I just read a post by Steve Rubel suggesting PR and marketing organizations need to actively promote and fill a new role – that of geek marketer. These cross-trained specialists have the rare talent to understand the creative (and financial) demands of marketing but are also well versed on the rapidly evolving technology that most of use barely understand – let alone use. Typically, these folks straddle across departments and are instrumental players in driving digital media programs in their respective organizations. Based on my observations, I agree with Steve. Too often the folks in marketing are either ignorant or afraid of the evolving technology, or they try to jump in without learning the nuances and etiquette of the online world. And that can be ugly. The geeks, for their part, are so far ahead of the curve they seem detached from the realities of the business, and have little patience for communication strategy. (By the way, in my experience the tech geeks and visionaries do not come from IT – which is its own bureaucracy with entrenched rules and inflexible roadmaps.) Rare is the person who has enough knowledge of both sides of this divide to bridge the gap, foster collaboration and drive projects. Think of it as somebody who know how to sell and to measure, but also to listen and develop content and applications that are compelling and user-friendly. The good news is I see things turning around – both in agencies and companies. Though they may not all have a clear line of sight on titles or structure, organizations are reacting to the need for new skills and talent. Though finding elusive geek marketers is a good stop-gap answer, the long-term solution lies in immersing marketing and PR teams in the new technology, and ultimately in updating marcom into a new discpline that inherently includes advanced technology and internet strategies. No more silos. We all have to become geek marketers.  

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