Lattice Engines was kind enough to include me in a recent list of their favorite marketing nerds. I’m certainly honored by the esteemed company they put me in, with true tech-savvy marketing wizards such as Ann Handley, Mike Volpe, Christopher Penn, David Raab, Joe Chernov, and many others whom I admire.
But I have to admit, I find the label flattering unto itself.
When I was growing up, “nerd” wasn’t usually a complimentary label. But then the Internet happened, and, well, nerds inherited the earth. For exhibits (A) and (B) of that conquest, see Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg. These days, nerds rule.
And our ranks are larger than ever, because with the web, smartphones, tablets, and all sorts of other cool tech devices, many people have embraced their inner nerd. The calculator watch is making a groovy comeback. Supernerd Nate Silver has been hired by ESPN. Heck, Google Glass was even featured in Vogue Magazine. Talk about geek chic.
In no profession is this truer than marketing, where the coolest people are tweeting about search engine optimization, big data analytics, real-time marketing. By the way, if you ever use the adjective “real-time” in any context, you are officially a nerd.
You don’t have to be a full-blown marketing technologist to be a marketing nerd. You just have to dig how technology can be used to do great marketing.
So, inspired by Lattice Engine’s #MKTGnerd contest — which I encourage you to enter — I thought I’d share 10 reasons why my heart is with the marketing nerd community.
10 Principles of the Marketing Nerd Ethos
1. Marketing nerds are perpetually curious. We like to hear about new gadgets, cool websites, sweet mobile apps. Whether marketing campaigns succeed or fail, we like to understand why. “Root cause” are two of the sexiest words in marketing nerd-speak.
2. Marketing nerds are lifelong learners. We’re voracious readers of books and blogs. We love presentations from smart people who teach us new things. We’ll sign up for an intriguing webinar in a heartbeat — but just make sure that it’s got substance, not fluff.
3. Marketing nerds are tinkers. We like to try new techniques and technologies hands on. After all, the best way to learn is by doing. We love running experiments. A/B testing was probably the world’s second greatest invention, just behind the espresso machine.
4. Marketing nerds are always willing to help. If there’s an opportunity for us to apply what we know towards helping someone out, we get a real endorphin rush from contributing. No need to thank us, but a good coffee beverage is always appreciated.
5. Marketing nerds love to fix things that are broken. If there’s a weird technical mystery somewhere in the bowels of your marketing automation configuration, we’ll tackle it with the deductive tenacity of Sherlock Holmes.
6. Marketing nerds love to invent things. With a little deftly used software — the digital equivalent of duct tape — and some imagination, we believe that anything is possible. Telling a marketing nerd that “it can’t be done” is like throwing down the gauntlet.
7. Marketing nerds respect facts over opinions. It’s not that we don’t have opinions — we do. But we’re more interested in the truth than being right. If Jerry McGuire had been about marketing, Cuba Gooding, Jr., would have been a marketing nerd chanting, “Show me the data!”
8. Marketing nerds celebrate other people’s achievements. We love to recognize the contributions of others on our team. But we also respect the accomplishments of marketers at other companies. We admire great ideas from wherever they come, and give credit where it is due.
9. Marketing nerds eschew trophies and awards. Maybe it’s because, up until this contest by Lattice Engines, there haven’t actually been awards for marketing nerddom. But it’s also because we value the work itself and take pride in results. Trophies are for jocks.
10. Marketing nerds have a sense of humor. We can laugh at ourselves. We like to make others laugh. Puns are an art form. Self-deprecating quips fall effortlessly from our lips. If there’s a witty blog post headline, we almost can’t help but click on it. (“Damn you, linkbait!”) Tom Fishburne cartoons adorn our cubicles.
Do you love marketing nerds too? Share your reasons in the comments.