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Knowledge of Computer Technology: Its Importance to the Marketers

Knowledge of Computer Technology: Its Importance to the Marketers
Prof. (Dr.) S. Shyam Prasad
In this era of internet of things (IOT), one cannot live without internet. This is more so in case of marketing. Modern marketers are increasingly making use of internet and web based technologies for their marketing activities.  Hardly there exists a company without its presence in the internet or without a digital marketing channel. Websites, emails and apps to name a few that are intended to influence customers are all up and running because of certain soft wares and codes written by somebody. Should then the marketers too understand the software and coding? How important is the knowledge of soft wares to them? This article attempts to analyze as to what extent a marketer needs to know about computer technology.
Modern Marketing
Marketing has come a long way from selling to content marketing and is moving on. Digital marketers find that their knowledge requirement is increasing every day. Omni channel, from an augmented level of service is evolving to be an expected level of service; some marketers have even embraced 3D printing for reaching their customers.  Marketing and marketers are now overwhelmed with a deluge of ever increasing soft wares to increase both their effectiveness and efficiency. Increasingly, marketing is becoming IT driven and is taking much of digital space. The present marketing department has now grown to include other non-marketing people like IT professional, technical consultants, etc. A marketing professional will gain competitive advantage if he can understand the technologies behind the tools that he uses instead of just using the tools. If one wants the best out of something, one should have an understanding of how that something works. Since all these tools are founded on code and run on code, some knowledge and understanding of code would be useful. 
Need of the hour
Marketing is progressively becoming technology run. As mentioned earlier, hardly there exists a marketer who does not use any digital technology. The job of a marketer is becoming more interdisciplinary with knowledge of internet and digital science being essential. This is where computer technology comes in. Marketers need to know what it takes to build a webpage, an app. Only if the marketers have this knowledge can they be able to communicate intelligently with the technologists such as web designers in their own parlance. This will make their brief clear and reduces the risk of miscommunication. Even a little knowledge and familiarity can produce high gains in productivity and take advantage of the information at their disposal.   
It is common knowledge that in every school children are taught to read and write. We don’t expect all of them to become poets and writers. They go off to pursue their chosen profession. Similarly, looking at the present trend in digital growth and the tale of internet of things, the children in the school should also be trained beyond the basics of computer – may be programming. Therefore it is now becoming imperative particularly for the marketers to be trained in computer technology such as familiarity with soft wares, programming etc.
Think of a situation where the marketer needs to resize an image or change a word in an internet page for which he has to go over to different people and wait for them to do the needful. With some basic knowledge of HTML, the marketer himself can do these small changes on his own. This will not only save time for all concerned but will also be inspiring and boost the effectiveness. Learning programming and understanding how digital products such as webpages, apps will give a marketer a better understanding of what is possible and what is not.
It is not necessary for the marketer to learn to programming to be at par with the professional coders. It should definitely be left to those who are specialists and who know better than the marketers. In fact, professional coding requires a very different kind of skill set than marketers’. As a marketer, one needs to concentrate on the returns of the marketing campaigns and other strategies and it is best that the professional coding is left to the others. Every marketer need not become a technologist but should develop above average level of comfort with technology. Though marketers don’t need to build sites from the scratch, they need to understand how it works to take intelligent decisions.
Modern marketing, in the digital era, is no longer a discrete process but continuous. Speed is the key and with ever changing customer preferences and competition, it is of utmost importance. In order to keep up with the emerging trends marketers need to acquire newer skills to enable them function with accuracy and speed.
In an article published in McKinsey Quarterly ( Jonathan Gordon and Jesko Perrey ‘The Dawn of Marketing’s New Golden Age’, FEBRUARY 2015, pp 4), “One CEO believes it’s time to create a position—marketing technology officer (MTO)—that’s rooted both in technology and domain knowledge”.
IoT’s impact is already extending beyond its early and most visible applications. It can usher in changes in the business models. With IoT come significant changes in management activities and skills. IT will not remain as a support or staff services and will join with the line manager to oversee IoT which will be essential for the survival of the firm.  Managers would need new skills as they would require to be more analytical and be data driven. In such a scenario, computer knowledge will definitely play a vital role.