Aviation Marketing: Learning to Love HTML Code

Learning HTML code is more about attitude than aptitude.

Learning HTML code is more about attitude than aptitude.

Learning HTML code is about attitude, not aptitude.

Digital ad spending in North America is projected to top $51 billion in 2014. This figure does not take into account the additional spending for digital inbound marketing for websites, emails, landing pages, and newsletters. Now, almost every marketing channel relies on HTML code (Hyper Text Markup Language) to deliver the marketing message.

Why then do so many marketing practitioners shy away from learning the language of HTML code?

Digital native or digital immigrant?

There are two ways to answer this question — by date of birth or digital attitude.

Digital natives were born after the introduction of digital technology. For the natives, there has always been broadband, Facebook, Hulu and Twitter.

Digital immigrants were born before the introduction of digital technology. Immigrants were brought up on radio, television, newspapers, and magazines.

To stay relevant, marketers need to embrace digital technology in order to assimilate into the digital native world.

Learn the language of HTML code through online tutorials

One site I found helpful is Codecademy.com. Codecademy.com offers tutorials in learning several web development languages through self-paced online lessons.

As mentioned above, learning HTML code is more about attitude than aptitude. Starting with basic HTML tags <html></html>, you follow a progression of steps learning how specific tags control the display of photos, links, and text. As you progress through HTML code and your comfort level increases, you are introduced to cascading style sheets (CSS). CSS language lets you control specific page sections of HTML code, streamlining the coding process.

Knowledge of HTML code and CSS enhances templates

A lot of inbound digital marketing relies on the use of templates for blogs, newsletters, and websites. For all the ease templates provide – page format, color selection, text edit – they can be limiting when it comes to adding additional effects and features. Looking “under the hood” at the HTML and CSS code determines how the page will display and if the HTML code is robust enough to portray the page across multiple platforms in a consistent manner. One advantage of being able to identify and change code is the ability to customize the template so it becomes unique to your brand.

Small HTML code changes provide consistent design across browsers and operating systems

Not long ago I delved into my own newsletter code. It had been a while since I’d looked under the hood and it quickly became apparent that the original template HTML code was not as robust as it needed to be for displaying across generational versions of Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer.

Inserting new HTML code, fixing missing code, and deleting redundant code cleaned up the problem for consistent email and browser display.

The right attitude and HTML code training will insure that you’ll get a consistent, quality product that will support brand presence across ever-increasing digital networks and platforms.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Inbound marketing essentials

Why aviation marketers struggle with digital marketing integration

Is your website attracting customers or sending them away

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Why aviation marketers struggle with digital marketing integration

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Successful digital marketing requires a different mindset

Aviation marketers are creatures of habit. When challenged with the myriad of digital marketing strategies and tactics available, they go back to what they know and are comfortable with – interruption-based marketing led by print advertising with media placement in trade publications.

Repeated studies in the aviation and related industry segment peg digital marketing spending between 10 – 15% of the annual marketing expenditure. In 2008, this was considered discretionary marketing spending as companies experimented with digital advertising, social media, and analytics. Today, with Apple heading toward 50 billion app downloads, you would have thought the light bulb would have clicked on somewhere in the executive suite that digital marketing is here and it’s getting bigger.

Changing the way you think

In the advertising world, digital has cut a disruptive swath through advertising agencies. Yet I still hear agency principals talk about digital agencies and digital departments. Are aviation marketers to blame when their agency partners have not integrated digital thinking into everything they do for aviation clients?

Instead of creating ads for magazine placement, shouldn’t both client and agency be thinking about complementing brand building marketing with digital tactics that provide on demand information that encourages engagement and extends the relationship?

Measuring marketing effectiveness

One of the reasons why 80% of the marketing budget is still going towards traditional advertising venues is the area of wiggle room and accountability.

Brand building ROI metrics play well for those who are not digital natives or converted digital immigrants. As long as the profitability numbers keep increasing, marketing’s influence will consist of mostly presentations at board meetings.

With digital, everything is measurable. Yes, it can involve a lot of data crunching and discussion of where in the digital marketing landscape the convergence of digital tactics influenced a purchase.  But this does provide a correlation between investment and return, providing a smaller area for marketing wiggle room.

Understand the customer’s expectations and brand experience

Apple’s closing on 50 billion app downloads should be a beacon of the future for what “on demand” marketing will look like for aviation industry. The technology is here, and the platforms are your smart phone, tablet, and laptop. The challenge aviation marketers will face is tooling their marketing organization with digital natives and immigrants.  The natives will come from the bottom up, and the immigrants will rise based on the fear of being left behind. These two groups will teach others to think in digital terms and provide guidance on how to create a seamless brand experience in real time.