A note to marketing directors

Dear Marketing Director / Marketing professional,

I know it’s tough being in a position like yours. You’re constantly under pressure to perform. To get higher sales. To make something ‘viral’. Your boss is a money person. On top of the direct work-related stress, you also have to stay on top of all the new buzzwords. It’s a bitch.

If your boss gives the marketing department 50k to run some campaigns or re-do the website, they expect that money to come back – in some way. Hell, some bosses would consider getting a complete return with no profit a total failure.

So I get it. The stress. Many of you, understandably, get frazzled, and direct this negativity toward those working with you. Changing deadlines. Cutting budgets. Feeling like you’ve got better skills as a designer or developer than the people building your website. You could do it, right? It’s just typing and drawing. Hell, your 5 year-old son can draw!

On top of that stress, many in your profession have no skills or experience with graphic design, web design, or web development. To be plainly spoken, there are many in the marketing profession with no discernible skill other than talking and writing emails

It’d be sort of like me sitting in a room of, perhaps, helicopter mechanics and aerospace engineers. Someone makes me their manager, and now I have to come up with things for them to do.

“The blades are really big. Can you make the helicopter blades smaller?”

“No, they need to be that big so the helicopter remains in the air.”

“Oh. Ok. I’ll close this task then. I’ll go buy an expensive suit and update my LinkedIn profile. Good job everyone.”

And that’s a good day. I couldn’t do that. The stress would kill me.

Similarly, many of you are really pleasant to work with. (I’m lucky to work with some great marketing folks more often than not, as I typically qualify new clients in a social environment before working with them.)

Let’s fast-forward to the panic stage. A designer makes something that’s not a dark enough black. A developer makes a widget that shares company articles on twitter automatically, when what you asked them for was a widget that can post things to twitter without you having to do anything. Couldn’t be clearer how different those two things are, and they got it entirely wrong.

You’ve taken over art and development direction of the project.
You make gut decisions, with no data, no research at times. You know this. They need to trust you. More blue. Bigger logo. Less blue.

Unless you’re relatively new to your role in marketing, you’ll gradually become aware of what happens. What happens when people do that? One of the most important principles get buried:

Your company website is not a playground. You are not a designer. You are not a developer. Your feedback is needed and valuable, but it’s not a place to try out your ideas. Defer to professionals.

Nothing too deep; that’s all I’ve got.

And please, if you’re lucky enough to have a web designer / developer that says NO to your ideas occasionally, you should likely stick with them.

Author: Rami


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