Early in my working life, I made a career change. After earning a degree in Electrical Engineering, I started a part-time MBA and made the transition to Marketing. I haven’t looked back. Yet I still wear my engineering iron ring (an inspired bit of socialization and branding familiar to Canadian engineers) and retain the structured habit of thought drilled into me during my undergraduate studies.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that this training informs the approach I take to marketing. While I recognize that there is a fairly successful product management/product marketing framework and seminar series called Pragmatic Marketing, I use the phrase “pragmatic marketing” to describe the philosophy I bring to my marketing initiatives.
Wiktionary defines pragmatism as: “the pursuit of practicality over aesthetic qualities; a concentration on facts rather than emotions or ideals.” The thing that drives hard-nosed financial business managers and technical executives nuts about marketing is the perceived focus on “fluffy” matters like brand image, social media, web design, collateral layout, fonts, logos and “customer experience”. Their frustration is that, while all this sounds impressive, it is wickedly hard to connect to concrete results like revenues. Marketers don’t do themselves any favors by using squishy MBA-speak when trying to articulate the value of what they do (I’ll save my lecture on “Marketing the Marketing” for another post!).
So, here’s my take on the essential elements of pragmatic marketing:
Don’t get me wrong. Inspired marketing is the flower of innovation and creativity. But marketing is both an art and science; pragmatic marketing is the science side of things. As you might gather, it is also hard work. The pay-off is better results as well as the respect and support of your colleagues in other functional roles.