Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The tech folks tend to over estimate the state of thinking. There is an impedance mismatch between the state of the art and the state of the buyer.

By Mark Helfen

"The tech folks tend to over estimate the state of thinking," said Kelly Dempski. "There is an impedance mismatch between the state of the art and the state of the buyer."

Dempski is the speaker at the next SVForum MarketingSIG, 6:30 on Monday, August 8 at EMC, our regular meeting place. In his presentation, titled "Social Media in the Real World," he will discuss what he has learned in his 17 years at Accenture, where he currently holds the title of Senior Director, MultiChannel Interactions R&D Group at Accenture Technology Labs.

Dempski's role at the labs is to investigate new products and ideas, targeted to keep Accenture's client base educated and ahead of the technology curve. He both produces written documents of what he learns, and presents to executives. Given the customer base of Accenture, its not surprising that the viewpoint of the executives he interacts with is different than the typical Silicon Valley crowd. The majority of Accenture's 200,000 consultants are installing and implementing IT systems at "old line" companies - CRM systems, or financial systems like SAP. A typical example might be a manufacturer, selling to other businesses. Dempski used the example of a business that sells large tanks of compressed gas.

"Its eye opening what real people say about technology trends, like social media," said Dempski. The differences are not only generational, though that's a partial explanation. Industry, location, culture, and market all can affect this. People in a "different context" have different preconceptions.

"The rest of the world is quite different than we have in the valley."

Geography and national identity also make a difference. Dempski spent time in Europe, taking with executives and heard a very different story than the U.S., particularly about privacy.

The job of technology marketing is to "connect the dots," explaining and translating products and ideas to the language used in this world. There are business opportunities missed because these ideas aren't considered.

Even savvy companies sometimes have problems with this. Dempski told of having some conversations with people at Google as Google Apps became available, and there was not much consideration as to how a "60 year old IT guy" might think about shared applications replacing something installed on a system, like Microsoft Word.

So come to the August meeting, and get some understanding about the rest of the world, away from the valley.

ALSO The MarketingSIG and the Engineering Leadership SIG are co-hosting a meeting on August 18 - Rapid Rapport: Creating Influence on Demand. Check it out here

PLEASE REGISTER IN ADVANCE for Social Media in the Real World at our Meetup page:


Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant.

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