Dept X Consulting

What is a digital marketing engineer, and why do you need one?

With the UK being the biggest digital advertising market in Europe and one of the UK’s fastest growing industries, the digital marketing engineer’s role has never been more important.

They are problem solvers that help marketing teams automate tasks and ensure quality of output. Their skill set allows them to work cross-team and many organisations will hire digital marketing engineers internally. However, smaller organisations may find it cost efficient to consult part time.

A digital marketing engineer will ultimately help marketing teams to:

  1. Effectively set up and integrate their technology stack.
  2. Improve workflow and optimisation automation.
  3. Improve reporting automation and visualisation.
  4. Analyse AI and Big Data outputs.

All of the above drives resource efficiency, increased speed of execution, superior execution and ultimately better real world performance.

What makes a good digital marketing engineer?

A digital marketing engineer combines their knowledge of data engineering with that of the marketing industry. Their engineering skill set will allow them to code and write scripts that automate tasks, as well as enable them to manipulate data and work with enterprise software. They will also have a high level of marketing understanding and be able to advise on digital strategy. Meaning they will have good insight into the latest innovations and emerging tech, such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things.

Finally, they are responsible for the deployment of the digital architecture, which they will develop, implement and maintain. Their outputs should lead to an increase in sales as well as reduced overheads.

Evidence of their importance:

  • 45% of current paid activities can be automated by today’s technology, an equivalent of $2 trillion in total annual wages in the US alone (McKinsey, 2015).
  • Office workers globally spend 69 days a year on administrative tasks, costing companies $5 trillion a year (Unit4, 2017).
  • 1,500 executives across all industries and regions were surveyed and 66% responded that “addressing potential skills gaps related to automation/digitization was a top-ten priority (McKinsey, 2018).
  • 40% of marketing and sales teams say that machine learning and data science-based AI will be a crucial part of their future strategies (Dresner Advisory Services, 2019).

In order to achieve these goals, they employ a varied skill set which can include:

Building on the 4 points previously raised, below are some worked examples of what a digital marketing engineer could bring to your organisation:

Technology setup

  • Auditing, fixing, installing and documenting the setup of technology vendors’ core code to ensure reliable results
  • Ensuring that different technology systems are correctly aligned and integrated. Minimising the impact of match rates between systems
  • Highlighting any gaps or risks in the setup. For example gaps down to the loss of cookies or changes in mobile advertiser ID behaviour

If you’re a new company looking to serve ads on your website but are unsure of the process and costs involved. A digital marketing engineer would be able install Revive Adserver on your website domain allowing you to serve ads (banner, video etc) and generate revenue.

Workflow and optimisation automation

  • Optimisation automation. Custom algorithms and APIs that are able to automate common optimisation tasks across display, paid social and paid search.
  • Creative automation. Automating the process of creative approvals, testing, naming conventions and trafficking.
  • Adword scripts automate common tasks in Adwords such as keyword (and negative) building, time targeting, split testing and disabling out of stock items.

Account Managers may find that they are spending a lot of time doing repetitive tasks on a daily basis, taking away from work that could add more value. A digital media engineer would be able to run adword scripts to automate tasks including budget, bid management, inventory and alerts

​Report automation and visualisation

  • Utilising reporting API tools to bring together different systems into a unified reporting setup.
  • Understanding discrepancies between systems and validating results for business confidence in outputs.
  • Automating end of campaign reports and business intelligence dashboards.

Many marketing teams want to extract daily campaign delivery metrics to track daily spend, total spend against budget etc. This can be a manual process where individuals have to download csv or excel reports. A digital media engineer can use reporting API tools that will automate and schedule this task. They can then use this data to create real-time dashboards that show campaign delivery as well as end of campaign reports.

Artificial Intelligence and Big Data

  • Run AI analysis against your event level data set to gain powerful insights into users and data. Unlocking the power of AI for advertisers.
  • Translating results from AI into marketing actions via integrations back into platforms and optimisation processes.
  • Using AI and Big data to customise reporting and optimisation to the specific needs of the business.

If you run an ecommerce business but are not currently adopting AI principles, a digital marketing engineer will be able to help set these up to run against your data. This can unlock powerful visitor segmentation, turbo charge personalisation, highlight hot products or localised spikes in demand and so much more. Such actionable insights can be like a super power for progressive companies.

Where do I find a digital marketing engineer?

Digital marketing engineering is what makes the difference between a good and a great setup. Automating tasks ensures maximum resource efficiency and doing more with less. Superior usage of data leads to better measurement and clearer understanding for strategic decisions. AI and machine learning result in faster and superior optimisation.

Whether you are hiring internally or using organisations such as Canton for specialist expertise on a contract basis digital marketing engineers should be at the top of any businesses list of new hires in 2020.

Ross Herron, technology consultant, Canton Marketing Solutions

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