Marketing and Advertising

Via Scoble, I came across this quote over at Kevin Schofield’s Weblog:

Marketing is a difficult discipline, that requires both theoretical and practical knowledge. Just as marketing people should respect technical people, technical people should respect marketing people. I think in the long run one of the most important business lessons that people will take away from studying Microsoft is that when you put sharp technical people and sharp marketing people together and things click, you can create a very, very profitable business. [Kevin Schofield’s Weblog]

Kevin works at in the Microsoft marketing group and tries to help Scoble understand and appreciate the difference between marketing and advertising so that the art and science (primarily behind the marketing) can be respected. I’ve definitely learned a great deal in my time in Marketing… and believe that while I’ve got plenty to learn (as is natural) there is much to offer based on my experience.

I’d add this bit to Kevin’s post, since my experience is from the Agency side, rather than the client side…

Advertising needs to respect Marketing as well.

There were far too many times for me to count where marketing (particularly direct and interactive) were used as window dressing to sell advertising based primarily on ignorance to better position the Agency to sell more sexy ad campaigns rather than focus on the issue at hand which might be more easily addressed through a targeted marketing campaign. Because the science behind the marketing usually takes a good bit of time and effort and cooperation from the client (they’ve got the data initially) it gets passed on for TV-appeal. It’s great to see your work on-screen.. I know, it feels good from my perspective too! It’s redeeming to share that with your family and have them appreciate what you actually do, but is very difficult to track a few key details of how you are spending your money like:

Who’s watching…

Are they interested in my product/service?

Are they even considering my product/service?

Do they use a competitors product or service?

Are they already a customer?

How long and what level?

Perhaps an upgrade offer or cross sell of related services would be a better use of message…

Before I dive into the deep on the differences between direct and general advertising, I’ll just end with this thought…

There is almost always a great deal of focus that can be brought to a campaign to make sure that the greatest number of interested parties see your message and are likely to respond (and buy or get in touch with you) in an attributable way. It’s hard to beat the mass efficiency of TV in primetime or daytime, but is that really where your message should be? Wouldn’t you rather know who you are communicating with and engage in a dialogue?

2 Replies to “Marketing and Advertising”

  1. Actually, I work in Microsoft Research, doing a lot of different things, including tech transfer, university relations, and PR. MSR is a funny beast since we don’t sell products externally. Most of my “marketing” per se is internal as part of our tech transfer efforts, but we do some external stuff as it relates to the overall corporate image — people want to know why Microsoft has a research lab, what it’s up to, where computing is going in the future, and how it will affect Microsoft products in the future. So I try to relate our thoughts on the subject. And when Microsoft products ship with MSR technology int hem, we try to support that product’s marketing and PR team as they talk about the innovative technologies in the product.

    As for your last thought, don’t fall prey to the tyranny of “or” because the right answer may be a mix of both. As Einstein once said, every complex problem has a simple solution that’s wrong.

  2. Fair enough…My point there at the end was really to have (anyone reading) think more about what you plan to market and try to realize that there is more than one way. I fell into my trap when I was writing that. It is often a duel fought with more than one discipline and a working mix at that.

    MSR sounds pretty cool… with the reported multi-billion dollar budget I bet you get to work on some very cool stuff.

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