- Andrew Kos
- Bill Burlein
- Bryan Williams
- Christian Vozar
- Jeff Brown
- John Kraus
- Joseph Mak
- Mark Daugherty
- Matt Van Bergen
- Melissa Geoffrion
- Michael Kang
- Michael Chan
- Michael Hodgdon
- Mike Motherway
- Molly McDaniel
- Nadia Maciulis
- Pat McLoughlin
- Paul Michelotti
- Puru Hemnani
- Rohit Srinath
- Ryan Lunka
- Tom Kelly
Good Developers Don’t Need a Translator
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I was inspired this week by a great article by Allison Mooney in Ad Age on why ad agencies need to think like software companies. She states, “Agencies need to recognize that this digital and mobile literacy is essential to their survival,” and I couldn’t agree with her more.
As a fellow marketer, I speak Mooney’s language, but as someone who works at a technology company, I perhaps have a fuller understanding of both sides of this coin. There are a few of her statements I’d like to comment on from this perspective.
Mooney explains the new role appearing in some companies of “creative developer.” According to the article, these are marketing people with a more technical mindset who can “act as translators” between developers and brand and marketing managers.
I am sure there are instances where such hybrid roles are useful, but this seems to underestimate the role of developers, at least good developers. Creative types and developers shouldn’t have to always work through a “translator.” Good developers, like the ones I work with every day at CITYTECH, get it. They can see the big picture. Technology is not their only language.
It’s for this reason I am skeptical that any in-house technical team can keep up with growing demands of marketing on technology. “These hybrid employees that can bring digital know-how to Madison Avenue should not be hard for companies to find,” Mooney states. It’s one thing to understand the technology concepts behind apps, but quite another to successfully execute an innovative end-product.
Mooney does not suggest that all agencies can handle the full technical scope of app development projects in-house. I would argue that very few agencies can or should take on sophisticated development projects. Effort and money can be saved by working with experienced developers. Having an understanding of tech is great, but ad agencies shouldn’t short-change the incredible skill that good developers bring to the table – and their ability to translate for themselves.
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