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What Does a Marketing Engineer Do?

If you’ve never worked in a WebOps environment, even the term “marketing engineer” might seem foreign. Is this an engineer or a marketer? 

Ideally, it’s actually both. Marketing engineers are engineers and need to manage the engineering aspects of marketing campaigns. But they are also marketers. The success (or failure) of their projects is judged based on leads and conversions, not story points or defect ratios. Here’s what work actually looks like for a marketing engineer. 

Focused on Marketing

At the highest level, a marketing engineer is there to support the efforts of marketing teams. He or she serves two roles: 

  • To execute marketing ideas or campaigns that require technical skills

  • To advise the rest of the marketing team on how technology can be used to move the needle on marketing goals

While it’s tempting to think of marketing engineers as engineers who execute the marketing team’s vision, that should only be half of the equation. Marketing engineers should also have a seat at the table. When they execute a marketing campaign, they should have been involved at every step of the process, from planning and KPI identification through execution, measurement, A/B testing and iterations based on how well the project meets marketing—rather than technical—goals.

What does this mean, specifically?

Let’s get a little more concrete about what a marketing engineer might spend his or her time doing. It includes: 

  • Building and/or maintaining the company website

  • Building out email campaigns

  • Working with operations teams to get data

  • Running analytics on marketing data

  • Setting up website tracking and get marketing-related data via Google Tag Manager

  • Any quick debugging of marketing-related assets, especially the website or anything customer-facing

Those are the ‘technical’ tasks a marketing engineer might have to handle over the course of his or her day. But there are also higher-level tasks, ones that are harder to test and measure and generally come from experience, not a certificate or degree program. Such as: 

  • Acting as a liaison and translator between marketing teams and engineering teams

  • Knowing who in the organization to ask when marketing can’t get a project done internally

  • Coming up with content for campaigns and/or serving as a technical reviewer for published content

  • Keeping all the marketing assets on the most up-to-date technology

  • Participating in discussions about marketing strategy, particularly to provide a technology perspective and make suggestions for how technology can be used to meet marketing goals. 

The first section is something that nearly all engineers would find simple. But a marketing engineer needs to work on a more strategic level than most engineers are comfortable with. Crucially, this person is on the marketing team, not the engineering team. A true marketing engineer isn’t just asked to determine whether a project is technically feasible or not, but to use his or her creative mind to think of novel ways that technology might be leveraged to meet the marketing goals. 

Why You Need a Marketing Engineer

Let’s be honest: It’s not easy to find marketing engineers. Sometimes, in fact, it’s easier to train one internally than to hire one. So what’s the advantage? 

There’s no getting around the fact that marketing teams need someone with technical skills to help them with everything from updating the website to coding out email campaigns. In many companies, this is done by borrowing an engineer from the product team on a one-off basis. 

Temporarily borrowing an engineer ignores the benefits of having a dedicated team member, one who is always available for marketing projects and does not have any competing priorities. The dedicated team member also better understands what marketers do and how his or her role fits in. He or she is able to be a partner, not just a lackey who carries out the marketing team’s ideas. 

Marketing teams that include a marketing engineer are able to be more agile, in the true sense of the word. They can adapt more quickly, test and iterate faster and make better use of technology. Marketing engineers can lead the transition in a company to a WebOps culture where cross-functional teams are the norm.

Pantheon makes it easier for marketing engineers to focus on business results. Learn more by scheduling a demo now. 

Topics Agencies, Development, WebOps

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