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Here’s a caution for those who want to leave their highly creative ad agency marketing jobs to build a career in the IT/Technology services industry. Ask at least three insiders when they did a real marketing assignment last time. If you get less than two enthusiastic answers, I recommend, you rethink your decision, unless your only motto is to get rich by night OR impress your neighbors with two abroad trips in a year OR you live in Bangalore and hence have three choices IT, IT, and IT.

Ironically, if your reason is either of the first two categories, the news is not too good either. The ongoing recession has sent a wakeup call to the IT industry to revisit its expense book and make corrections. Salaries are not growing any more at the pace as it did till a year ago. With cost cutting being the single mantra to survival, ‘international travel’ is a thing of past, at least for Marketing folks. If you are still adamant, you need to read the next couple of paragraphs as well.

Make sure you have done your homework well and clear about your prospective role. It is particularly critical for the senior folks who come with loads of experience and plans to launch a mega marketing campaign on the first week. Don’t rush. People are not in hurry this side. Majority of IT services firms doesn’t do any kind of marketing activities leaving corporate communications and PR. The real expectation from you would be to develop tons of collaterals, primarily brochures, flyers, case studies and white papers, and manage the company website. The other area you may get to work on is to design a booth or coordinate a long distance event. Again, not too many companies have budgets to participate in events. You will be lucky to manage three events in a year.

It is really pity that the marketing team is generally treated like any others support groups (including  their pay checks), like admin, finance, and so on, while it is supposedly the strategic arm of a firm, most often it ends up playing an order taker to Sales or Practice.

Product marketing is a complete different animal. Serious entrants should target product firms if they are generally interested in good marketing and dabble with Brands.

Marketers should go back to the drawing room and figure how they can add more value to an IT service firm, instead merely evolving as a collateral factory. This is a long battle and needs mindset change at the industry level. In the West, things are different. Companies are innovative in their approaches and do not shy away from experiments. Offshore based marketers have a long battle ahead before the industry recognizes Marketing as a strategic function. Till then marketer will continue to work as an order taker and remain as a hygiene factor.