5 Reasons Hackers Would Make Great Digital Marketers

 In Marketing

“You, like an annoying penny, keep turning up. Everywhere I look, you’re there.” – Whiterose, Mr. Robot

If you’re a digital marketer, reading that quote just made you think about retargeting ads. They are EVERYWHERE. Pennies, pennies, and more pennies…everywhere. And if you haven’t watched Mr. Robot yet, now is the time. At home, we recently binge-watched the entire first season and that show definitely deserves all the buzz it gets. At one point, Elliot, the main character admits that he stalks everybody he knows, and it got me thinking about how the habits of hackers would actually make them fantastic digital marketers. OK, now you’re thinking, “THAT’s a leap,” and maybe you’re right, but let me explain. Here are five reasons why hackers would make some of the best digital marketers.


Yes, I realize that sounds creepy and in regards to hackers it is creepy. But the important fact remains, hackers understand who they are going after. They study those people or entities and strategize on the best way to reach them. In digital marketing, it is imperative to understand your target markets and how to best communicate with them. If you are selling bicycles, you want to advertise to bicycle riders. That’s pretty clear cut, but by understanding your audience further you can tailor advertising down to much more specific targets. For example, advertising triathlon bikes to triathletes, pink kids bikes to young girls, beach cruisers to people who live within two miles of the beach, and so on.


Hackers don’t just do things on a whim or without a plan. If they did, they’d get caught. The stakes are high. So hackers plan, they know their end goal, and they know the steps to get there. These days, digital marketing also has high stakes. It’s a competitive marketplace with all sorts of resources to show ROI and accountability. Digital Marketers need to start each effort with clear end goals, actionable milestones, and a plan of execution. Here we use a Digital Marketing Playbook (I’m a die-hard football fan, in case you didn’t already know that), which has an overall plan of action in a rolling 90-day format. We visit the playbook often to ensure we are on track and analyze if any adjustments need to be made. Sometimes things have to be a game-time decision, but we don’t go into anything without a game plan and goals to measure against.


Because things change so quickly, hackers need to stay up to date on the latest security and programming methods. If they don’t, it could mean failure or even worse jail time. Maybe the stakes aren’t as high in marketing (surely, no digital marketer is going to jail for not knowing the latest in Google standard), but not being up to date can still be disastrous. For example, a recent client had a marketing intern that was posting content using images they simply found on Google, without any regard to licensing. This can cause huge legal expenses and fines for a business, outside of a lot of lost time in managing that process. Or as many businesses have experienced in SEO, old tactics that once were popular and “successful” can actually get your site banned when Google releases an update. Having a digital marketing team that stays up to date on the latest tools and techniques is a must.


Security is an ever-changing environment, so hackers must adapt quickly and understand that the environment will always be evolving. Too many digital marketers get stuck in the rut of what they know or how things used to be done. In just a few years or even months, things can change drastically. While we used to be limited in types of targeting, these days digital marketing can be very granular. Websites can even deliver personalized content in context to each visitor these. As all the technological advancements come about, digital marketers need to adapt and adjust their strategies accordingly.


Who remembers Zero Cool or Crash and Burn? Please tell me that I wasn’t the only kid obsessed with the movie Hackers. Anyway, hackers are commonly known to leave their alias, some graffiti, or another mark on their work. Now we’ve even got hacker groups that have their own YouTube Channels or social media accounts. But when they are on a mission to spread a message or make a point, they do it loud and proud. Great digital marketers focus on getting the right message across to the right people, and they make it memorable. It’s often easy to get views or impressions, but conversions and impact take special talent.

Admittedly, I cannot envision a character like Elliot from Mr. Robot joining a bustling team of loud, type A creatives, mostly because the man doesn’t sputter more than three words at a time. But with the qualities that hackers possess, they could be an awesome addition to a digital marketing team. It comes down to knowing your target, having clear goals, using best practices, staying up to date, adapting to change, and getting the message across. That makes a hacker a success and a digital marketer a success.


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