It was many years ago that I left university as a manufacturing engineering graduate and promptly walked into a job as a technical journalist. Leaving aside the first question most people asked (“why would you want to do that?”), the most frequent explanation I had to give was to answer “how did you do that?”
The answer was that I joined a business magazine publishing company which believed that it was better to take on people who understood their field and teach them journalism, than is was to employ journalists and hope they’d get to grips with the subject they were to be writing about.
Business marketing has the same dilemma. I would say that the marketing management function in industrial companies is spread fairly evenly between people with a technical background and people with a marketing background. There’s no right way or wrong way: indeed, the best people probably divide equally between the two backgrounds …but so do the worst.
As a journalist, and now as an outsourced service supplier, I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of marketing managers, and if I think of those who seem to be doing a particularly good job, it’s hard to find anything in terms of background or experience which links them. You don’t have to be able to understand the physics behind your company’s products if you’re willing to get the information from the in-house technical support team when it’s needed. And you don’t need to know the difference between Flash and animated GIF banners if you’ve got a good graphic designer on tap. One of the best marketing managers I’ve ever met is actually probably more of a great administrator than anything else, so brilliantly does he make use of the talents of a range of specialists.
Perhaps the most difficult marketing job is done by people who have to combine it with other responsibilities such as also being sales manager, or even MD. Quite a few people carry off this unenviable task well, mainly by finding themselves service providers who show a bit of initiative. Others treat marketing as a necessary evil, and just see it as a budget to be disposed of with as little inconvenience as possible. The sales reps working for magazines and exhibitions love these people, and spend a lot of time cultivating relationships with them. The money spent might just as well be poured down the drain though. And I’m not going to suggest I’d love to help them out, because if that’s their attitude to marketing, I don’t want to have anything to do with them.
Some time ago, we decided here at BMON that we’d specialise in what was then the up-and-coming thing (Google AdWords management), and we’d try to do it really, really well. It was a good call, because it became much more than the up-and-coming thing. Now many companies do no other advertising. Our clients range from an engineering business with a marketing department of over 20 people, to a scientific sector supplier where one guy juggles general business management, marketing, technical support and making the tea. They all have something in common: they understand the value of search engine marketing, and that it’s cost-effective to subcontract it out if the agency is good at what they do, gets on with things and doesn’t require as much time as doing it yourself. They also say some very nice things about us.
If you’re taking Google AdWords seriously – or plan to do so – let us come and show you what we’re doing for other companies, and what we can do for you. We’ll even bundle in an analysis of your existing online marketing too, if you’d like. You can set up a meeting here.