- Market research and customer profiling needs to feed into Product Development to ensure product-market fit
- Marketing measurements and conversion KPIs enable Operations to predict surges or dips in demand and prepare accordingly
- Product Development needs to be supported by Marketing to ensure product launches are successful
- Anyone with a customer-facing position (such as a Maintenance Engineer, or a Designer tasked with customising a product for a customer) needs to understand their role in the customer's buying decision and how to support the process
But how do you get buy-in from technical staff who are not at all familiar with how marketing actually works?
Here are my 6 tips…
1. Explain marketing as a structured, methodical process – like engineering!
I thought if I designed a great product then people would just buy it. They wouldn't need persuading with marketing gimmicks.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
Good marketing is structured, methodical, innovative, based on rigorous research, and then carefully designed, executed and project managed. Good marketing is very much like engineering!
I now explain marketing as a structured, logical process that supports customers through every step of their buying decision. This methodical approach can be understood by anyone and enables logically-minded engineers to see marketing as a worthwhile and practical discipline.
2. Explain its relevance to their job
So the answer is to make sure that everyone know why your marketing plan is absolutely relevant to them.
- Explain to your Product Development team what customers need to see, hear and feel at different points in the buying process so that they understand why marketing have been requested certain improvements.
- Explain to Operations the importance of packaging and delivery from a customer experience perspective. Show them how tiny details can make a huge difference for their customer and therefore for your organisation’s bottom line.
- Explain to Service & Maintenance the importance of making sure customers feel valued, by communicating with them regularly and not just when things are going wrong.
A sure-fire way of getting people on-board with marketing is to show them how it will make their job better, easier and/or more satisfying by delivering a better experience for their customers.
3. Make sure everyone understands how all the customer-facing teams work together
A contact should never be “owned” by a department, and departments should support each other in pursuit of the end goal of delivering the best customer experience.
This can often mean reviewing your internal processes and systems to make sure that customers can easily be passed between departments, and receive consistent service and have a comfortable experience in the process.
4. Use a common language
However, useful and meaningful jargon can bring people together and strengthen a feeling of “one team”. This can be achieved quite easily by teaching and encouraging the use of a simple common language.
In her Watertight Marketing methodology, Bryony Thomas included specific and meaningful phrases that non-marketers could quickly understand. The concepts of “the Logic Sandwich™”, “earning the right to time”, and “the buyers’ team” are simple to explain to non-marketers.
If Product Development can quickly understand why Marketing has requested a small but effective change, then they will be better equipped to effectively prioritise their workload.
5. Allow staff to share ideas without barriers
Engineers are inherently innovative people and, when encouraged to extend their creativity beyond their role, you might well find them an unexpected source of creative marketing ideas.
Find ways to facilitate the sharing and discussion of ideas across teams to gain new perspectives and inspire new ways of doing things.
6. Encourage accountability
If Product Development understand that a small, low-cost and relatively unprofitable product in the range is actually a crucial gateway product, then they will be able to push back against pressure to change or scrap it.
At the end of a recent team training day that Bryony Thomas and I ran at Sonocent Ltd, MD Dave Tucker summed up the day saying, “Integrating this framework into the way we work as an organisation is going to be crucial. If at any time you are asked to do anything which you believe does not follow Watertight principles then you need to speak up - whether it comes from a peer, your manager or even if it comes from me. For example if you're asked to create a flyer aimed at driving Awareness and are given copy that is 2000 words long, I want you to challenge the instruction and say 'this doesn't fit within the Watertight Marketing model'."
By training everyone in the fundamentals of marketing and empowering his team to keep each other accountable, Dave ensured that marketing became everyone's responsibility.
"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself": Henry Ford.
If you need help getting your technical staff on board with marketing and business development, email me, call or drop me a line on social media.