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expanding on the idea killer: the marketing manager October 2, 2009

Posted by That Guy in A Stunning Example of Synergy, Management, Observations, Pictures, Seen Elsewhere.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This is the third post in the “idea killer” series, based upon three images I posted on September 28.

I’ve spoken at length about how there are final hurdles — people whose job it is to find the flaw in the plan, that one sticking point that’s going to take your carefully-constructed project and make you redo all of it, usually at the very last minute. That person is most often the marketing manager.


Marketing managers, unfortunately, perform a very vital task at any company: it’s the marketing manager’s job to figure out if something is marketable at all, and if so, how that will be done. They’re generally operating on reduced budgets and with too-few people, and they’re trying to do everything and satisfy everyone:

  • Big Bosses. The Big Boss wants to see everything he already knows. He doesn’t want it to be new. He wants magazine ads, television spots, radio jingles, the works. Oh, and billboards. Lots of those.
  • Webmasters. Anyone who’s come up through the web world knows that it’s the web where brands are built these days — blogs, robust websites, mobile apps, and so on. Marketing on the web generally costs less, but it’s harder to do because you have to know where and when the right place and time are to make your buys. Webmasters know this stuff, but unfortunately marketing managers don’t know enough and don’t listen to them. Instead, when it comes to online, they listen to…
  • The Marketing Team. These guys (and girls) are the absolute worst. They’re bucking for their own positions as marketing managers; they want to show that they have a reason for drawing a paycheck. So they point to their favorite buzzwords: social networking. They’ll put a disproportionate amount of time and effort into Twitter and Facebook — or, worse, force the webmaster to develop a local social media application that lives inside the walled garden and doesn’t play well with others. Then they’ll call it a success when someone fans the product on Facebook. Because, you know, that’s the best place to spend your marketing dollars.
  • Interns. They’re there to prove they’ve got what it takes, and interns — who are still in college and are still part of that vital network of college kids with disposable income who will buy your product no matter how crappy it is. So they promise to energize their awesome group of local young people to hawk the product. It’s basically building viral marketing, which is good in theory, but interns don’t know how to do it. No one does — it happens completely by accident, and usually too late to capitalize upon.

Y’know who’s not there? The person who built the product or service or offering. That person won’t be lucky enough to be involved in the marketing efforts, but he or she damn well better make all the changes marketing wants made or else.

This is why people don’t come up with new ideas anymore: they’re tired of their ideas getting bogged down in committee, which is really a horrible feeling. Now, if you’re lucky, the marketing department will only make cosmetic changes — in a full site redesign I did a few years ago, all they did was add big chunky graphics to my nice, clean layout — but that luck doesn’t come around more than once a year. If that.

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1. Frank Scurley - October 15, 2009

I dont know If I said it already but …Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, :)

…..Frank Scurley

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