Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Third world networkers wish for marketing departments

Life is hard, margins are shrinking

Oh well ... I'm seated here having done some kick ass projects. Some were/are fun, others not so much. If we were a factory producing raw material, we have produced it in excess. The capacity is there but hmm where are the damn users.

Let me re-tell this with an analogy of sorts. Most of our parents by the time they could afford to build or buy houses went out and bought huge/built 7 bedroom maisonettes hoping you and your siblings would live there forever.

Unfortunately for them you moved out/on , so did your siblings. Now they have all this idle rooms. A few entrepreneurial types converted the houses into guest houses and are making steady income from the house, others need someone like me- a true mugikuyu to talk to them about how to maybe get a return on that investment.

When you build a network or a data center and for some weird reason the dimensioning data came from somewhere other than actual customer requirements ie you make some assumptions, look at the budget and buy the biggest boxes, you risk having lots of idle capacity.

But what if you have a marketing dept. that looks at this capacity, adds value, packages it and sells it?  I think a really good marketing department should help planning and engineering teams figure out how to deliver product(s) that customers need and want. They should be directly involved in service definitions.

It starts with a deep understanding of what customers need and making sure the planning and engineering is getting continuous customer feedback and interaction data.  They also need an understanding of what we are building, how much it cost, how to maximize revenue off it maybe be by branding or product extensions (branding extension is for instance giving two customers 1Mbps links but throttling one link to 128kbps and selling it cheaper).

Thats the kind of marketing department (in whatever form) I'd like to work with in a technology company. In most such companies, engineers produce raw materials, marketers should take those and sell products. If you are in marketing, head over to engineering and look at the raw materials.

What I know from running a few businesses or seeing them run is in the end it is always about sales. The money. You can bullshit all you want but that is the bottom line.

So if for instance you outsource marketing end to end including product creation, packaging etc without having the expertise to judge or manage the results, you are pretty much screwed, learn the metrics to keep track of, your engineering team knows and can help. Be 'with it'. (My opinion has always been - outsource what you are an expert in unless you want to get conned').

Now what brought on this post????????????

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