Show Me Some Marketing Science

This post was written by John White on Tue, 31 Aug 2010 05:28:42 +0000
Posted Under: marketing manager,relationship with engineering,subject matter experts

How do your co-workers view Marketing? Do they understand what you do, and why it isn’t Sales? Show them some science.

Show the science in MarketingLeon Sterling of Compelling Concepts wrote last week about the blurred (or missing) distinction between Marketing and Sales in the minds of most people in a given organization.

True, Marketing is strategy and Sales is execution, but even that nuance is lost on, say, a draftsman or a QA lead or the bloke who runs the warehouse. Many of these people think that the main difference between Marketing and Sales is that Marketing lies and Sales lies even more.

I spend a lot of time with software engineers, and my rapport with them is important.

  • Why? Because I need to get information out of their heads and into marketing content.
  • Do they care what it’s for? No.
  • Why not? Because they don’t realize that I need to feed the strategy (Marketing) beast so that the company can have some execution (Sales).
  • Would it be better if they cared? Yes, I think so.
  • Why? It’s possible to show these people that their contributions to Marketing can help move the Sales needle. That will resonate with some of them, and they will participate more actively.
  • What should we do? I’m glad you asked.

Show them the marketing science

Consider that the reason that your co-workers don’t honor your work is that they don’t see the science in it.

You’re a marketing manager; do you feel the science in what you do? Is your organization helping you to promote that science?

You know what I mean by “science”: the data you collect that helps you justify your marketing spend.

Try starting conversations with your co-workers and subject matter experts with sentences like these:

  • “81 percent of physicians online visit sites with content expressly for health care professionals. These physicians are our target market, and that’s why I need your expertise to help me develop the pieces we’re going to place there.” (Marketing metrics)
  • “We get about 12 percent conversion based on the keyword ‘IT service management’ and over 22 percent conversion based on ‘service catalog.’ That’s why I want to interview you on customer requirements for the catalog.” (Web analytics)
  • “In April we posted once a week to our blog. In May and June we posted two or three times a week, and three new analysts started following us. These people are influential, and I need you to help me keep blogging good content so we can ride and support that influence.” (Content frequency)

You know the data are there. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t have a job. Savvy marketing managers realize that they can turn the data not only outward, to help the sales effort, but also inward, to evangelize their co-workers.

They have solid marketing data and they’re not afraid to use it.

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a marketing communications writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Marketing Communications Writer.”

photo credit: Rob Ireton

Many of them think that Marketing lies and Sales lies even more.

Reader Comments

This is so true. I live and work in China and over here, the concept of marketing is so much less developed than at home (the UK in my case). I tell people I work in marketing and they either grunt in an unconfident I’m-pretending-I-know-what-you’re-talking-about-but-I-really-have-no-idea, or the more plucky ones will say “oh yeah, advertising right” or “you meet the clients don’t you”. Time to memorize a few metrics as you suggest.

Written By Robert Derbyshire on September 1st, 2010 @ 17:35

Robert: Memorize _and_ publicize.

Written By John White on September 1st, 2010 @ 19:06

Excellent post. I’ve interviewed lots of marketing and sales people and one of the first questions I usually ask them is their definition of marketing or sales. Few answers come close to “strategy” and “execution.”

My favorite definitions: Marketing is about creating customers profitably. Sales is about meeting customers’ needs.

Written By Dan Hamon on September 4th, 2010 @ 16:24

Well said, Dan. Why don’t more executives think like you? My life would be so much easier. So would yours!

Written By John White on September 4th, 2010 @ 17:47

I like Dan’s definitions too!

In my Utopian moments I resort to skimming through Ricardo Semler’s book, “Maverick”, and imagine all those “silos” that CEOs often speaking internally about breaking down, have indeed crumbled to dust and been replaced by pride and enthusiasm for both individual and group success…

Back in the real world, I occasionally tell my clients (or those about to be!), “I’m your new business development manager’s secret weapon”. That assertion can lead to interesting discussions as to what sales and marketing are all about, where does the writer add value, the who/what/why of new (and existing) business development etc. Lovely stuff!

Written By Mark McClure on September 4th, 2010 @ 20:46

>new business development manager’s secret weapon

/Very/ good positioning, Mark.

Written By John White on September 5th, 2010 @ 10:09