Why is marketing the enemy to a programmer? -Reply

Subject: Why is marketing the enemy to a programmer? -Reply
From: Bill Sullivan <bsullivan -at- SMTPLINK -dot- DELTECPOWER -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 17:32:33 -0800

Sella Rush gives her perspective on the differences between developers
and marketing, and asks:
I'm looking forward to hearing other perspectives, on the basis that
it's always good to know thy enemy. ;-)

What you are talking about is differences that are visible not only
in a small software company but pretty much anyplace where scientists
and marketers exist. I think it's universal. Always has been and
probably always will be.

When I was in college (shortly after the war, the Civil War), the
editor of the school paper asked me to call on the biology professors
each week to find out what was new. Big mistake. I received from one
biology prof an incredible lecture on why something that might have
been published months ago could still be new, and he never let me
forget that he had found it necessary to so lecture me for all the
four years I was at the university.

I have also had some rather big league advertising agency experience
and I've been a marketer (not an always willing marketer but
nevertheless a marketer), and I have a fairly good grasp of the kind
of verbal gymnastics a writer has to go through to put words on paper
so people will want to buy the product.

In today's marketing-oriented consumer software and hardware
companies, I can understand why those from the development or
engineering or scientific side (perhaps the more conservative side,
but I don't know for sure) could get its hackles up over the work of
product marketers who do everything but promise that if you buy the
product you will be able to walk on water.

One key word in your question, Sella, is enemy. I would hope that
people who have to work together in a modern, present-day company
that must sell and market its product to survive would learn to work
together as a team. I don't mean there should never be conflicts,
and grumblings from the engineers about why the marketers promised so
much. I just mean that selling the thing is what makes the company.
It's bigger than product development or engineering.

I have a question of my own. I wonder how you or anyone makes the
transition every day from documenting the product and writing
marketing materials. Are you a Janus (born in January) or a Gemini?
Do you find it easy or hard to do?


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