In a recent post, Brendan Tompkins describes one of my recent Channel9 videos as “down-to-earth marketing.” On the one hand, I find that ironic, as that particular video is me talking about the chaos that is MS culture and wondering how we get anything done at all, so if that makes you want to come then you belong here, Brendan. : )
On the other hand, at MSDN we realize that we’re all in marketing. In fact, any individial or organization whose job it is to talk with customers is in marketing. The particular brand of marketing we use at MSDN is “not marketing,” i.e. we package up the most technical, straight-forward information we can and get it into the hands of developers so that they can be successful using our platforms. Of course, the desired result is that more developers build most stuff on our platforms that causes more folks to purchase our platforms, which is why it’s a marketing function.
Thinking of it as marketing is helpful, as it focuses me on what I’ve determined as job #1 in marketing: never say anything bad about your products that doesn’t have a solution. For example, recently I was giving a talk at Corillian (Scott Hanselman’s day job) and I was very free with the problems in Windows XP (which is really just a keep trick to get the audience to like me), but only because I was pitching Longhorn as the solution to all of those problems (and, of course, the cause of no new problems : ). On the other hand, if I had focused on the problems of Windows XP without being right there with a proposed solution to this problems, not only would my talk have tanked (who likes to hear problems w/ no solutions?), but it would have been counter to the purpose of my job: driving customers to our products.
So, am I a technologist? I like to think so. Am I engaged in the down-to-earth marketing that Brendan prefers? Absolutely. And good eye, Brandan!