How A Hackathon Improves A Marketer’s Tech Skills

Hackathon principles may be less common these days, but coming together can enhance how you learn domain skills and work with others.

Pierre DeBois


This was my group for the 2016 AT&T Hackathon in Indianapolis IN

We hear the phrase Mar-Tech in webinars and see it in posts every day. But how does a marketer gain an appreciation for Mar-Tech, especially when the training budget for any marketer has been exhausted for the year?

One way is through participating in a hackathon. I should know — I participated in one, the AT&T Hackathon in April 2016. Through it, I learned how hackathons offer valuable education time that rivals the best-paid training sessions or boot camps.

Now given that the world has been under a pandemic for 2 years, a hackathon may seem a bit out of reach. But 2023 is more promising as people grow more comfortable in gathering and as people learn to leverage online communities. Joining a gathering where technical learning is unleashed is a value for marketers of any skill level.

What A Hackathon Is Like

A little background about the AT&T Hackathon: It was a 24-hour affair hosted at Launch Fishers in Fishers, an affluent suburb of Indianapolis. Launch Fishers had been in operation for a few years, and expanded that year to accommodate more entrepreneurs and startups.

The challenge for participants was to address a civic challenge, outlined by civic and business mentors. The goal was to build creative tech solutions that could help lawmakers, law enforcement, and emergency service providers better understand and solve Indiana’s heroin and methamphetamine problems. The State Police Drug Lab and Marion County Emergency Services provided data related to the civic needs and services mentioned in the opening presentations, but participants were free to use data from many sources.

I cover two main benefits in this CMSWire post on the hackathon — you can read my experience there. Many of the lessons apply to developing a coherent customer experience.

So what else makes a hackathon so valuable for marketers?

Hackathons nourish an environment where you can ask questions and experiment with solutions without…



Pierre DeBois

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