Sorry, Not Sorry – A Reminder To All Fellow Digital Marketers

Stop Saying Sorry – You Are A Technical Marketer from Rosie watts

Over a carb and beer-fuelled team evening out in late 2017, I reached out to the team and said I really wanted to start a female-focused event in Brum. To my surprise, this was welcomed and the whole team instantly got behind the idea. It took a while for us to truly get the wheels turning but with the help of two amazing co-workers and an MD who gave us free range, ‘Girl Code’ was born. Interestingly, ‘Brummie Babes’ was outed pretty quickly. Shame.

Naturally, I couldn’t suggest a digital event and then not take to the stage and share my perspective. This was fine though as I had a burning issue, an elephant in the room that sits with me on a daily basis, that quite frankly, I wanted to vent about.

Why Am I asking People To Stop Apologising? 

Apologising is engrained into us from a very early age, you do something wrong, you put it right. Unless you are perfect (unlikely), apologies are a necessary part of life. The two words are very powerful.

I’m a chronic apologiser.

I started my talk by showing some examples of how many times I had apologised in the run-up to the event (a lot). So why do we do it? Saying sorry releases us of some guilt as well as our endless need to be self-effacing. But much like chocolate, too much ‘my bad’ is in fact, very bad.

The Problem 

Digital professionals are apologising for not being ‘a technical marketer’ in meetings, presentations and online. I do it. I am guilty of this very crime. However, I’d like that think that I am aware of it. If there is one thing I have learned it’s that I personally have to tell myself I can’t do something, have a go anyway, then once it’s been achieved I’ll accept that I can.


Why do we not have the confidence to say, I’m capable of that. 

The digital industry moves at a rapid pace, when you think you know one thing about the Facebook Pixel, you can think again come tomorrow. For me, a very important part of my talk and my whole point was running through my professional career so far (snore). I started out doing something quite different to my job now, there was no marketing degree or certificate to say I knew what I was doing, just a gut feeling.

The moral of the story being, that sometimes it’s really important to remind yourself of how far you have come, the skills you have gained and most importantly, your transferable skills. I hands down wouldn’t have been given my break into Digital Marketing had I not been able to convince the first agency I worked for of my transferable skills and ability to learn, fast. Let’s not forgot the willingness and trust of the MD, greatly appreciated.

Now I find myself in start-up agency, I never saw myself as somebody who likes a challenge, clearly not true. In a start-up there is little room for apologising, quite frankly, you have to crack on.

Please if you do one thing, empower yourself by reminding yourself of how skilled you really are. And how far you have come in your career.

Code Allergy 

I boiled the ‘i’m not a techie’ excuse down to something I called, code allergy. Because code is for nerds, not true.

There is a danger zone sat between the marketer and the coder, both sides daren’t approach each other in case faced with something remotely technical ( don’t think the coders aren’t thinking the same thing, I happen to date a coder and sometimes he goes cross-eyed when I talk about data.) So, what happens when the two come face-to-face? Both sides want to outsmart each other, obviously. We then end up with two highly skilled people talking in riddles to throw their ‘opponent off’. NOT USEFUL.

Bring the two together, give them time, encouragement, facts and the truth and you’ll get an understanding of what is possible. 

Do I think marketers should be able to build websites and fluently code? No. However, I do wholeheartedly believe that it is in our best interests to learn a little as and when our job requires us to. I promise you, you’ll only become that little bit better at what you do. How you explain and more importantly, what you can achieve with your marketing.

Restricting Ourselves 

This isn’t about putting extra pressure on yourself to become a jack of all trades, there is still huge importance in having your ‘niche’. This is about deciding what is a ‘nice to have skill’ and a ‘must have skill.’ If there is one bugbear in your job that keeps cropping up and you keep passing the buck, crush it. By allowing yourself that little bit of extra knowledge, you remove the stress from the situation. You are 100% capable of absorbing more information and putting it to good use.

You do not need your employer’s permission to make yourself more of an expert and explore different realms of the industry.

Essentially, as marketers, although sitting in our own silos, whether it be SEO, PPC or PR we are all trying to achieve the same thing. Better the online presence of the brands we support. Can we really turn a blind eye to one and say, ‘that’s not me, I don’t need to know about that’?

There are hundreds of situations be it professional or personal where I have said ‘I can’t do that’, or ‘sorry that’s not my thing’ and now I do those things on a daily and monthly basis. I’m fairly confident this will be true for you too.

So, I ask that you dig deep and try to understand what element of your digital role is causing you to apologise, and no doubt, extra anxiety, and stress. Once you understand this, you are already on the road to turning this problem into something extremely useful.

Know that there is far more to being ‘technical’ than just programming skills.

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