This article popped up a full-screen covering banner. Kind of makes the point. That kind of marketing actively makes me dislike you.
Also, as the article (hopefully) argues, "Marketing" encompasses a whole lot more than lead-gen and customer acquisition (two things pop-ups can help with).
all the popup does is confirm i was right to be leaving. its like letting the door hit me on the way out. also i accidentally trigger them while reading, and then sometimes leave.
If you have absolutely no interest in the product or service in the first place, then a pop-up is unlikely to change your mind. But if it's just that the deal wasn't good enough, this strategy can work.
There's a lot more to it than that.
I'll think about that.
Apple is an example of a product driven company. A really well marketed CreativeRiver is not an iPod, a really well marketed Motorola Razr is not an iPhone and I wouldn't substitute any Galaxy Tab device for an iPad.
Also, since Tim Cook (who is no ones idea of a marketing genius) took charge, Apple's stock price has more than doubled.
But so far, the products Apple has launched under his leadership haven't actually been all that well conceived.
V1 of the Apple Watch was a confusing mess that didn't have a real, concrete purpose or place in anyone's lives.
With v2, they stepped back and focused a bit (on the active/athletic market), but it's hardly a breakthrough device yet.
Meanwhile, the iPad is (so far) falling far short of its potential to revolutionize computing.
All of this could change. But for me, despite the stock price, the jury on the Era of Cook is still out.
The iPad takes a beating - somewhat unjustly - for failing to live up to the promises made of it by its marketing. Judged against almost any other product other than the iPhone, it's an enormous success. It created an entire product category, it sold more devices on its opening year than all previous sales of tablet sales combined. It captured an enterprise market that almost everyone said Apple would never be able to touch. It changed the behavior of the competition - BlackBerry, Google and Microsoft all rushed devices to market and Windows 8 was of course heavily inspired by the need to run well on touch devices.
A lot of the Surface book and ultrabook adverts have focused on more creative and sexy applications. I haven't seen one for a while that says 'Runs Powerpoint like a motherf*cker'
His keynote speeches "One More Thing..." were the pure essence of great showmanship.
An amazingly designed and engineered product, marketed brilliantly is the platonic idea. To be "insanely great," you usually need both.
For example, I am reasonably good at coding and ops. Therefore, most of the side projects I do are not constrained by coding or ops, but rather, e.g. my ability to design.
But given how the marketers at your company seem to be behaving, I understand your frustration.
But look at Steve Jobs: the ULTIMATE marketer if there ever was one. Or Mark Benioff, another brilliant marketer. Would you accuse them of skimming?
My experience has been that marketing in a 'normal' organisation is that they expend a lot of time and effort trying to sell a product that's just not that good or innovative. I think that's where the whole 'lipstick on a pig' analogy comes into play, and also where people's inherent distrust for anyone in marketing/advertising stems from.
Marketing has taken ad networks and ad to sale attribution, and turned it into "we are going to sell all our customer's data and every click so marketing can claim revenue."
We don't sell or auction off our data because that would not be in the interest of our customers. Admittedly it can be confusing for sales reps from companies who want to put ads on our site when I explain why we wouldn't sell out our customers like that, so we are probably not the norm.
As a marketer it is frustrating when things are done that harm the reputation of the profession just as i imagine many engineers hate bad actors who write malware or people who write basic CRUD apps, talk it up, and give the impression that software engineering is overly simple.
Beyond that, sounds like you're blaming sales & marketing for customers not being willing to pay for your code.
Ever thought that just maybe the issue is your code?
But this is exactly what the author highlighted in the article and Suster in his tweet.
It's hard to find people who don't suck at it.
Perhaps I failed, but I tried to make it clear that the foundation of great marketing IS building a product the market needs...because doing that well usually means knowing what the market needs in the first place.
Knowing what a market needs and understanding those needs all the way through is exactly what I mean by "marketing."
Once you understand the substance of that argument, the ideas that Google Wave failed because of bad marketing and that building a product that the market doesn't want IS bad marketing make a lot more sense.
