Marketing today has evolved, from simple advertising and distribution to much more complex function. From a few data points, which needed a lot of intuition to be interpreted, it has come to a point, where you need cloud and big data technologies to store and analyse the data.
From simple human interaction, it now includes analyzing data patterns, solving problems, discovering and applying models to get maximum Return on Marketing Investment. It now includes a lot of science along with art. Besides that, Marketing is the art of connecting with customers, a lot of customers, at the same time. When you run marketing campaigns, ideally, you connect with a lot of customers, on individual basis. This is practically daunting, if not impossible, using just outlook, spreadsheets and the likes. Enter Marketing Automation. You need to build automated solutions, that reach out to customers, individually, automatically!
Automation is the problem that engineers love to solve. They are coached to solve problems in their school and colleges. Here are few reasons why engineers would perform well in marketing role.
Engineers are great at problem solving. They are build and trained to solve problems. They look for what’s broken, what’s not working, find the problems and then go solve that problem. A marketeer needs to find out, why the campaigns are not delivering, where do you need to improve in your outbound approach, what’s not working and fix that. Engineers are good with that.
Right approach to problem solving:
Engineers spend their time in college learning the methods and varied approaches to solve the problems and tools needed for that. They focus much more on learning the method and not just memorizing and that is because, there isn’t always one right answer in engineering. This is same in marketing. There isn’t only just one right way to approach the situation. There are many possible solutions, each with its own merit. It takes a person with this kind of attitude to approach a new problem with a method (or perhaps a model ) and then have the confidence, to see where this method leads, make course corrections on the way, without knowing the final result or destination.
This is one thing that is changing most in Marketing. As compared to pre-digital era, the amount of data and the granularity of data, now available with marketing, is Huge. You have very high level of details about every visit on your every page, and that’s just to start with, very basic, rudimentary data. The data is so huge that more often than not, you need Big data, to store and analyse this. You need people who are comfortable with numbers, with maths and with large data sets. It can be mundane and boring. That’s why you need people who love playing with data. People who can analyse this data to find patterns, to find insights, to find what your customer is telling you through this vast pool of data. Engineers love data and numbers. They work with Mathematics, complex formulas, large data sets throughout their education. This is what they are trained to do. That’s why many data scientist work in marketing.
The products out there today are fairly complex. Buying decisions are made by multiple people, who speak different languages. Sellers need to talk the business language for decision makers, the technical language for product users. CXO is interested in business gains, the revenue increase or savings your product is going to give them. The IT team or users are interested in how to implement and integrate your product with their existing infrastructure and its technical capability. It definitely makes a difference when you answer a technical question, on the spot, instead of saying, let me get back to you with my technical team. Engineers with their technical background are comfortable talking technology. Engineering degree gains instant respect with customers. It gives them confidence that they can share their problems in the language they speak and it will be understood. This skill makes one a key player in alignment of marketing and sales and gain instant rapport and trust with customer.
Marketing uses a lot of technology. And it is much more complex than simple spreadsheets and automated emails. There are around 2000 marketing technology vendors. This number is only increasing. There is variety of complex software to be used even for analysis. Couple it with huge data that you might have generated and the task requires a skilled technocrat, not only to work with technology but even to select one. It’s a daunting task to vet the options out there and select a best one for you. After selecting, you need to configure, adapt, integrate and deploy this technology. A technocrat is best to understand and translate what you want it to do and what it can do.
Feet on Ground:
Marketing is no longer about just having a cool sexy idea and throwing money at it. Everyone is counting the money spent on marketing, calculating the ROI. The coolest, sexy idea may not be the best. Engineers are fundamentally pragmatic. They look at multiple angles before making decisions. They look for risks. They create mitigation plans for that risk. They create check points when moving ahead with a plan and evaluate performance with objectives, at instilling confidence in spending money on the plan. This is an almost essential skill today, when the marketing budgets are being slashed and expectations on ROI is higher than ever. We need marketeers who can take a cool idea, break it down and make it a high performing idea.
Marketing is still about connecting with the customer, understanding customer and creating his interest in our product. There is still a lot of art in marketing. But with ever increasing science and data to understand the customer, technical skills are becoming essential for marketing. People who can work with lot of data, do lot of dry analysis, and often to come up with a sexy outcome can be extremely successful with modern day marketing. Engineers inherently come with the skill set that can make a difference in the way marketing ever worked.