In Steve Rubel’s recent AdAge post, he highlights an emerging career path: The Geek Marketer. Working closely with the Fortune 500, Steve has seen the evolution of this role within the corporation:
With CEOs demanding accountability and time spent online climbing, chief marketing officers are on a push to embed technology into every facet of their strategy. But marketers and technologists are not exactly two peas in a pod. They speak different languages. Marketers like GRPs (gross ratings points). Geeks like APIs (application protocol interfaces). Dilbert mercifully pokes at these differences. It’s all very Mars and Venus.
Enter Geek Marketers. These cross-trained specialists are fluent in both worlds and bridge them. They are marketers by trade, yet they also have a hard-core interest in technology and social anthropology. As curious individuals, they are constantly studying how digital advances are changing our culture and media. Armed with these insights, they regularly apply them in a marketing context by working closely with brand teams to codify new best practices.
I’m quite familiar with this dichotomy. I’ve had the words “online” or “Internet” and “marketing” in my title for the last 12 years. E-Commerce companies inherently need staff to bridge these worlds, and have had large departments of geek marketers for years. ROI analysis is built into the DNA of those that play in the search and affiliate sandboxes. The intersection of brand marketing, online community, social media and open technology platforms make this world so much more interesting. And to Steve’s point, this new synergy is having a large impact on how corporations are structured and how they serve the needs of their customers.
For all those young college students out there, listen to Steve. It’s a great field and one I have been proud to be a part of for many years – through the ups and downs. I’m not alone. Jim Kukral likes being a geek marketer. Michael Fassnacht named his blog Marketing Geek. This is an dated list, but there’s some good info here: Geek Marketing 101.
I was walking down the street in NYC last Wednesday and I saw a guy wearing this T-Shirt. Well, his was black. But I chuckled and gave him some street props.
Hope all my geek marketer friends are having a good Labor Day 2007. Remember to step away from the keyboard, even just for a short while.