Ten things programmers might want to know about marketers

In my travels, the group that wants to know the most about marketing, and seems to know the most about marketing (except, of course, for marketers) is engineers. Software engineers and programmers, to be specific.

Why? I think it’s because online marketing is particularly interesting and often allied with programming techniques. That and the fact that programmers toil long and hard and get bitter pretty quickly when some marketing dork screws up their efforts.

So, if there are ten things I’d tell you, Professor Engineer Software person, it would be this:

  1. Marketing is not rational. Programming is. Works the same way every time. Marketing doesn’t, almost in a Heisenbergian way. If it worked before, it probably won’t work again.
  2. Marketing is even more difficult to schedule than bug fixes. Marketing expenses are easily timed, of course, but the results are not. That’s because there’s a human at each end of the equation.
  3. Most marketers have no clue whatsoever what to do. So we do unoriginal things, or stall, or make promises we can’t keep.
  4. Just because Sergey is both a brilliant programmer and a brilliant marketer doesn’t mean that all brilliant programmers are good at marketing.
  5. People often prefer things that are inelegant, arcane or even broken. Except when they don’t.
  6. Truly brilliant coding is hard to quantify, demand or predict. Same is true with marketing.
  7. There is no number seven.
  8. Unlike mediocre programmers, mediocre marketers occasionally get lucky. When they do, they end up with a success they can brag about for a generation. But that doesn’t mean they know how to do it again.
  9. Just because some marketers are dorks doesn’t mean your marketer is a dork. Some programmers aren’t so great either. Be patient.
  10. Without marketing, all your great coding is worthless. Push your marketer to be brave and bold and remarkable. Do it every day. Your code is worth it.