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5 Things Every Marketer Should Know About a Programmer!

Disclaimer: I am not a Programmer. I am a Marketer.

When I first caught hold of “Let us C” by the great Yashwant Kanetkar, I was told some really inspirational stories. My lecturer in college told me, “Boy, this book holds the key to your success. If you can understand C, you can work on any programming language on this world.”

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I tried hard, but honestly, beyond operators, I couldn’t march ahead. Pointers and references are still a big mystery for me.

May be I was not meant for coding and programming.

But fate had its other plans. In the year 2009, I was selected as SAP ABAP Consultant and worked for one full year programming and coding on the OOPS based ABAP platform. It was no doubt easier than C or C++ as it basically involved tweaking and editing the existing codes created by SAP programmers and generating reports. But my calling was different and I realized that writing and marketing suits better to me.

Last week, I had posted an interesting write-up called “6 Things Every Marketer Should Know About A Programmer” which stirred a controversy. Programmers blamed me for belittling their profession and one of the readers even called me a fool (read the comments)

I just loved it. Atleast my ideas were being read and more ideas were being spread.

After all the hype and hoopla, I decided to write a counter-post, which will try to decipher what programmers actually do.

For the sake of clarity and simplification, I have included developers, coders and programmers into one bracket. I know these are different breed all together; but what basically I am trying to group together all those who deal with codes and logic.

So, here are the 6 things which every Marketer should know about a Programmer (based on my experience of being a SAP ABAP programmer for 1 year and Online Marketing for the last 3 years..)

Programming is Art:

Not everyone can code and it involves immense dedication, practice and labour to become a good programmer. When we marketers assign tasks to programmers, we should have patience and some love.

A good programmer is an artist. A thinker; someone who creates products and solutions. Respect that; not everyone can do that.

Programming is problem solving:

Some marketers and CEOs think that programming is all about codes and codes and codes. Nope. Programming is more about problem solving than coding. Code is a tool, which programmers use to decipher the problem and provide a solution.

Hence, when a marketer ‘requests’ a programmer for some task, then she should be able to explain the problem in as much detail as possible. The better you are able to articulate your thoughts and present the problem to the programmer, better are your chances of getting the right solutions.

Programming is recurring unlike Sales

Sales manager grabs a lead, explains the features and advantages to the lead and tries all possible ‘tricks of the trade’ to close the sale. Once the sale is closed, that sales manager is more or less a relieved man.

Product has been sold and his task is finished. Programming on the other hand is a recurring job. That product needs after-sale service as well, and our dear programmers are so helpful in that. The product will need additional features and no one except a programmer can do that.

I can’t even imagine a situation where there are no programmers left and the customer is shouting for service. It would be all chaos everywhere.

There are no Silver Bullets in Programming:

Those who are investing money into a software/web project, they are always looking for that silver bullet from a programmer. They sometimes (tragically) compare software costs to that of hardware costs! They assume that if hardware costs are coming down, the programming costs should come down as well. I guess, they fail to understand something called inflation and economics.

Programming cannot be done by machines and it needs a healthy, human mind full of logic and common-sense. Hardware creation is more or less mechanical task, and with more advanced technology, it is bound to reduce over time.

Not all Programmers are same

As I shared earlier, not every programmer is same at their efficiency and problem solving level. We as a marketer should quickly acknowledge this fact because it has a lot to do with the results.

There are several theories on this, and the one which I like tells us that there are total of 8 levels of programmers. Identify the one which resonates with your thought process, and start the process. Wrong programmer with wrong task means that the project is doomed for failure.

At the end of the day, it is the team work which carries forward the message of progress and development.

A marketer without a good programmer is like a rich person who doesn’t know what a Rolex is; and a programmer without a good marketer is like a beautiful painting stuck in a cupboard.

Agree with me or totally disagree? Please share your views on this burning topic!

About Mohul Ghosh

Mohul manages Digital Marketing at Indian School of Business & Finance in New Delhi and keenly follows areas of Social Media, e-Marketing, Startups & Entrepreneurship in India. You can follow him on twitter @_mohul

3 comments

  1. Dear Mohul, At least 2 of the points in your article are indirectly based on the response I sent to your earlier article. If I am not mistaken, normally the protocols while writing any article/paper etc. requires references wherever applicable. Partha

    • Hi Partha, Thank you for the reminder. Yes, your comment in the last article was one of several ‘inspirations’ for writing this post. I am thankful to you and to all those programmers who shared their views. You can share your blog/website so that next time, the mention would be more visible :) Keep sharing your views.. regards, Mohul

    • Arun Prabhudesai

      Absolutely right Partha – and I request @Mohul to probably add a line stating that some parts were inspired by your comment…

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