Marketing Strategy

Approaching Marketing Strategy from an Engineer’s Perspective

by Allison Smith Terrey

Marketing is the hub for a typical company’s relationship with its customers and prospects – it’s where it all comes together. Marketing assimilates customer feedback, social media conversations, product features, messaging, big data, process, algorithms and technology to develop strategies that reach out to customers and prospects, grabbing their attention. Today’s technology and mountains of data make that assimilation very difficult if not seemingly impossible.

Exactly how do you know what information will trigger a reaction? Do you have that information? If yes, how do you include that information in your execution and what technology do you need to execute it?  These are some of the questions confronting marketing departments today.

Having an engineer as part of the Marketing Operations department can help marketing answer the foregoing questions. Engineers help their marketing partners see what is possible; they help them create and execute their goals and realize their growth. They help marketing teams understand the technical requirements to drive strategy and create the systems and processes that execute the strategy.

Engineers do this by translating and dissecting today’s complex technology and data environments to make them understandable. They define and implement processes that create and support innovative strategies to drive marketing campaigns. Finally, they know how to interpret the data behind the metrics and design reports and dashboards to track outcomes.

You might ask, “What is it about engineers that that allow them to do these things?” I’m an engineer. My engineering training taught me to observe and understand how components exist in a system and how they relate to the other parts of a system – the ins, the outs, the flows and the reactions.

From an engineering perspective, I envision marketing as a large, multi-faceted system made of many gears that work in unison to attract new prospects, drive customer engagement, create awareness and generate growth. The marketing functions, data, technology, metrics and content are some of the marketing gears that work together in this well-oiled machine, producing campaigns, leads and pipeline.

Being the part of the team that defines the big picture and the intricate details of the strategy and execution taps into what makes me and engineers tick. For example, if marketing wants to leverage some specific customer action data to trigger relevant communication with customers, I’ll work with data scientists to identify the data field(s) that store the usage information. I’ll collaborate with IT to build that data into our marketing platform integrations. And then I’ll work with marketing managers to build this data into their automation business rules. Finally, I’ll test to make sure that it all works as expected.

Engineers are also helpful in managing and optimizing your martech stack and road map. Sure, engineers understand technology and can help plan for upgrades and replacements. They can also help to determine if existing technology satisfies your marketing strategy requirements or if a new solution is required. Sometimes the answer isn’t the bright shiny object, but a feature hidden in your existing stack combined with an update to process. An engineer on the team can help Marketing make the right decision.

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