When a design engineers with 10+ experience decide to indulge in technical marketing and evntually in techno-commercial marketing, the said user experience is very satisfactory. As products are becoming more complex, previous design experience is a must. If not, there is will little to tlak to customer during meetings.
Marketing is quite a fascinating field if you like talking and socializing. Of course Marketing is one of the important department of an organization just like design and development or production. Today's times need everyone to have little bit of marketing skill in them in order to excel in their work.
Unfortunately many people think that marketing is all about socializing. But there's plenty of solo work sorting through numbers, analyzing endless data, and pouring through competative literature. Parts of marketing is also about networking to gain competitive intelligence. Then there is the brand marketing where there appears to be glad handing and parties. Even this discipline is harder than it looks.
Redardless of the marketing fidcipline, hard science is joining the softer science of behavioral psychology.
I believe that some recent articles here, e.g. the one on supposed modulation breakthrough, you can see why marketing gets a bad reputation in engineering circles. I understand what the goals of marketing are. It's just that to achieve those goals, aggressive marketers, often without the technical knowledge they should have, let's say "misrepresent the truth," unwittingly many times.
@Bert22306 " ... to achieve those goals, aggressive marketers, often without the technical knowledge they should have, let's say "misrepresent the truth," unwittingly many times." That about encapsulates the issue a lot of the time. BUT, I look at the situation as a management failure coupled with people who have the technical knowlesge failing to stnad up for the facts.
Usually there are disappointed customers, but the hard failures are legendary. Take the case of a solid rocket booster o-ring. Engineers warned that the temperature was too cold to launch. Management over-rode the decision and the results are history.
In my first company after I completed my engineering, I was pushed to marketing. I worked for a while and knew that it was not for me. When I went to customers, I had no confidence, much less knowledge about the product/application I was going to sell. Secondly, I felt my competitor's product was much superior and had a bad feeling in my mind that how I would convince the customer, when I, myself was not convinced. Eventually I was desperate to change my career as I felt it was not for me. In the last 13 years I was into design & development. I was comfortable, but also learned that without a marketing/sales person selling the product I designed, I would not have survived. And I believe most of the engineers have an entrepreneurial dream and in order to full feel that, getting into the marketing skills is essential. That is why I find this discussion very useful.
I can think of two scenarios a marketing person faces: (1) Selling somebody else's product (2) Selling the product, which he/she thinks of his/her own. In the second case, it is a bit easy, isn't it? Because the person might has done good amount of research already. In the first case if it is possible to partner with the team, who is actually engineering the product much early from the conceptual phase, the feeling of "own"-ness would help the person in selling the product. I guess partnership between engineering & marketing during the complete product/project lifecycle is the key & win-win for both.
@Sanjib: Perhaps marketing is very fascinating and intricate thing. It is always not superior product that sales. There many other facets in product marketing. Most time I like to be uderdog with product but take challenge and sale make those product pretty popular among engineering group.
@Sanjib.A Learning what you do well, and liking it, is key to a happy career. As engineers, it's vital to understand what the other disciplines in a company contriute to success (or lack of it).
In my experience, the best products come out of groups that are well integrated and each values the contributions of the others. That doesn't mean giving in to pressure when you are certain that the team is going the wrong way.
Few people are "right" even 50% of the time, so engineers need to recognize that sometimes they aren't right. But major differences over technical content really needs to be hammered out. Differences in opinion rooted in facts means that someone doesn't understand, the facts are wrong, or they don't apply. Coming to technical agreement is key, presenting it is another matter.
Peter F. Drucker once commented "The job of business is to create a market." He was quite right,
Revenue comes from outside the enterprise. Companies get revenue when customers buy the products it makes, and engineer's salaries are paid out of that revenue, To generate revenue, companies must make products people want to buy. Understanding who the customer is and what products they need is the essense of marketing.
Marketing and sales are often conflated, but they aren't the same thing. You can't sell it until you have it, and if you don't understand what your market wants, you can't sell it even if you do have it, because it doesn't do what the customers want.
Engineers are designing and building products people will use, If you're an engineer, you don't exist in a vacuum. If nothing else, you need to understand how people will use your products, and how they must be designed and built so customers can use them effectively.
