Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Solution Looking for a Problem, part 3

That brings me to my first point. So called “Technology Marketers” run ads with no idea why they are running ads. They have no problem in mind they want to fix. They simply want to run an ad because it is exciting (remember what I said about technology marketers being engineers who think marketing sounds like fun). That is a poor use of money. Ads are a solution to specific problems and if you have no problem you want to fix, you should not run an ad.

For the sister organization I mentioned in part 1, they wanted to increase traffic to their trade show booth, i.e. build awareness. They had a problem in mind so that put them ahead of most technology marketers, however, it is arguable if they met this objective with an ad that was so similar to everyone else’s that it was almost invisible.

With my own employer, ads were being considered with no clear objective in mind. When asked, the marketers would respond, “We want to build awareness.” To which I would ask, “Awareness among whom? We are dominant in our market with a 70% market share. Which of our tier one customers do not know about our products? Would it not be cheaper and more effective to provide our sales staff with overview materials on our products?”

That did not go over well. Product overview materials are drudgery. Ads are fun and exciting and make people feel like they have reached the big time. In the end, we ran ads because it made the marketers feel important.

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