Tom Levers

Determining whether marketing will succeed… just look at Software Development.

Posted in BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, MARKETING, Modern Marketing, PUBLIC RELATIONS, Sales, SEM by Tom Levers on January 8, 2012

Some software developers and marketers appreciate one another. However, it is common for development people to over simplify or tend to shy away from marketing, citing its simplicity or its demands on social interaction. And even more presumtious, sales/marketing treats development like developers are in a “cubicle zoo”, you can look but do not provoke or disturb.

Determining whether marketing will succeed or fail often is not based on just their creative design and people skills, but on building the correct foundation of positioning and differentiation. In fact, many teams can improve their marketing simply by realizing that marketing, like software development, has two distinct phases.

When developers build software, typically there is an ongoing customer requirements list that incorporates a design phase, followed by an implementation phase. In the design phase, developers figure out exactly how to develop the requirements, and then in the implementation phase… developers do it!

But few understand that marketing has a positioning phase, followed by an outreach phase.

  • The positioning phase is analogous to the design phase of building software. (In fact, they are related and must usually be done together.)
  • The outreach phase is analogous to the implementation phase of building software. Marketing professionals call this set of activities “marketing tactics”.

Although marketing people and technical people often think they have nothing in common, both groups naturally try to skip the preparation homework that is required in their first phase. Maverick programmers don’t want to write specs and do design. They simply want to write code. Similarly, marketing is always tempted to plunge headfirst into creating messages, taglines and media campaigns. In either case, skipping the first phase will get you the instant gratification of visible results, but you’ll have all kinds of trouble down the road with buyer expectation during the beta stage of release.