Not really true. Have a look at "A diamond is forever". De Beers literally created a market with marketing.
I'd argue that much of the time, the distrust of marketing becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
Marketing does a bad job at highlighting what it can provide to the business, and thinking strategically about what it can achieve.
This leads to resourcing conversations largely focusing on 'we need someone to write one or two blog posts' - meaning that marketing in startups is often staffed by 2-3 people.
These 2-3 people are then burdened with keeping the entire marketing machine for the company (blog posts, website updates, organizing trade show stands, PPC, SEO, whatever the CEO feels like doing this week).
Surprise - much of the work ends up being crap. Poorly executed and overly broad PPC campaigns to badly optimized landing pages that burn money. Piecemeal SEO efforts that damage brand visibility. A lack of co ordinated PR that rewards 'coverage' over strategic outcomes. Thin 'me too' blog posts that don't add anything new to the conversation. Webinars where more than 70% of people are inactive after the first ten minutes because of poor storytelling.
And then, the OP wants to sell us a 'framework' that is going to fix it! Sorry - I don't buy it. The ability to sort 'leads into buckets', content marketing, nurture marketing and other tactics like that are definitely useful - but only steps that can be taken if the rest of the puzzle is in place.
For one thing, the subtitle of my post says "In which the tech industry's stigma against marketing creates a SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY that leaves a trail of failed products, fire sales, and wasted years in its wake."
There is also a big header that says "Our anti-marketing bias has created a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Not quite sure how you missed both of those.
Also, the entire point of the article (and the framework I'm promoting) is that building the right marketing foundation is one of the major keys to getting "the rest of the puzzle in place."
The core of the framework itself has nothing to do with sorting leads into buckets, content marketing, nurture marketing, etc.
It is about building the right foundations. It is about solving the puzzle. It is about getting to the center of the Maze.
But perhaps "The Maze is not meant for you."
CMOs can expect to make top top money. Most of the big problems that businesses face and that CEO's prioritize have their roots in marketing. In recent years at large enterprises the CMO has begun to challenge the CIO for who runs IT overall.
On the whole though, those marketing staff do a poor job of communicating what they can achieve to the business. Some of this is because they're old school campaign marketers who simply don't understand what is possible. Some of it is because they lack the technical ability to successfully implement cross channel marketing. So they fall back on what they know - which is a slick website and the same tired content marketing tricks everyone else is using.
It isn't Silicon Valley's distrust of marketing that is causing campaigns to be poorly executed - it's that when asked, marketing fails to present a strategic vision for what could be achieved.
It's hard to judge what your framework does - and what you quantify as building the right foundations - as this post is just a laundry list of stuff you don't like.
I think I made it clear that it's a case of "Yes, and..." not "either/or"
The bias is not the only source of the problem. As you point out correctly, the marketing staff falls short, too.
The real problem I define is the never-ending feedback loop between Silicon Valley's bias against marketing and the relatively low quality of marketers in the talent pool that results.
Hard to say whether the chicken or the egg came first, but it doesn't really matter.
As for the framework vs the "laundry list of stuff" I don't like...
This is just the opening salvo. IMHO, great marketing and great products often (not always) arise from a deep understanding of and insight into big unsolved problems, unmet needs, and unfulfilled desires.
This post is my articulation of a very big unsolved problem and all of its consequences.
More on the solution soon.
There are many people that seem to think marketing is the sophisticated way to say advertising, and it makes nuanced discussions difficult.
The comments here seem to highlight the very same misunderstandings in this article. Marketing is not advertising (which is just a small subset of distributing a message). Many ads are badly done, mostly because the ad industry is setup for cheap volume and has work incentives that perpetuate this (although it is slowly changing).
Telling a story, understanding your market and creating customers is the primary purpose of marketing. Read any of several good books on this and you will have the biggest key to success.
The most original product person in tech's history was also one of it's most brilliant marketing and sales people.
I'm talking, of course, of Steve Jobs.
