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Devs, Designers and Marketers Need a Rosetta Stone

Let me start by saying that I want people to help me clarify and understand the perspective of developers and designers. I can readily admit that being a marketing consultant skews me toward an outcome or ROI-focus and maybe I’m missing the future-looking meme or zeitgeist that a more creative type might be seeing.

I was at a #WP10 event and the subject of Flickr and Facebook for photos came up. Correction: I brought it up. I was sitting at a table with 3 WordPress developers and 1 designer. I was the only person there that was really about marketing. For me, it was an opportunity to tap the perspective of a group that often gets marginalized or ignored in business discussions.

The conversation was promising and I got into a back-and-forth with @professor/Jesse. Then things went weird.

From my perspective, all I heard from Jesse was that his wife used Facebook for all her photo needs and had plenty of storage, so Flickr had no value. I talked about the value of storage as a selling point regardless of the actual needs (more = better). But that didn’t seem to hit a cord with anyone at the table. I can’t say that I’m sold on that as a USP, but I know that basic numbers can win customers (see the MegaPixel marketing for digital cameras as an example).

I then shared, that I’ve found that conversion rate was higher for Flickr photo traffic than for Facebook. What happened next just confused me — another Dev at the table felt the need to comment that I’d basically given the argument to Jesse. I can accept losing an argument, but I really don’t know what I lost in this situation.

From my perspective, this is what I said:

  1. Flickr has held on to photography buffs and power users
  2. Flickr is giving way more storage than Facebook
  3. Flickr has the opportunity to acquire new users because it can promote the large amount of storage
  4. Flickr can make inroads with anyone sharing a lot of photos (Instagram users are an example)

From my perspective, this is what I heard from @professor:

  1. My wife posts a lot photos on Facebook
  2. She shares more than most people and qualifies as a power user of photos
  3. Flickr doesn’t present any reason for her to switch
  4. Flickr doesn’t have any appeal for someone already on Facebook.

I’m going to take as a given that I missed some nuance. I’m assuming that Jesse dropped some knowledge and I totally missed it. THIS IS THE PROBLEM. If I’m missing some knowledge from a guy that literally wrote a book on WordPress and has respect from WordPress folk in NE, then I want to know how I’m missing this. I was also actively looking for his insight, so imagine how bad it is for companies that only see developers as cogs in the machine.

More to the point, how do I integrate development and design thinking into any project if I can’t understand the points they are trying to make?

Even more to the point, if we are living in a world defined by design then what happens when the person leading marketing doesn’t understand the points of the people actually leading the build?

Published in Rants Working Blog

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