The Marketing & Engineering Marriage

A day in the life of the marketing manager @ engineering/manufacturing company

  • Wake up at 6am (only slept roughly 2 hours, because he was kept awake by this new invention, something that will change the world as we know it - took pen & paper & some weird testing device, worked out the particulars, started drawing the product in SolidWorks & fell asleep on his keyboard at 4h13am)
  •  Arrive at work at 8h00 (drinks several cups of coffee & draft final product presentation)
  •  10h00: Call in R&D team for a meeting - Shares vision for new product. Met with excitement & fist-bumps by all.
  •  10h30 15h00: Whilst still focusing on the new exciting products (roughly 11) of the last few weeks, everyone starts to work on new invention as well.
  •  16h00: Prototype of new product is basically finished
  •  16h15: Give marketing person random mock-up of product (which consists out of 2 boxes with another box stuck onto it diagonally with sticky tape & a Pritt-shaped pole is sitting on top of it like it has a purpose) & asks for a brochure before 17h00.

Okay fine, I might be over-exaggerating just a tiny bit, but I have seen this happen quite a few times. This process is necessary however, without these type of engineers, we would still be stuck in the dark ages.

Having worked for & with engineering companies over the past 8 years, above "process" can be a nightmare, but the trick lies in sometimes not heeding to the call of the mad rush of getting a product out there immediately.

Getting to a place of adding METHOD to the madness

Marketing is sometimes seen as the last step in the process. This way of thinking is detrimental to the whole team. Marketing is part & parcel of the entire process from beginning to end. But how do we get to a place of mutual understanding & synergistic projects:

  •  Acceptance: 
    The engineering department should accept marketing's diverse role in everything they do & marketing should accept that there will be ad-hoc world-changing projects that will take preference to her social media plan (for now).
  •  Communication: 
    As with any good marriage, communication & respect is the key to not landing up in divorce court. Stick to product road map meetings. Look to the future & envision what will be the 'next-big-thing' & try as far as possible to schedule it into priority plans.
  •  Planning: 
    Marketing needs to make space in the global marketing plan for ad-hoc projects, product changes & quite a lot of market research. In order for proper marketing planning to happen, Engineering needs to communicate their vision constantly & with clarity.
  •  Get everyone involved: 
    It happens all too often; Timelines have been set up, the product launch date has been chosen, but we forgot to tell logistics who then promptly lets us know that the shipping will take 8 weeks instead of 4 due to the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Following above process can still get tricky, but it will at the very least ensure that better products are delivered with the correct communication tools at the right time.

Remember the 4P's of Marketing? It applies especially to the engineering & manufacturing industries

Without engineers, no marketing is needed. Without marketing, no engineers will get their awesome ideas out there.

A blog by Elsjene Burger