This marketing is marketing to marketers.
I was hoping to bridge the divide and help technical people understand that their distaste and distrust of marketing hurts them more than anyone else.
Please help me understand how I fell short.
Customer experience and technical debt concerns always take a backseat to marketing in ecommerce. Marketing is, by far, the primary dictator of priority in this industry.
However, Amazon seems to have found a pretty great balance here.
Ergo, the valley respects marketing.
The fact that Apple is great at marketing and super-profitable doesn't equate to the Valley respecting marketing. Not at all.
Apple is one of the exceptions that proves the rule.
Competitive advantage: get a marketer you respect, and get marketing that doesn't suck.
I'm sure the designers here have all had the following experience at some point:
- designer: I'm a designer at x company.
- other person: Oh, so you make pretty pictures in Photoshop?
- designer: Urghh......
There are similar public misunderstandings about what good marketing is, and what it does. Because of this, they get brought in at the wrong stage of the process, where there's little scope for them to add value. Take talented designers, for example. Ideally, they're part of the product development team from day 1, working side-by-side with devs.
In addition to product improvements that occur when you use 'good design' practices, a good designer will take early concepts and product prototypes, at various stages of development, define appropriate metrics to measure 'goodness', and then test these pre-release bits of work on a representative sample of your target market.
And I don't mean just focus group studies, I'm including other methods too. For example, 1 on 1 'intense observation' type studies, to see how people interact with your product, what they find confusing, unintuitive, annoying etc. Observation, not asking (people lie, people post-rationalise etc.) These insights are then brought back to the product development team and addressed in future development cycles, resulting in a better final product.
If you don't understand this, you will bring designers in after the product is done and you want someone to make a 'nice website' for launch.
Past-Apple and current-Apple are great case-studies here. Past-Apple was a fanatically design-led company who understood design in the more useful sense of the word: it's not about making things pretty, it's about making your product meet the needs and preferences of your target market (one of which might be 'prettiness'). Jobs, I believe, was designer at heart. Current-Apple seems to have forgotten all this, and reverted to the more typical 'good design is pretty things' approach. I won't get in to the results, as I think HN is already well acquainted (going off the recent hand-wringing over the new Macbook Pro).
Although some developers can successfully moonlight as designers, by-and-large developers are terrible designers. Not only do they fall in to the same trap that everyone else does (designing the product for themselves, instead of the people they intend to sell the product to), but because they are highly-skilled technical people, what may seem completely intuitive to them is almost always unintuitive to the non-technical general public, thus compounding the first problem. And you end up with a brilliant technical piece of work that is unusable and unsellable
So, on marketing. Just as people mistake design for 'making things pretty', I believe they also mistake marketing as 'spreading the word after the product is bedded down'. If anything, the skills of good marketers are best employed before product development begins. A lot of this work will revolve around market data acquisition and quantitative analysis. In a sense, they're like 'strategic designers': instead of telling you your target market will find your product hard to use (and here's how to fix it), they'll tell you which market is the richest target (giving you a starting point for your product design), or that you shouldn't be developing your product at all (as there's no market for it).
Good marketing is not solely (nor primarily) concerned with persuading as many people as possible to buy your product, given a fixed product and pre-selected market. I mean, yes marketers (even mediocre ones) can polish a turd, but at the end of the day it's still just a shiny turd. It's trite, but good products are easier to market than bad ones are. Stealing from 'The West Wing': "Bad marketing wasn't the reason people didn't buy new coke; they didn't buy it because they didn't like new coke". It was a product, which I'm sure had lots of clever technical work put in to it, that had no market to sell in to.
I suppose the challenge is dealing with the high signal-to-noise ratio. There are many more shitty marketers out there than there are good ones. The shitty ones don't actually do marketing (they're salesmen, who do sales). I think a key part of this is understanding what marketing is, and how it can be used to maximum effect.
tl;dr: When people understand the true function of 'design', it can be used to great effect. The same applies to marketing, which is a remarkably similar discipline.