What can Marketers learn from Engineers?

September 8, 2018 - 7 minutes read

Recent article by Nikolas Lekkas emphasizes on importance of bringing results by continuous problem solving, experimentation and data analysis. Marketers must now focus on bringing results by adopting growth hacking instead of just creating impressions.

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Read Complete article here:  [Link to Article]

Here are our key take away’s:

The essence of the engineer

An engineer is a person who applies scientific methods and interpretations to the analysis and solution of engineering problems.

To know how an engineer works, you have to understand how an engineer thinks and acts. The engineer possesses and uses key skills that, at some point, the marketing industry realised that could also be useful for them.

Problem Solving

When it comes to problem-solving and engineering, there isn’t always a right answer. This rule, or rather, the absence of one, applies in marketing as well. Therefore, there is no memorisation – only methodology. The possibilities for problem-solving are infinite, and this is part of the creative process of engineering and marketing.

Growth hackers borrow a number of techniques from engineers to solve problems they face every day, called problem-solving strategies:

  • Abstraction: Solving the problem in a model of the system before applying it to the real system
  • Analogy: Using a solution that solves an analogous problem.
  • Brainstorming: Suggesting a large number of solutions or ideas and combining and developing them until an optimum solution is found.
  • Divide and conquer: Breaking down a large, complex problem into smaller, solvable problems.
  • Hypothesis testing: Assuming a possible explanation to the problem and trying to prove (or, in some contexts, disprove) the assumption.
  • Lateral thinking: Approaching solutions indirectly and creatively.
  • Means-ends analysis: Choosing an action at each step to move closer to the goal.
  • Method of focal objects: Synthesizing seemingly non-matching characteristics of different objects into something new.
  • Morphological analysis: Assessing the output and interactions of an entire system
  • Proof: Try to prove that the problem cannot be solved. The point where the proof fails will be the starting point for solving it.
  • Reduction: Transforming the problem into another problem for which solutions exist
  • Research: Employing existing ideas or adapting existing solutions to similar problems
  • Cause analysis: Identifying the cause of a problem.
  • Trial-and-error: Testing possible solutions until the right one is found.

Numbers. Numbers everywhere.

Size, Acceleration, pressure, amplitude, density, frictional force. Engineers have a lot of data to take into account and a number of different units to express those: Hertz, watt, square metres, joule.

Similarly, digital marketing introduced a whole new chapter of numbers and metrics: Bounce rate, traffic, customer attrition, cost per lead. Many of them have their very own acronyms: CRO, CTR, BR and PPC.

When are you going to get the most email openings? On a Monday morning or a Thursday noon?

Where should your call-to-action button be? In the middle or at the end of your page?

How are specific channels different? Which channel should you use for awareness purposes and which one for acquisition?

The modern marketer wants not only to be successful, but they also want to know why they were successful when this happens. If you know why you became successful, you have higher chances to succeed again in your next task.

Tech-Savviness

Technology involves the applications of science that make our lives easier.  The simplest product of technology is the tool. From the hammerstone to the wheel, to the electric screwdriver, humanity learns to develop and use tools. Engineering and technology go hand to hand. Without tools, there can be no engineering.

Only a few years ago, this was not the case for marketing. Things have changed a lot since then, and this is why today we see ‘digital’ next to ‘marketing’.

Google Adwords, Mailchimp and Trello are the equivalents of the wrench, the multimeter and the test tube.

Typically, a Growth Hacker’s tools are considered to be everything that comes in use, depending on the occasion, but these are the main categories:

  • Analytics Platforms (Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Trak.io)
  • HTML editors or IDEs (Sublime Text, WebStorm, Eclipse)
  • Product & Project Management (Trello, Asana, Jira)
  • A/B Testing Platforms (Google Experiments, Taplytics)
  • Landing Page Platforms (Unbounce, LeadPages, Instapage)
  • Email Marketing (MailChimp, Mandrill, Intercom)
  • Social Media (Buffer, Social Sprout, SumAll)

Automation

A big branch of technology is automation. Automation engineering is about the automation of a task so that it doesn’t require any human intervention while trying at the same time to improve its reliability and efficiency.

Likewise, marketing automation refers to software platforms designed to automate marketing actions.

In the ever-changing environment of technology and digital reality, you always have to keep an eye out and move fast, or you will get left behind. Automation is what helps you move faster.

Marketing automation tools try to give save you time so you can focus on what’s important.

Real is the new cool.

From traditional marketing to growth hacking, decision making has also changed. The question that a traditional marketing boardroom would have is “Is this idea cool enough”. On the other hand, the modern digital marketing boardroom would ask “Is this idea high-performing enough”?

In growth hacking, more often than not, facts count more than feelings.

Software Engineering in Marketing

Agile – Scrum

Scrum is a framework for managing a certain work. It is designed for development teams of usually between three to nine members who break their work into actions and implement them within time boxed iterations, called sprints. But more on sprints later.