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October 20, 2006

Geek Marketing 101

MarketingHistory.jpg

I found a great blog entry that explains technology marketing. Here are the first three elements of this top-ten list:

  1. Marketing is not a department. Marketing is a combination of elements that creates the environment in which it is possible to meet a customer need (starting right back at product development). Promotion and sales are just sub-sets of marketing.

  2. Marketing is a conversation, but most people don’t speak geek. Successful technology marketing must translate the creations of the uncommunicative into the needs of the untechnical. Spin is not good marketing. Lucid two-way communication is.

  3. Simplicity does not negate complexity. Reductive marketing that simplifies ideas does not undersell your complex creation. It facilitates an entree to your world. You can’t have passionate users until they start using.

Truer words have never been spoken. The rest of the top-ten list is here.


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Comments

These are great points, especially about the idea of marketing as dialog. It is surprising how widely held are the alternative views, that great products will sell themselves, or that people should be made to understand the technology.

Especially in Silicon Valley.

For example, at a panel session with some great disruptive innovators held by Business 2.0 magazine in San Francisco, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington declared "Marketing is dead."

The view is widely held but it is plainly foolish. Here are some details on why:

http://www.ondisruption.com/my_weblog/2006/11/marketing_is_de_1.html

As a techie being asked to do more marketing.. I appreciate you pointing me to this resource.

From one of my speeches, John: "When a brand is likened to Mr. Potatohead, the result is a toy whose superficial appearance is easily disfigured by anyone."

Daniel et all, one of the roots for the word communication is commercium (Lat.) or exchange between people. The meaning of communication is the response it elicits, not the intention. And it involves a certain degree of permission.

Conversation is a space where relationships are managed. These relationships may be sudden and invisible to many -- relationships between people, problems, solutions, processes, objects, and all of these and many more together. When attention and authenticity accompany the message we shorten the distance in these relationships as we create something new.

My definition of new marketplace is = conversation. Where content producers/creators and audiences/publics come together for the exchange of value, intrinsic or monetary. Marketers should be conversationalists and, yes Morgan, being facilitators means also being skilled at helping people make connections, which is how our consciouness expands. Connections and connectivity is essentially what we are.

Marketers cannot control outcomes, but they surely can "embed the creation of the product/service with everything that sourrounds its delivery," as John put it, and contribute to generate the conversation.

The pedantry of definition is something to be avoided (there's enough clouding jargon used in marketing circles without us descending into the morass of deconstructivism) but I wll always stick to my belief that marketing is all about conversations, be they internal or external, real or imagined. Moreover, I would argue that in "facilitating the exchanges" one is directing the conversation by dictating its starting point. And rightly so.

That said, I fully agree with Morgan's point that one can't and shouldn't try to control the conversation. Indeed, I'm surprised by his interpretation of my branding pieces.

The central tenet of my passive branding thought-piece was that true brand values have nothing to do with active advertising but are imbued within the creation of the product/service and everything that surrounds its delivery.

My whole problem with "branding" and its bastard child "rebranding" is that it is all too often an advertising-led "paint-job". The sort of hype that gets marketing a bad name.

Marketing or anything else will always be about communication...one thing I heard my whole life that still rings true is that "conversation rules the nation!"

Without conversating/communicating in an effective manner how can anything possibly get done?

"I do not agree, marketing is vast, and some parts of it are certainly based upon conversations."

While marketing involves communication--after cultivating an environment in which messages between stakeholders can be effectively transacted--communication is neither marketing nor the focus of marketing.

Marketing traditionalists like to think they have some sort of control over the conversation. Whether this attitude is due to boardroom influences or delusions of grandeur, the reality is that marketers are simply another voice in the marketplace with no more control over the exchange of messages than any other stakeholder.

The message is not magical. The magic happens in the exchange of messages--in the interaction between people. It is the role of the marketer to facilitate that exchange and provide for that interaction.

"False. For the same reason that designers are not communicators, marketers are not conversationalists."

I do not agree, marketing is vast, and some parts of it are certainly based upon conversations. Then of course it depends on how broad or narrow you define a conversation.

1. True. Marketing is not a department; however, Peter F. Drucker was wrong in one respect. Marketing should be approached as the only function of business under which everything from accounting to innovation to manufacturing supports.

2. False. For the same reason that designers are not communicators, marketers are not conversationalists. Marketing is not a conversation. Marketing develops the environment in which communication between and with stakeholders occurs. Unfortunately, people don't like to admit they lost the control they never had, and so many people will steadfastly refuse this proposition.

4. Don't think of what a product does or how a product works. Think of the value the customer derives from use of the product. Think of the problems that customers solve through use of the product. That's why convergent devices are often dismal failures. They don't solve anybody's problems!

The author John Dodds also wrote two articles called "The Branding Myth" and "Passive Branding" in which he lambasts branding as some sort of fancy. His presentation is neither persuasive nor indicative of expertise. He apparently thinks branding is deeply involved with advertising. How wrong he is...

Guy - thank you. That's why I am taking marketing and communications to where it should go, the conversation. If you and any of your guests are so inclined, I have been tackling the conversation at conversationagent.com.

Nice list. This is important information for true geeks actually. I think sometimes the tech heads see all marketing as "spin".

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