UX without biz dev CX sucks eggs.

Here are some common mistakes business development professionals make.
  • Not taking the time to understand the user's business.
  • Impersonal, random, canned approach lines.
  • Too many "follow up" emails without value to the reader.
But the worst mistake of all is one I rarely see talked about: failing to talk UX in the user's language.

If technology marketers do a shitty job talking in the user's language, it's not because they're stupid. Arguably these are some of the smarter people in the room, generally speaking.

So what is the problem? I would argue that the issue has to do with a dysfunctional organizational culture, one that implicitly conveys a kind of classism: We are better than our customers.

Of course, nobody is actually going to say that they think the customer is stupid. But if you listen closely, you can hear this type of thinking in phrases like this:
  • "Their system is in the DARK AGES."
  • "Yeah, they REALLY could use some help."
  • "Talking to those folks was SCARY."
Don't get me wrong: I'm not judging people who develop and sell technology solutions. Just the opposite: I have a pretty low opinion of organizations that fail to take advantage of the latest and greatest technology, especially when it comes to customer service.

But this is just common sense: If you're selling to people who aren't literate at all in the type of product you're offering, and you fail to pay attention to what matters to them, then you are a poor salesperson.

Again, common sense: The only reason I can think of that people would leave money on the table is a psychological flaw that has morphed into a socially acceptable norm. And unfortunately, many technology experts do have that flaw of insecurity, because they're not good at a lot of other things in life but they are extraordinary with a computer.

As a result, when technology experts get together and create a workplace culture, they tend to hold pissing matches about who has the latest and greatest stuff, and who knows more than who, and so on and so forth the one-upmanship goes. All fine and good, maybe -- until they're sitting in front of a prospective customer, who has no idea what any of this is, or why it should matter to them, because at the end of the day they are sitting in front of a pile of problems and they don't have enough people to address them manually.

All fine and good until the technology experts not only fail to land the client, but they also fail to appreciate the kind of employee who can round out their offering and correct their dysfunctional group mentality. Specifically, tech marketers need:
  • Empathic, low-tech salespeople who appreciate the pain that prospective customers feel.
  • Networkers, who can find out what the social scene looks like in terms of who is adopting what technology and where.
  • Researchers, who can develop files on actual and potential competitors, and can assess the effectiveness of the organization itself.
  • Open source intelligence gatherers, who can put their noses to the ground and find out, online and off, who exactly is talking to who.
The most successful organizations, including technology service providers, are those which stay in close touch with the "human factor" while maintaining an unimpeachable edge in proactive, cross-spectrum automation with an equally unimpeachable hard-shell cybersecurity defense line.

Being in touch with people is far from a weakness for these companies.

But prizing their own superiority?

That's a chocolate cake that will never bake up good, no matter how much butter and sugar you mix into it.


Copyright 2018 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. This post is hereby released into the public domain. All opinions are the author's own. CC0 Creative Commons photo via Pixabay.

When '30 Rock' Spoofed the Civil Service

Civil servants have long been the butt of mean jokes and equally nasty headlines, frequently stereotyped as lazy workers in a wasteful, gnarled-up bureaucracy. More recently, for a variety of reasons, concerns have been raised about the hidden power wielded by the administrative state.

But deviance is a fact. What that means, in plain terms, is that every social structure, every institution, every organization, every group, and every team will have its dysfunctional aspects as well as a few extremely bad apples.

Deviance is a fact: It doesn't matter who's in charge.

Unfortunately, the unique dysfunctions of the civil service are very hard to understand unless you actually work there. The following hilarious scene, from Season 2, Episode 15 of the hit NBC show 30 Rock (original air date: May 8, 2008), highlights this perfectly.

Click here to watch: "Jack's First Day In Government"

In it, "Jack" (played by Alec Baldwin) joins the government and finds out pretty quickly from "Cooter (played by Matthew Broderick) that all is not quite what it seems from the outside.

Following is my transcription of the hilarious dialogue, which is about one minute in length.

Bureaucrat: "Hey, you must be Jack Donohue. Cooterburger, Vice Chair of Farm Subsidies, Acting Head of FEMA, Temporary Acting Head of the FBC while the Acting Head Is On Trial."
Jack: "Ah, you've had a lot of shakeups around here lately, huh?"
Bureaucrat (Cooter): "I couldn't disagree with you more. The Administration has been streamlined. And the media are so obsessed by the current election they've completely forgotten that we're here. It's an exciting time."
Jack: "I'm glad to hear it. I don't like to think of this President as a lame duck. I like to think of him as a lame...eagle." (There is a pause as drops of water fall down on the desk in front of him.) "The ceiling appears to be leaking."
Bureaucrat: "It's not. We've looked into it and it's not." (He turns to get some paper and a pen from the desk.) "If you have any questions, I'll write down my extension for you." (Bureaucrat writes with a stub on a small yellow Post-it pad.)
Jack: "Do you need a pen?"
Bureaucrat: "No. I've kind of gotten used to it."
Jack: "You don't have pens?"
Bureaucrat: "We're not in a recession."
Jack: "Boy, we've gotta crack the whip around here Cooter, you don't have pens, the roof is leaking."
Bureaucrat: "It's not, I'll show you the study. Hey, we have a meeting with the Appropriations Committee like now."
Jack: "Oh no, I'm not prepared."
Bureaucrat: "I know, I'm not drunk either. But we'll manage."

Copyright 2018 (not the script text) by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author's own. The author's content is hereby released into the public domain. Photo is a screenshot.

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