On Becoming a Techno-Geek
By Jeffrey Eisenberg
CEO, Future Now, Inc.
I’m NOT a Techno-Geek! Really I’m not. I can’t write one line of code. I used
to think HTML tag was a new game children play. I get way bored with too many
details. Heck, I don’t even own a pocket protector. Nevertheless, I make my
living from Internet Marketing and it seems I'd better get used to hearing it.
Technology is a marketing Issue. My marketing colleagues and I need to start
communicating with the techno-geeks or we won’t be able to do our jobs
A few months ago
Rebecca Lieb wrote:
Technology is no longer at the service of marketing; it defines
marketing. This places marketers on an unprecedented learning curve,
requiring them to become conversant (and then some) with skills and tasks
for which they are temperamentally ill-suited. On the other side of the
fence, the tech folks are dealing with coworkers who cannot express their
needs in the language of the realm. Programmers don't want creative briefs,
value propositions, or mission statements. They need minutely detailed
True. In fact, the problem is several orders of magnitude larger than that.
A potential client (over $20 million in sales) whose site was developed by an
outside firm didn't even know if it owned the code. We suspect it didn't, since
the developer services many of this company's competitors. What happens if the
relationship goes awry? The client won't even have easy access to older order
Still not convinced? If you’re a marketer ask yourself if you’ve ever had to
wait on technology to be implemented before launching a campaign?
What do we advise?
Marketers must understand
development is not rocket
science. They need to
understand the developer's
methods and drive development through its phases
to meet their needs. Second, your next development project, whether done
in-house or outsourced, must utilize an open methodology.
Are you up to the challenge of developing a new Web site? Bet you feel like
you're about to navigate a minefield and somebody forgot to give you the map. If
you follow the development process of
you can draw that map. These techniques coupled with open methodology will make
development easier, faster, and cheaper.
Marketers must also understand that technology people not only act different
than they do, but think differently as well. Here are a few hints that will help
· Their use of time is more deliberate so they feel
like you are wasting their time, or yanking their chain, if you aren’t
methodical about giving them information.
· They like their information in writing, not
verbally. So if you must brainstorm give them time in advance to think about
what they want to say.
· They love facts, statistics, bullet points,
project management charts and all that stuff. Give it to them.
· They understand processes really well. Explain
your goals as part of a process and they’ll get it faster.
· Terminology is important to them. Agree on what
words mean and use them carefully.
· They love to figure out “How to do it” so get
them involved after you’ve figured out “What
to do and why to do it”. They’ll sidetrack
marketers with the how’s if you get them in too early and you’ll sidetrack
them if you don’t get out of their way and let them get things done.
These tips, which we usually offer in our private seminars, can save projects
from failing. I hope you find them useful.
Check out the Free webinar I'm
giving with Jim Novo called:
The Marketer's Common Sense Guide to E-Metrics:
22 benchmarks to understand the major trends, key
opportunities, and hidden hazards your web logs
This free event will be on May 10 and May 24.
It's the third event on the list.
CIO, Future Now, Inc.
P.S. Do you have questions you would like to see
On Becoming a Marketing Weenie
By John Quarto-vonTivadar
CTO, Future Now, Inc.
Despite a technology background, I had the dubious honor last week of being
called a “marketing weenie” by a young programmer. The kid’s diatribe was
delivered as a 21st century version of “your Momma wears combat boots,” yet
the comment illustrated a fascinating point: “techno-nerds” (so there!) have
virtually no understanding of key marketing and sales concepts, and this lack of
knowledge helps perpetuate the vast chasm of misunderstanding between the
“geeks” and “suits.”
Multidisciplinary cross-training is an essential skill in prospering in the
upcoming Internet Age, Version Two. People who succeed will be those who can
appreciate all the pieces that connect to profitability and who can provide
complementary solutions within team efforts. I’d like to touch on a few
fundamental points technology-driven people need to understand from their sales
and marketing counterparts. If you’re a tech person, read on! The basic ideas
are simple; yet mastering them will open amazing doors for you in networking
with actual decision-makers (and check-writers), both key to career advancement.
If you’re on the business side of the coin, read on! You’ll have a better idea
of what the guy with the pocket protector “just doesn’t get.”
Marketing Drives Traffic, Sales Drives Income
It may seem obvious to the general public, but rarely do techies make the
connection between the MarCom & Sales Department and his salary. Who can fault
them? Technology budgets, like all support budgets, are always sinks of
money, and certainly the feeding frenzy of the Internet Age, Version One - with
its mantra "if you build it, they will come” - gave techies the false impression
that they themselves are the creator of corporate profits.
Let’s get it straight: Marketing drives visitors to your company, Sales
converts them into customers. Marketing discovers the gold mine, Sales actually
digs out the gold. Technology is a support function that helps discover and
helps dig. Sometimes the most obvious things are the ones most easily forgotten.
But don’t you forget!
One group always remembers where the money comes from: CEOs and business
owners. So the key to influencing them is to understand the factors in their
decision process. The people who sign checks care about sales, and so must you.
Getting People to Take Action
It might surprise some technology people to learn that there’s a distinct
process involved when people take action. This can be summarized by the acronym
The Attention of the person is tickled, their Interest is piqued,
a Desire is stimulated in their mind, and then an Action is taken
- and afterwards the person evaluates their Satisfaction with the
process. The key here is understanding that the first three steps are emotional
ones (attention, interest, desire) which are only then confirmed by the logical
left-brain (action). The final step (satisfaction) is then a reconfirmation by a
hybrid emotional-logical response.
Did you know that
go through a distinct process
when they buy? I present it here in terms technology people can appreciate:
Evaluation of Alternatives
Was the Problem Solved?
Sellers, however, follow a
Prospect for Needs/Desires
Qualify the Needs/Desires
Present to the qualified Needs/Desires
Close on satisfying the Needs/Desires
Being aware of what is going on in people’s heads and understanding the
processes that go on in the Marketing and Sales world, delivers a tremendous
clarity of purpose that you can use to apply technology to support these
functions. The key to converting visitors into buyers is to win their emotional
hearts. A repeat buyer is created only when that buyer’s need is met in a
legitimately honest way. Both of these are strong sub-conscious, emotional,
Features Win the Mind, Benefits Win the Heart
Techies put a lot of stock in following logical processes and logical
reasoning; both are left-brained functions of the human mind. This leads many
companies, but especially a technology company, to misinterpret “features” to be
the same as “benefits.” They’re not. The company is so familiar with its own
product that it feels listing the Features is sufficient to imply the
The buying audience, even a technologically driven one, is still a human
audience, and people want to know the
because this answers the question, “Whats
in it for me?” Only then, when the
right-brain “feels” good about the product benefits, is the buyer receptive to
logical reasons for that decision. Confirming a decision already made on the
emotional right-side side of the brain by appealing to the logical higher-brain
reasoning of the left brain, answers the question “How is it good for me?” And
that’s a Feature List.
Techies, the next time one of those opaque “initiatives” from MarCom hits
your desk, try digging a bit - look for an underlying process and things will be
much clearer. If you can’t find one, get one of those “Marketing Weenies” to
explain it to you as a process. Remind him that Techies “have no problem
‘getting’ the Forest, you just gotta show them the Trees first.” And if all else
fails, slip "The Suit" a copy of the article above!