Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

The Doc fires back!

I hope some of you enjoyed my Daily Fix write-up on Doc Searls’ argument against marketing. My Daily Fix article had a fair amount of participation from the MarketingProfs community and for that I am thankful. While tracking similar arguments, I noticed that Doc Searls’ had responded to Hugh Macleod’ take on the same topic.

Here’s the gist. 5 points:

1. Doc was preaching to the choir:

Remember I’m writing this essay for Linux Journal. Our core readership is approximately 100% technical.

These people, on the whole, dislike and distrust marketing. When they look for products, they want unvarnished truth and facts, as fast and directly as possible. When they make products, they want those products to be as useful as possible.

2. Techies hate marketing:

Too often what they are told to make, by their own marketing organizations, turns out to be something that customers don’t want, or is off-base one way or another. There is general agreement among technology creators that many mistakes could be avoided if makers and users were in closer touch. But the “strategic” imperatives of marketing often get in the way. Because strategic stuff tends to be detached. In more ways than one.

3. Doc is confusing me:

In many companies it is not only bad form for the actual makers of technology to talk or relate with the actual users; it is also bad form for marketing to do the same. Because that’s sales’ job. Sales people are the ones who touch the customer. Not marketing. And certainly not engineers. The world has changed, but the bureaucratic templates haven’t.The engineers themselves are also conflicted. To a large degree, they like their isolation.

Yet nobody really is isolated. That’s the key point here. What do you do in a world where everybody is essentially zero distance from everybody else?

4. Doc is like the rest of us — marketers:

I’ll cop to being hyperbolic in the way I put some of the points I made in the piece.

5. Did I mention, Techies hate marketing:

But The System is either breaking or broken, by the fact that The Net removes distance. It obviates org charts. It makes many “strategic” decisions ludicrous when practical alternatives are beyond abundant, and inherently unmanageable.Too much of marketing still acts as if the Net isn’t there, or has not caused profound and utter disintermediation of what marketing did for decades. That’s why many techies hate it.


I believe the marketing community is united in its response to some of Doc’s comments and conclusions. I’m sure many progressive tech marketers (e.g. Tara Hunt, Jeremiah Owyang, etc…) believe that the marketing/pr/advertising landscape is radically metamorphosizing into one that Doc envisioned via the Cluetrain. However, I believe none of it obviates the need for Marketing esp. in today’s corporate world. You need marketing to be your voice to your customers and prospects because as Tara explains, in many cases your techies and the customer may be speaking different languages.

So, once again, “Thanks, Doc” for the Cluetrain. It IS changing the world of marketing.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s