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Author Topic: Do programmers not listen enough? (A question regarding marketing)  (Read 2245 times)

Paul Keith

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Some guy linked to this SlideShare video in a topic discussing why Apple's strategy works and one of the key bit there was that in branding, the programmer has to almost separate himself from his personality or he has to delegate it to someone else who's in charge of selling and marketing the applictions:


Topic about Apple's Strategy:


This intrigued me and I wanted to know the opinions of a more tech-centric crowd. Not so much in business because obviously that has been hijacked by it's own culture but in indy-programming and open source applications. Is the gap really so much that there needs to be someone who should point to the programmer that their gui and marketing decisions are horrible or is this simply a case of business-speak tradition and it's not really relevant? ?(i.e. quality people will make quality products work and so and so forth and left brain/right brain stuff aren't as important?)


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Re: Do programmers not listen enough? (A question regarding marketing)
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2009, 09:05 PM »
I think it's a great point.. and there is probably a lot of truth in it.

And in fact I am a believer that at a certain point giving someone too many choices results in overload and is counter productive.

On the other hand, I think one could make a strong case that "Apple Logic" results in the marketing approach that basically relies on irrational brand worship to convince a large group of consumers that a certain product is a perfect match for them.

In other words, if you are a car manufacturer and you have 100 types of cars, you can take an approach of trying to help the customer find the car that's right for them.  If you sell only one car, your marketing strategy basically has to be: This is the perfect car for everyone, stats and features be damned.  And I think apple engages in a lot of that type of marketing, and it has always rubbed me the wrong way.

Just as an example of something really clever that i've seen apple doing is in selling a computer, they will run an entire commercial showing how someone can burn a cd of their music and give it to their friends, etc.  Now it doesnt matter that you can get a nice cd burning program for any computer -- the point is not to tout any unique or special features of the computer being sold, the point is to convince the consumer that if burning cds is something you want to do, you should get an apple pc.  I just find it weird.. Personally i'd rather read about unique features and specs and they can keep their logo and round one button mouse.

[again im not knocking everything that apple does at all -- they do a LOT of things right.  it's just that while i think their marketing department is very successful -- it's not something i would look up to or admire]


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Re: Do programmers not listen enough? (A question regarding marketing)
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2009, 03:48 AM »
Unfortunately: people are stupid and they prefer crap within nice box instead of strangely looking piece of art.

This "rule" explains a lot of bad software being sold (and advertised) which is market hit. Too many examples to even write a one.

Sadly, many coders do not understand (or don't want to) that and they try to focus on functionality and not on (ex.) icons. Many users are simpleminded and don't even know what they want. This is where marketing takes a place. People prones to judge books by its covers and managers sometimes take "must satisfy" approach into their responsibilities.... and that is what might be wrong. Managers are not coders, coders - not managers. Many times someone in the middle is missing: UI guy. Someone has to find good balance between look / feel and features set. Someone must know about users' behaviour and expectations. Ms and Cs know a lot but they are not right people for such task. If M takes complete control - you've got gold crap, in opposite situation - unknown power user tool. Most of the software needs to cut the power or make a crap less crappy ;)

I will glorify UI Designers no more but I remember the sentence from one of Bruce Eckel's books (IIRC):
"All developers think they can implement excellent UI but in my entire life I have never met such person."


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Re: Do programmers not listen enough? (A question regarding marketing)
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2009, 11:19 PM »
The "UI guys" that you refer to were present, in a manner of speaking, in every engineering firm with which I was associated. Their specific discipline is called "Human Factors". Their job is to try and take products - of varying kinds - before they are completed and design the interfaces in a way that people will have a natural work flow that is virtually self-evident when they look at the product.

These engineers were most plentiful in critical designs, such as control panels for nuclear power stations, chemical plants, refineries, etc.