Why Every Company Should Have a Marketing-Focused Webdev Team

Ask any marketing consultant focused on inbound channels (SEO, social media, conversion rate optimization, email, etc.) what the most challenging part of their job is and 75%+ will say: “working with the engineering team.”

This should come as no surprise. Engineering and webdev resources are, along with web marketers, the biggest scarcest and hardest to hire for web-based businesses. We need to build stuff faster and we need to reach more people. If you want the time of the engineering team, you need to wait in line, and marketing projects often get last billing on lengthy to-do lists, not just because of prioritization by management, but because it’s often not what software engineers signed up to work on.

Thankfully, there’s a solution.

Casey and Devin from Moz’s web engineering team

A specific engineering/webdev team (even if it’s just one person) devoted to the marketing functions of the website has some of the highest ROI you’ll ever encounter in the business world. If you build an exclusive function dedicated to this practice, everything you do to attract and retain customers will improve, and all those projects you know you should have invested in will get the time they deserve.

Don’t be fooled. This is not a team that just builds pretty pages and optimizes for search engines & social interaction (though they do that, too). The list of tasks and projects for the web engineering team at Moz (consisting of Casey & Devin above) includes:

  • Managing the CRM, customer tracking, and revenue platforms
  • Speed, uptime, and cross-browser/device friendliness of the site
  • Big content efforts and the tools to make this possible for marketers to accomplish on their own
  • The CMS – and all the elements that go with that
  • A/B and multivariate testing systems
  • User accounts & account management
  • Email setup, subscriptions, and deliverability
  • And a lot more (including all the SEO, social, and content stuff, too)

Basically, if it touches the parts of the website where customers interact (excluding the product if you’re in the web software business), it’s the responsibility of our web engineering crew, and they are miracle workers.  New landing pages? Check. Better tracking of customer product usage? Check. Responsive design for email newsletters? Coming soon 🙂

Casey’s hiring three more people for this team right now. Here’s what he sent me about the roles:

  • The Person
    • A PHP dev who can work on the backend of our blog but also make the front end look pretty.
    • We are looking for someone who is excited about fixing things that need fixing.
    • Someone who sees something broken or in need of repair and fixes it.
    • Understand CakePHP and knows the ins and outs of MVC frameworks.
    • Love to make things fast and optimize everything.
  • The Team
    • A growing team of 2 that is looking to improve their skills together
    • Final team of 5+ Devs, 1 SDET, and 1 PM
    • Room to grow and work on new upcoming projects for SEOmoz
    • Working with Marketing, Operations, Design, and Help
  • The Work
    • Content management system
    • User authentication
    • Account creation and billing
    • Subscriptions and other metrics
    • Rand’s Blog & Mozcast
    • SEOmoz Community projects
    • Email designs and delivery

This is one of the most agile, directly impacting roles at the company, and because of that, once you build a team or devote a person to this function, you’ll be addicted. Every marketing or customer-focused action you want to take will have a reality of getting done without the frustration of needing resources that are A) busy with other projects and B) weren’t hired to work on web development for marketing purposes.

I strongly recommend that #1) If you know anyone in Seattle who might fit these roles, please refer them (we’ll relocate, too!) and #2) You get a marketing-focused webdev team at your company ASAP. Your customers, your marketers, your engineers, and your bottom line will thank you.