Marketers sometimes get a bad rap for not understanding the basics of the products we sell. You know, the idea that marketing is the easy A of Silicon Valley. If you’re a tech marketer, I’m sure you’ve encountered it at least once over the course of your career. While I won’t get into the stereotypes that let that notion linger, I think it’s safe to say there’s a bit of a “marketers are from Venus, engineers are from Mars” thing going on.
That’s a shame. Not just because it relies on a caricature of what marketing is all about, but also because of the consequences it can have on the actual products we sell — and our customers’ experiences using them. Any disconnect between the people who build products and the people who market them inevitably results in less successful products with less satisfied users. And that’s not a place any of us want to be.
But don’t misread me. I’m not here to mope that marketers are misunderstood and underappreciated. Like any relationship, successful product/marketing collaboration is a two-way street. And there’s a critical, high-leverage area that we marketers need to step up and do a much better job at: connecting our marketing efforts to the actual experience our customers have using our products and services.
That customer experience (or CX, to use the buzzy shorthand) isn’t just an abstract notion that lives in business school articles and consultants’ strategy documents. It’s the real, down-to-earth thing our customers do with our software every day. But too many of us, whether product marketers or product builders, forget (or perhaps have never experienced) what using our own offerings feels like.
I’m not much of one for brogrammer-speak, but if there’s one expression I want you to think about right now, it’s this: As a marketer, it’s high time you ate your own dog food. To make that menu palatable, I’ll offer you three concrete ways you can start doing that — and keeping your CX grounded in your customers’ reality.
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