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IT, marketing collide

IT, marketing collide

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You can use marketing techniques to pull strings when managing staffMANAGEMENT SPEAK: I try to match people's interests with the work I assign to them.

TRANSLATION: You'll do what I tell you.

When cultures collide, two things can happen. Tragedy can strike, as it did during Spain's conquest of the Aztecs, or both can enrich each other, as when St. Patrick brought Roman literacy to Ireland. (If you're interested, read How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill. It's a wonderful read, and you'll gain important insights into Western history.)IT and marketing departments are equally divergent cultures, and they're colliding in the business landscape. Tragedy can strike here through the creation of just-too-late applications. (The tragedy is to your career.)Enrichment can occur as well, and it's going to happen to you today through the simple act of reading on.

This will be a family affair: I'm going to pass on some wisdom from Dear Ol' Dad (DOD), who in other circles is known as the Great Guru of Direct Marketing. (He's also the chairman of BJK&E Direct, and a tough act to follow.)DOD proposed five great marketing motivators years ago, and they do work (which means that using them makes the cash register ring more than not using them). They are: fear, greed, guilt, need for approval, and exclusivity.

I know they sound like many of the deadly sins, but hey, we're talking about effective marketing, not moral purity. Real people respond to these, whereas they don't respond when you appeal to their better natures.

You want to be a good manager, and to be a good manager you have to motivate people. Here's where you can learn something from great marketers - use their insights into motivation. Yes, you too can get people to do what you want through appropriately applying these motivators.

Sound manipulative? Sorry. Either you can learn to motivate people or you can't. If you can, you'll do so by learning specific techniques, which work better than vague generalities. And if applying specific motivational techniques is manipulative, then so be it; by that definition all of management amounts to nothing more than manipulation.

How do you apply the five motivators to management? The same way porcupines mate: very carefully. Why? They're not equal. Each has its own uses, contexts, and consequences, which you need to understand.

Let's start with fear, the most powerful motivator known. Take someone who's overweight and out of shape and scare them. Zoom! They've run a five-minute mile!

You have plenty of power to instil fear in your employees, and it can be a useful tool.

"You're under-performing, Clyde," you might say, "and if you don't pick up the pace, I'll have to find someone else who can do the job." Zoom! You won't make friends this way, but you're likely to get more work out of Clyde, whose job is in danger.

Don't rule out the use of fear because it is somehow "wrong". When you need to create a sense of urgency for any reason you'd be wrong to not instil fear.

"If we don't change how we do business, we're out of business," is a valid message to give employees if it is true. Without a message like that, few employees will embrace painful changes.

Here's what you won't get when you motivate with fear: creativity. Why?

There's another response to fear: diving for cover. Creativity involves risk, and fearful people won't be in the mood to take risks.

"Be creative or die!" is a useless message.


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