Six Great Lies App Developers Tell Online Marketing Managers

1 January 2012
Six Great Lies App Developers Tell Online Marketing Managers

Online marketing managers put a lot of trust and faith in those who make it possible to do business online. Without web applications, there would be nothing online to market save for the plethora of awful affiliate marketing scams that clog the Interwebs these days. Many marketing campaigns start off with grandiose promises of instant wealth which often fail. Why? Because sometimes web app developers tell little white lies that online marketing managers blindly trust. What are these lies?

Lie #1- I Don't Know Anything About Marketing

Perhaps the biggest lie told by web app developers is that they tell marketing managers that they don’t know anything about marketing. While this may be true on the face of it, developers often think that marketing isn’t that hard, certainly not any more difficult than the complex work they are doing.

Since developers design and implement their apps to reach a certain audience, they think marketing is something they can just “build in” to their app and they tell marketing managers that all the promotion functions they need are built right in. But how would they know?

Lie #2 – It's Easier to Start From Scratch

When marketing comes up with the next big idea for their online strategy, they want it implemented quickly and as cheap as possible. To make this happen, a web app developer will sometimes tell marketing that it will be easier to start from scratch rather than try and retrofit new features in an existing web app. It might be quicker but it is rarely cheaper.

This lie is merely a façade to mask the fact that the current app wasn’t written in a way that is easily extendable and the developer doesn’t want management to know about it. Instead, the developer will say that if they build it from scratch, it will use the latest technology so future changes will be much easier. However this is usually just an excuse to play with the latest and greatest development tools.

Lie #3 – Features for No Reason

When a marketing manager asks why there are certain features in their new product that weren’t on the feature list, a developer tells an innocent lie that since our competition has it, so must we. I’m just looking out for you guys long-term he says.

What he really means is that he can’t understand why marketing didn’t come up with these extra features during their competitive research. Because he is smarter than a marketing manager, he feels the need to right this wrong and put in the features anyway.

Lie #4 – The App Will Handle Huge Traffic

Every online marketing campaign has one goal in mind: drive traffic to the website and once they are there, funnel them down the desired path and make them into a customer. A successful campaign can tax even the most scalable infrastructure so designing an app to hold up is paramount.

Asking a developer if their app will handle the predicted traffic spike is like asking your wife if the pants she is wearing make her butt look big. Of course you are going to say no, else reap the wrath. And so it is true for a developer. He will say of course my app will hold up. I spent a lot of time designing it for just that reason. Chances are that little consideration was given to how scalable the app really is.

Lie #5 – My App Works in Every Browser

Online marketing managers want to reach the widest audience possible and therefore their web application must be compatible with the broadest range of web browsers that is feasible. The look, feel and speed should be the same for every user experience regardless of browser version.

When asked by marketing what browsers are supported, often a web developer will respond by saying something like all those that matter. This is a catch-all lie that really means they don’t really know since they haven’t tested on all browsers. Every developer has their favorite browser and is biased toward its capabilities. As such, it is the version that is recommended and others are merely broken.

Lie #6 – We Don't Need Documentation

Before going live with a website, online marketing managers should be trained on the web apps they intend to promote so they have an inkling of what their customers will see. Usually with a training guide or basic documentation will suffice but often it never gets written.

Documentation is the bane of all web developers. They hate doing it and think it’s a waste of time. They will say that the code is well documented and that if anyone needs to know how something works, they will show you how. In reality, no documentation exists, especially a training guide. While not typically a developer’s job, training docs can only be written effectively if a developer works with marketing from the beginning.


While developers tell little white lies typically to justify the presence of a bug or the absence of some feature or function, they are likely not being malicious or intentionally deceiving. They are probably just framing the lie to online marketing managers so they gain their confidence. As with any lie, white or otherwise, they always comes back to haunt you. But in this case it’s the customer that eventually suffers.

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