Real techies would be offended by my suggestion that I’m a techie (because I’m really not), but I’d like to become one. As a marketer today, I really have to become one. And I’m kind of enjoying my journey!
In undergrad–the mid-90s for me–and through my first seven years or so in the “real world,” I didn’t come across much technology. Aside from using a PC or Mac (didn’t know the difference until later!) for word processing and basic spreadsheeting, or playing Sega, I never dealt much with anything I’d consider technical. It was big news when I got a cell phone in 1998 or so, and I clearly remember our help desk guy at work suggesting I open a Yahoo account for personal e-mailing, because each and every e-mail sent or received through my work e-mail was read and manually approved by a compliance officer. Manually approved!
The Internet didn’t make much of an impact on me until about 1999, when my roommate and I would “Google” the names of guys we thought were cute (come on, don’t we all do this?). In a professional setting, my marketing communications team at work never even talked about websites or even web content, which is hard to believe. In 2001, when I started the marketing communications job that really launched my career, so to speak, most everything we did was print-based. We even used a slide projector to show presentations. Slide projector! Our designer worked with what I considered “technical stuff” to do her work, but it wasn’t until a few years later that search engine optimization, social media, e-mail marketing, online leads, e-commerce and other such concepts entered my everyday consciousness.
I attended grad-school from 2003-2006, so naturally a huge part of the program took place online. I even took some online courses! By 2007, I was personally involved with a massive website redesign at work, in which the heavy-hitting conversations about marketing and technology began. I started talking to programmers–they really do speak another language!–and became better acquainted with people in my IT department. (I went on to marry an IT guy, incidentally.)
SEO, SEM, content management systems, CSS, HTML, tweeting–terms like these and many, many more became part of my lexicon. Arguably, this happened about 10 years late compared to many of my counterparts, but that’s because I was never very interested in what happened behind the pretty webpages. To me, marketing was always writing, creating, coming up with ideas, communicating, selling…and it all took place on a piece of paper or within Microsoft Office. Hooking up a laptop to a projector was a feat!
Needless to say, I’m climbing a steep learning curve. It’s fun, though, and I’ve gotten lots of support. I’m doing some writing assignments for two different tech clients–and I really enjoy the subject matter. In working with potential clients for my marketing consulting business, I’m learning more than I ever thought I’d learn about web development and social media. I truly believe that for businesses (including mine) to be successful, they must have a fully-integrated web marketing plan–and the more I can learn about the back-end, the better.
And my daughter? Well, she plays with cords and remote controls, and watches her mommy work/play on her iPhone and laptop every day. Plus, technology is in her blood–daddy is an IT guy and mommy is becoming one, too.