Why Every Marketer Should Learn JavaScript

Why should you learn Javascript as a marketer?

If you are on your way to get deeper in the technical marketing field, this might be a question that you already came up with.

In this weekly episode, we invited Mike Arnesen who’s the owner of upbuild.io, a boutique marketing agency that helps its clients with technical marketing, such as SEO, CRO and analytics.

We took our chance and asked Javascript related questions that might be relevant for Techmarketers.

Questions in the video:

1:27 Why is Javascript so important to learn as a marketer?
4:19 What are the implications on talking to developers and communicating with your clients?
7:07 What are use cases of Javascript in your work?

Links mentioned in the video:

Full length video: https://techmarketer.io/mikearnesen
Mike’s Website: http://www.mikearnesen.com
Mike on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mike_arnesen
Upbuild: http://www.upbuild.io
“Two years of Upbuild” Blogpost: http://bit.ly/2sSNs4B
AppScript: https://developers.google.com/apps-script/
Google AdWords Script: https://developers.google.com/adwords/scripts/
Google Tag Manager: https://www.google.com/analytics/tag-manager/
Google Analytics: https://www.google.com/analytics/

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GTM Resource Guide: https://measureschool.com/guide
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In this video, Mike and I are gonna talk about why every marketer should learn JavaScript. On more, coming up right after this. Hi there, and welcome to another video of measureschool.com, where we teach you the data-driven way of digital marketing. My name is Julian, and on this channel, we do marketing tech reviews, tutorials and the occasional interview just like this one. So if you haven’t yet, consider subscribing. Now, this week I had the chance to talk to Mike Arnesen, he runs upbuild.io, a boutique marketing agency that actually helps people out with technical marketing specifically. So they do SEO, CRO and analytics as well. Now, if you wanna find out more about upbuild.io, head over to their website and their blog where they also have some great tips on newest marketing tech, tips and tricks on how to do a little bit more of the technical things in digital marketing. But in this interview, I talk specifically with Mike about his technical skillset and why he thinks that marketers should definitely learn JavaScript if they want to become a technical marketer. Now, we’ve got lots to cover, so let’s dive in. Let’s talk about the topic we wanted to talk about today, why marketers should learn JavaScript. So could you give us a first take of why do you think JavaScript is so important to learn as a marketer?

– Yeah, I think we talked about understanding the underlying principles of how things work on the web. Like it or not, JavaScript is the leading backbone of a lot of the technologies we experience today. So web sites are increasingly more reliant on JavaScript. Some sites are almost completely built in JavaScript, if you’re talking about like a Node site or an Angular.js site. That’s so JavaScript heavy and understanding that is so helpful. Google Tag Manager, that is, at its core, it’s an abstraction of JavaScript. You need to understand JavaScript to understand how GTM works, and yeah, they make it really usable and friendly for someone who doesn’t have that background, but understanding that will make the lock click in your head to just be like, oh, wow, here’s this hidden power of it, and it just really expands on you very quickly once you understand like, oh, if I understand more about JavaScript, this really just becomes something hugely powerful. And then, of course, SEO. SEO is ensuring that a computer program can experience your site the same way that a user does. So if a user is seeing a site that’s just very complex with JavaScript, there’s a lot going on, there’s a lot of interactivity. You need to be able to understand why or why not is that going to transfer over to a program, so it’s like, because Google’s getting pretty good at rendering JavaScript and processing it. But the other search engines are not that far along. Google still has, I think, my general belief about Google is Google likes to think they’re a couple years ahead of where they actually are in terms of, they’re like oh yeah, don’t worry about your site, it’s great, we’ll parse all the JavaScript and process it. Tends to actually not be the case most of the time. So you still need to understand like okay, here’s where we’re running into roadblocks, here’s why that’s happening, and maybe here’s where we can solve them. And I think by understanding JavaScript, you get to solve SEO problems, analytics problems, and be more conversant with your development partners and the people you’re working with every day.

– So yeah, just to add to that, I would say that there are a lot of use cases, there’s even the PPC use cases in order to write AdWords scripts. There is, if you do any kind of CRO implementations of A/B testing–

– Absolutely.

– There are so many fields of the marketing that JavaScript touches. Obviously, you should know a little bit of the backbone as well like HTML and CSS, but JavaScript is the meta skill that basically renders everything, it’s the superpower that renders everything useless in that regard. So let us talk a little bit more about the communication part, so once you become proficient at JavaScript, what do you think are the implications on talking to developers and communicating maybe also with your clients?

– Yeah, I mean, for me personally and the people on my team, it’s been, I kinda had a pretty okay familiarity with JavaScript, but really in the past two years, I’ve really made an intentional effort to ramp up what I know and adapt to my knowledge, so I’m taking like, every couple weeks I’ll hop into a course at Codecademy and learn more about like hey, why is Angular 2 different, what’s going on there. Or like TypeScript and stuff like that. Having a baseline understanding of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, stuff like that, I understood enough of okay, here’s why accessibility and content rendering is really important for SEO. But I was always like, well, this is like SEO best practice. Everybody should make sure their site renders, of course, obviously. So when I ran into a site that was built on Angular or React or Node or anything like that, and it didn’t render with that JavaScript, I would kinda get annoyed ’cause I’m like, how did these people not know that, of course, they should totally do it. But once I dug deeper and understood more complex topics around, like let’s continue with the Angular example. So taking three courses in Codecademy with Angular 2. And you know, like other JSON technologies, like Ruby, for that matter, just like seeing the similarities there. It suddenly clicked and I was like, I know why developers have chosen to do this now. It makes sense, it’s totally powerful to be able to dynamically pull stuff in client side and kinda build out experiences on the fly and not put everything at a unique URL that needs to load up, query a server side database and bring in the information, it can be kinda slow. The benefits became very clear. And at an interpersonal level, that made it so much easier to be able to come to development partners from a place of empathy and be like hey, I totally get why this is awesome. Angular actually is cool. Unfortunately, there’s a little bit of workaround we’re gonna have to figure out because here’s X, Y and X about the reality of SEO today, so let’s just figure out a happy middle ground, instead of coming at it from like, hey, this site sucks, it needs to change because search engines can’t get at it. You can come from a different approach once you understand it more and speak in their terms and convey that same passion about the cool technologies. It’s super super helpful for building relationships and getting problems solved together.

– Absolutely. What are some use cases for you and the work that you have done with JavaScript? Yeah, what are some use cases where you used it on clients’ projects, for example?

– Yeah. Here’s a cool example that we, I mean, I guess that involves pretty much everything. We work with a lot of, maybe we don’t work with a lot of clients that have a lot of layers, but we work with a couple bigger organizations that have a lot of different divisions. So we work with a non-profit, they do medical research and so we worked the fundraising arm. And they really needed to basically have a popup on their site that was going to ask people to donate. They were gonna have a big campaign, and they had essentially run out of budget with their developer. And the developer didn’t have a lot of time either, so even if they had the budget, it might not have happened. And they were like, “Well, we wish “we could have this popup come up on our site “that’s going to ask people like donate, “drive them to our donation page.” And we were like hey, let’s take a crack at that. So what we ended up doing, so essentially, no one involved on our side or with our client’s direct contact could really access the code base of the site. So if we wanted to like upload the file, it’s not gonna happen. If we want to change content, it was not gonna happen. So we got actually a file in Adobe InDesign, and they were like, “Hey, this is what “we want this to look like.” So we actually went to, we just used Codepen to mock up what this code is gonna look like, we

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