Engineers tend not to be good at sales, but I recommend some time spent in the trenches with the customers, seeing how they use the products you design, so you can do a better job of design, How many have tried to use a particular product in the course of their job as an engineer, and said "This is supposed to be a tool I can use! Didn't they talk to people like me about what we do and how we do it before they released this? This tool doesn't help, it gets in my way!"
You don't want to be an engineer whose products get that sort of comment...
@DMcCunney Drucker was in intersting lecturer (and consultant) who had a tremendous impact on me early in my engineering career.
There's plenty of ways to go worng in product development. But, there are even more ways to get it wrong from the specification to a product, and then from the product to the way in which the product is marketed and sold. Others have commented about misunderstanding products by marketing and that's certainly one way to "get it wrong" in the bigger picture of business.
Marketing is often caught in a quandry: over promise and the sales folks can get slammed by unhappy customers, leave out describing a feature in the literature and you lose prospects, and underpromise too much and people won't give the product a second look.
From my perspective, the worst case is when a good product intended to serve a specific purpose is mis-marketed and sold so that customers are unhappy with the product. Imagine a left twist drill bit being presented as being super sharp but neglecting to tell customers it's a left handed drill bit. If all the customer has is a right handed drill, the left handed bit is worse than useless.
As you imply, the whole business team must work in concert to achieve success. And it takes some sophistication from all to determine the myriad of details needed to achieve sucess.
@Henry: Marketing is often caught in a quandry: over promise and the sales folks can get slammed by unhappy customers, leave out describing a feature in the literature and you lose prospects, and underpromise too much and people won't give the product a second look.
I used to work for a small systems house, and saw that. I had several conversations with the owner syying "Next time, pass the proposal by me so I can tell you whether we can do it before you get the customer to to sign the contract." (I also had conversations like "Pick one or two standard configurations and sell those, so a sale is simply another instance of what we've already done, You keep changing the specs so each sale is a unique installation. I'm tired of the first time I see something being when I need to make it work on the customer's site.")
From my perspective, the worst case is when a good product intended to serve a specific purpose is mis-marketed and sold so that customers are unhappy with the product.
The systems house I mentioned resold AT&T gear, back when AT&T was in the computer business. One system we resold was the AT&T UNIX-PC. (I still own, and love with a passion, the bigger 3B1 sibling.) AT&T was trying to position it as a competitor to the IBM PC. It couldn't. It used a different architecture, had different use cases, and while it could do much of what was done with a PC, a PC did it better and cheaper.
AT&T was a classic case of an engineering company designing and producing products first, then trying to figure out what might be done with them.
There are many facets to marketing and many different jobs under it. There are marketers who just deal with promotions, those who do market research, and those who are more product managers.
As an editor covering test and measurement, I've been dealing with marketing people for years. Most of the people I deal with who are inmarketing started as engineers. They know their products in depth, well, deep enough to deal with customers and editor, anyway.
The promotions people feel that the product is irrelevant, they just promote beit through advertising, social media, etc. I'm convinced that these types of marketers have given us "4G" when the real 4G is just starting to roll out. See The Real 4G takes a Step Forward.
We editors have had to become promotinal marketers of a sort. We must promote evertyhing we post, mostly through social media. Just look around LinkedIn or twitter and you''ll see.
@MeasurementBlues It's intersting how so m any of us have been coopted into markeitng functions.
You're right about the number of sub-specialities in marketing. But it's interesting to me the resistance that some companies have to adopting some of the more enlightened ways of doing business.
Editors have a particularly "interesting" time of it because writing is now about much more than producing an outstanding article. It's also about how the article gets promoted and how readers respond. Of course, dealing with supplier marketing has always been with the profession, but i have to nadmit that there has been a not-too-subtle change in how companies deal with the press.
Yes, whether it be IEEE, MIT, Cambridge, Edinburgh or Glasgow etc.
There is a whole bunch of new and original publication, but perhaps 5%-10% of regurgitated stuff as well. I am blind in one eye and suspect the RHS rear brain has the function of a repository, troublesome as well.
As for recycling, design for 25 years or 250000 hours. And KISS if appropriate.
I could rant and rave about wind or wave, and looking out the South window a few minutes ago all the windmills are parked and feathered due to the wind (~40mph to 60mph). Thorium, Thorium, Thorium!!!
And give me SnPb 63/37 any day! Maybe toxic on limestone, but not elsewhere - the soil fixes the lead and tin. Stuff the lowest conmen European denominator.