Marketing to Nerds
There's no question I'm a pretty hardcore nerd. I'm not talking geek-lite - my love of facts, figures, science, and physics goes way beyond a smartphone addition or social media savvy.
I obtained an MS in Materials Engineering before spending my career in sales and marketing.
I'm fluent in both oscillators and Twitter, but lately very interested in how technology is shaping the future of marketing. Here's what I've found:
Marketing as defined by Webster’s is:
“Marketing (n) the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company's products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc.
A Full Definition of Marketing
1 a : the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market,
b : the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.
2 a: an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer."
There are lots of things that I notice about the definition of marketing, and while it is similar to how I would define it, there are some big differences.
First we will start with the things that I like about the above definition.
Marketing as defined by the first line, includes making sure that the products are available to be bought. I also think that this was supply chain and product development's responsibility.
In the Full Definition of marketing, I love that the definition involves selling.
So many times business people separate sales and marketing.
The truth is, while the two departments view the customer very differently, at the end of the day, a blend of both sales and marketing will help all your efforts pay off.
In the last definition there an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer.
Isn’t that what business is all about?
Unfortunately, businesses today are often based on an assembly line mentality where everyone is a specialist in their given job.
How can a business combine everyone's efforts for seamless interactions from beginning to end?
Where Technology Fits
The problem is, as technology evolves, the people who do it become very good at specializing their tasks.
Where technology struggles is with being able to see the big picture.
Now sure, technology has come a long way, but its foundations and how it gets done are totally different than the way the human mind works.
At its core technology is based on very simple principles that are then combined to accomplish complex tasks.
Most importantly technology helps reduce repetitive tasks.
Think of robotics. They can work doing welding in a very harsh environment and they can do it all day long with minimal downtime.
Likewise, robots can go in areas that are not safe for humans.
For example they are great for diffusing explosives, doing underwater and space exploration and the like. But all technology has its limits and weaknesses.
It has long been a goal of the technology community to replicate the way a human thinks.
There have been great strides inthis area, especially when you think of logical situations like computers beating humans at chess.
The problem here is that chess is a very well defined game with strict rules. While there are numerous moves, there are still a finite number of plays someone can make.
In areas of Marketing, there are no rules or boundaries.
Marketing isn't a Black Art Any Longer
Over the last several years, with the help of companies like HubSpot, we have been applying technology to marketing to be able to make marketing trackable. The black art is no longer such a gray area.
At the end of the day, tracking and analysis allow business to easily change their marketing efforts. If something is not effective businesses can make tweaks and move on.
This is where the challenge for a lot of businesses comes in.
First, we all put our heart and soul into our work.
People with creative mentalities are designing every piece of content and coming up with different ideas. Some work and some don't.
It's Okay to Fail
No one likes to fail.
Realizing that it is acceptable to fail is important; as long as you change it quickly to try something else.
Too many times employees and customers let their ego’s get in the way and don’t want to make changes.
This reminds me of a lesson I learned years ago about the stock market.
It is so simple to start and so hard to implement.
Let your winners run and cut your losses short.
When your stocks are performing, leave your investments there (obviously you can take some gains out as it grows).
Most importantly when you have chosen poorly get out as soon as possible.
What do most people do? They do just the opposite? They get a little ahead and sell to make their gains, and they hang on to their losers hoping that they will turn around waiting to get out when they get even.
In our culture we are trained to believe that failing is a bad thing. It is so ingrained that even when you know that it is okay, your anxiety still rises if you think you will fail.
One of my favorite books on the subject is Failing Forward. It shows you how to learn from your failures and how your failures actually make you a better person.
The same is true for marketing. We don’t want to fail, but since we know it is inevitable, it is best to do it quickly and make a change in direction so that we can move forward.
As creatives, we rely on our emotion to move us along in the marketing environment.
Technology has shown us that data can predict and formulate our decision-making process.
Statistics and numbers that show us how our content is doing take the black art out of marketing and allow us to make better choices on what we create, post and how to make changes for better results.image credit: victor habbick/freedigitalphotos.net