An Engineer in Marketing Land
- AUTHOR Dan Appleman
- May 29, 2014
- No Comments
I spent part of last week at the SiriusDecisions marketing conference in Orlando. Now I’ve attended countless technical conferences, but this was the first time I’d attended a conference where virtually everyone was in sales or marketing.
I noticed some surprising and fundamental differences between this conference and the technical ones I am accustomed to, and I thought I would share those differences with you.
The first thing I noticed won’t surprise you. Jackets and ties. The only time you’ll see a tie at most technical conferences is on those rare occasions when a top executive of a large corporation shows up. I won’t say that everyone wore a jacket or tie at SiriusDecisions, but there were plenty in sight.
The second difference occurred during the reception on the first evening of the conference. At 5:30pm when the doors to the exhibit hall officially opened for the reception, nothing happened. The food was out in quantity, the bars were open, and almost nobody was there. Attendees gradually drifted in over the next half hour, and both food and drink remained plentiful. At technical conferences, lines for the reception start growing well before the doors open. And when the doors open, there’s a stampede towards the food tables, which quickly grown long lines, and where staff struggle to keep the buffets resupplied
The third and most significant difference related to content. I found most of the sessions to be very strong on ideas and concepts – philosophies and approaches. I left most of them feeling that I understood what marketers should be doing, but not really how to do it. Technical conferences often seem to take the opposite approach. There’s plenty of instruction on how to do things, but less focus on when and why to do them, and especially when not to do them. As technologists we sometimes fixate on the latest shiny new technology, without taking the time to figure out whether it actually solves a real problem, or will be around long enough to be worth learning in the first place. No true marketer would fall into that trap, right?