Online Marketing

Obson’s latest commission is a completely new departure — to upgrade an existing online marketing setup. The client’s current setup works satisfactorily, but they want to move up a level. This means all the marketing paraphernalia of upsells, downsells, leadmagnets, and funnels. But what makes it something of a challenge is that none of this has much to do with programming.

The online marketing field is highly developed. There are many feature-rich packages that focus on different parts of the process. They are mostly very aware of each other and can communicate behind the scenes using API keys to establish the users’ credentials. There is also a significant amount of overlap between the functionalities of the different packages.

The task is in two parts: (1) to take the client’s requirements and map them onto the functionality of the chosen packages (the client having already decided which packages they were most comfortable with), and (2) to plug the packages together to deliver the required behaviour.

It’s an interesting exercise. The striking thing about it is how little help traditional programming expertise is! The forensic skill of homing in on the logic until you can see where it goes wrong, and fixing it by changing the code, is not directly transferable. It’s more a question of intuiting what the package developers mean — when, for example, clicking on a bit of text allow you to replace a default dialog by a URL to your own improved version. And guessing what information the different, and apparently independently produced, packages have about each other. In short, the sort of thing a software developer would write himself or herself.

But having done that, the job is relatively straightforward. OK, it’s still a multi-dimensional conceptual jigsaw, but not too complicated. It’s an interesting departure, all the same!