Marketing has a bad rap; the name “Marketing” in fact has negative connotations, especially among technical audiences. This has a variety of reasons – many of them deserved – which I won’t be discussing right now.
“Marketing” may well be equated with advertising, collateral and tradeshows, or, perhaps the marketing babe. Overall, it’s too narrowly and shallowly considered, and often suffers from a lack of respect within the world I inhabit, enterprise software. In fact, there are times when, simply due to my title, VP of Marketing, that I can’t be involved with a given activity. For example, recently, our New York sales rep needed someone to visit a prospect, to help move things along. I was actually already planning to be in New York at the same time, but the sales rep’s comment was “sorry, this prospect doesn’t want a marketing discussion” (insert sneering tone).
Part of this is justifiable, where customers and salespeople have interacted with too many content-free marketing people. And part is likely due to the fact that the most visible part of marketing is also the least interesting, basic blocking and tackling – creating collateral, executing trade shows, and operating the website. These are important, but in many ways secondary to (and dependent upon) the creation of compelling messaging & positioning, for which Marketing should also be responsible.
In any case, as a result I’ve half-seriously considered changing my title (and Department name) to something like “Market Analysis”, or “Marketing and Messaging”. My goal for this blog (and, in many ways, in my job) is to, in whatever small way I can, elevate Marketing, by showing that it can be smart, analytical, and relevant.
Why? Clearly, a lot of them stems from my technical, analytical background as a software engineer, and my experiences as a product manager. In fact, over the years as I’ve grown into a broader role, my mentors have often had to push me out of my comfort zone (technical discussions) and into the less concrete areas of business value. However, as I’ve explored and experienced marketing, and seen it well-executed by some amazing mentors from whom I’ve learned a ton, I’ve grown to respect the field, and become determined to demonstrate how it can be done well
Make a suggestion for an alternate name for “Marketing” !