Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Marketing Triumphs Technology?

I have heard quite a few business leaders implying that marketing always triumphs technology. I do not dispute the importance of marketing. Nevertheless, working in technology business myself, I have no doubts that in the long-run technology is as important as marketing. Putting one above the other is to disparage one at the cost of other.

It is possible to use logic to exhalt any department. For example, the Business Development department can as easily assert that it is the sales force that gets in the money and is truly in touch with the truths at the ground level, unlike marketing managers that make a sweet sounding theoretical plans in their ivory towers. Technology, Marketing and Sales have their own place in the company structure. Comparing one with the other is absurd, unwarranted and potentially destructive.

Many technology guys are more interested in developing and creating. Innovation cannot come to them easily unless they are given a chance to interact with customers and involved with the business side of things. Barricading engineers & scientists in laboratories and complaining about lack of innovation is ironic, to say the least. Without customer interaction innovation is difficult to achieve. Marketing itself can be highly destructive if it operates in isolation from the customer. Sales without customer focus will kill the product eventually. Some people talk of innovation as if it is a commodity or a God given gift. My experience tells me that innovation is a result of closeness to customer and willingness to experiment.

Innovation may not be about wearing white coats, but it is not about wearing a tie and a suit (with a marketing hat) either. Innovation is an attitude born out of a company's culture and its people. Period.