<trp-post-container data-trp-post-id='25640'>Engineers and marketers, the required dialogue

The issue of innovation has been tearing engineers and marketers apart for decades, an internecine war with only one loser: the company.
For a long time, the former imposed their domination, particularly in the heyday of the Trente Glorieuses, when France was being rebuilt and consumers were equipping themselves with all the new objects of modern comfort: washing machines, fridges, cars and so on.
The marketing of this period is referred to as supply-side marketing... because supply was being built without marketers.
Little by little, entrepreneurs discovered that it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to innovate without looking at consumer expectations: marketers were enjoying their revenge and preaching demand marketing.
As new technologies took off, engineers began to snub marketers once again, because consumers were proving incapable of understanding disruptive innovations - the most lucrative ones!
And it's true: the first studies on mobile telephony highlighted the very low level of interest in a device that allowed people to contact their friends in the street, a behaviour that has become so commonplace today.
But it's hard to have complete confidence in engineers alone: in high-tech, they're all geeks who don't understand that the French aren't all geeks like them; as a result, the graveyards of innovation are overflowing with good ideas.
Remember, for example, the Nabaztag (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabaztag), the cute little rabbit that was supposed to be the forerunner of the intelligent Internet terminal of the future, so cute when he wiggled his ears to announce the good weather: he only ever amused a few geeks who are still trying to revive a product that has failed to find its place with the general public.
It's about time that engineers and marketers got together, because innovation - effective innovation at last - cannot reach maturity without close collaboration between these two departments: the former build the necessary technological building blocks and the latter help to transform them into useful products - products and services with real value in use, and that's the role of marketing!
Of course, the objection will always be raised that Steve Jobs didn't really bother with market research and marketers to launch the iPod and iPhone - the same could be said for the iWatch, but there it doesn't seem to have been a success!
That's why I can only offer this advice to entrepreneurs seeking success: hire a Steve Jobs; if you can't afford one, ask your engineers and marketers to work together, and look at consumer expectations and societal trends.

François Laurent, Blogger @ ConsumerInsight


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