure out what you like, and what you want to zone in on. Event marketer? Affiliate marketer? Agency gal?
  2. Expand your skill-set. Learn SEO, HTML, photoshop… whatever piques your interest!

Note: according to CareerBuilder, the number of Marketing Manager job ads companies posted each month in the US last year outpaced the number of people they actually hired by an average of 83,649 per month. I.e. Supply of jobs > demand, by 10x!! According to them, Marketing Managers are the 3rd hottest in-demand jobs for 2016, behind only Software Developers and Nurses. In addition, AdvertisingAge, Digital Marketing Institute, CMO, and Morgan McKinley are but few who have written about the rising demand of Technical Marketers.

New year, new skills. May 2016 be a year of learning & new experiences for all!

¹Someone who works in marketing and uses technical skills (e.g. programming) to enhance their work [Source]

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3 thoughts on “Technical Marketer: How I accidentally taught myself to become one

  1. Paul says:

    Great read! Indeed, the marketplace is so dynamic nowadays, so much so that you need to constantly be reading, taking notes off-hours, listening to podcasts and reading. The amount of facets are countless, and I look up to you whenever I need advice or help getting started on something new (which tends to happen probably weekly hahaha!).

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