A technical CEO learning marketing is the equivalent of a sales/marketing CEO learning development engineering.
I am not a developer. If push comes to shove, I can code in PHP, or develop shell scripts, and truth be told, I did take a couple of ECE courses in college; courses which inexorably told me I was not going to be a developer.
My path to becoming a marketer was unusual, I think, which has had both its advantages and disadvantages. I like to think I'm a "technical marketer," rather than what I call a "Madison Ave" marketer; not to dis the later, since they have their role to play in the grand scheme of marketing. By technical marketer, I don't mean one who only markets technical products, or who does only "product marketing" in the industry vernacular, but rather a marketer who uses processes and actionable metrics to achieve near term business objectives that lead to realizing company vision.
Through the evolution of their start-ups, entrepreneurs will face many inflection points, at which decisions made or not made will determine their future. The painful truth is that a wrong turn may lead to its demise, whereas a right turn leads to another inflection point.
Relevant to ongoing discussions about Blank's "Customer Development," I wish to highlight a few of these "inflection points."
As I mentioned before, non-marketing people tend to view marketing as this expensive, monolithic necessary evil, dominated by wasteful "Madison Ave" style marketing, i.e., advertisements, logos and slogans.
In a nutshell, Marketing=PR=Ads=Marcom=Branding.
This is far from the truth. Understanding the basics of marketing and whom to hire for marketing help, is critical for CEOs and technologists to understand.
For the last several years, many marketing professionals have been discussing and blogging about metrics-driven marketing. As a matter of fact, measuring marketing ROI has become its own lucrative market. Any marketing services vendor worth its salt is an ROI driven service and to determine ROI, one needs to measure metrics.
Hence, Market By Numbers. Marketing by numbers goes way beyond measuring ROI, however. "Market by numbers" also evokes an analytical, process-oriented approach to marketing.
Process-oriented and metrics driven marketing go hand-in-hand. While I wouldn't say that such marketing derives from Engineering processes, it is similar, and is also born of analytical thinking. We're not talking Madison Avenue here. (Not an inconsequential benefit of such marketing is the potential for a better relationship between marketing and technologists.) While "market by numbers" is maybe not so easy as "paint by numbers," the point is that there is a process -- distinct steps one can take -- which provides CEOs and boards:
business plans with tight and defensible financials;
marketing plans with well-defined, cost-effective budgets;
fast and optimized customer acquisition;
well-defined, scalable, and replicable sales;
mistakes, but assurance that lessons were learned.