Marketers and engineers working together

Unless appearances are deceiving, a quick glance at Pull Digital website makes it clear we are an online marketing agency. After browsing a little deeper though, you might come across the page introducing our development services, including details of our web development services, usually orientated around customisations for Kentico CMS and/or AspDotNetStorefront.

So, are there occasions when marketing and IT (‘engineers’) get to work together here? For sure! The moment you ask for a quote, marketing and IT work together at Pull Digital.

Continuing with our blog post series on the question of “Why use a Digital Agency?” our Lead Developer came across a three part article which offers thought provoking, well designed analysis on the working relationship between marketers and engineers.

So, how is the marketer-engineer relationship practiced here? At Pull Digital the marketer-engineer relationship is a by-design element of our business (comes with the territory) and so we frequently practice it.
In general reference to the theme in this article, at Pull we can say this:

Marketing and engineering have a few things in common:

  • Both have the same objectives: are obliged to properly understand the problem at hand and devise a solution.

Where there are distinctive differences:

  • Engineering looks at how technology is utilised to solve the problem and has to tackle issues and challenges that go with this. These challenges are not always associated with human behaviour and so social/psychological engineering matters, with associated issues, come less into play.
  • The difference is probably in the perspective.  In our business marketing must know above all what they want their subject (website visitor, campaign recipient etc.) to do.  Development must know what the possibilities are to facilitate that goal, and how the agreed objectives could be achieved with what technologies. ‘Marketing mind’ aware developers can point out technological phenomena that may affect/shape human behaviour (or influence a marketing idea/vision in some way, for example, to tap unharnessed potential through a use of technology that marketing may not be aware of).

But we tend to agree with the thrust of that article that marketing and engineering are not necessarily so far apart in their approaches.  Our Director of Marketing Services – who was a Marketing Director at Motorola in a past life – tells a story: (well he would wouldn’t he, that’s what they do isn’t it?) 

He recalls a product development meeting in which RF (radio frequency) engineers were discussing the architecture of a circuit board for a new phone.  Often irritated by how these engineers tended to dismiss marketing as a ‘blue sky art’ devoid of any science, he laid a trap for one of the engineers: “Why did you put the antenna there?”  The engineer shrugged, “I’m not sure really, intuition I guess”. “Hah” Said Chris – “Gotcha!” I though you believed that only marketers use intuition to make important decisions.”

The reality is that good marketing involves analysis, a good methodology, some understanding of human behavioural science as well as intuition and creativity.  Good engineering and IT development are often helped by these things too.  In fact we might go as far as saying that great marketers have perhaps a tendency to balance self-discipline, thoroughness and a scientific approach (not things normally associated with marketing we have to admit) with an intuitive and creative one.  And great engineers and developers show a willingness to embrace human behavioural and societal aspects (not normally associated with IT & engineering) of a given initiative as well as technology-related ones.

But differences are good too.  We love the creative and mindset tension that exists between marketing and IT.  This is where the magic should (and does) happen and true synergy occurs.  The marketer may well not know what’s possible “You mean we could use a lightbox to show that?  Cool”, and the developer might say: “Oh, so you want people to share these with their friends? There are a few options for that”. Etc.

What we find exciting is the speed and distance which a marketing/IT team can achieve.  Our flat structure, open plan office and account teams encourages the ad hoc ‘huddling’ of very productive teams including account managers, marketing and IT folks.  This is how we do our best work for sure.

The last word from Pull Digital’s lead developer Dominic: ‘A Digital Agency environment with a solid IT department gets a lot of exposure to the strengths and weaknesses, inherent and environmental, of the marketer to engineer relationship. With this comes strong real-world, practical expertise that is hard to beat. The Digital Agency that forms a fit and flexible marketer-engineer working relationship for the global digital (business) environment that is forming, whose behavioural dynamics are still evolving (and being understood), will put clients in the best possible place to succeed.’




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