Here’s what separates a good marketer from a bad one

Here’s what separates a good marketer from a bad one


The following is a guest piece by Dave Kaufman, senior director of global marketing for VR, MR and metaverse at Meta, that is inspired by Ben Horowitz’s seminal essay “Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager.” Opinions are the author’s own.

Good marketers know the difference between strategy, vision, tactics and mission. Bad marketers use these terms interchangeably. Good marketers value marketing education, continued learning and expertise. Bad marketers see the field as simply requiring good gut instinct (and maybe a TikTok account).

Good marketers understand the 4Ps and focus on diagnosis, then strategy, then execution. Bad marketers focus on promotional tactics first. Good marketers understand the value of market orientation, research, segmentation, targeting and positioning. Bad marketers dismiss these concepts as irrelevant to the “digital age.” 

Good marketers understand the competitive landscape, the intricacies of the market, their company, its competitive advantages, weaknesses and the audience. Bad marketers speak to these concepts with broad generalizations, platitudes and useless user personas (“millennial Michelle”).

Good marketers understand that “product” is one of the 4Ps. Bad marketers think their job kicks in once a product is developed. Good marketers are viewed by product managers as an essential partner. Bad marketers aren’t thought about by product managers until it’s time to make an ad.

Good marketers know their numbers. Bad marketers can’t tell you their goals. Good marketers frequent dashboards and brand tracking. Bad marketers celebrate when a new campaign launches and then assume everything is going to plan. Good marketers are trusted across a company and with executives. Bad marketers don’t earn trust because they talk more about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs than the profit and loss statement.

Good marketers understand what it takes to write a great brief. Bad marketers think writing a brief is as easy as filling out a form. Good marketers are trusted by creatives and agencies, because they understand the difference between their role and that of a creative director. Bad marketers see themselves as Don Draper. Good marketers understand the value of great creative, and what makes it impactful. Bad marketers see creative as a nice-to-have or a final coat of paint. Good marketers understand what “brand” actually means and the business value it creates. Bad marketers think brand means font choice and logo design.

Good marketers understand the intricacies of marketing effectiveness, efficiency and the measurement of both. Bad marketers assume the analytics people will figure it out. Good marketers think about incrementality, measuring long-term impact and marrying the two. Bad Marketers can only speak to vanity metrics and focus on last-touch attribution. Good marketers measure themselves against in-market success. Bad marketers measure themselves only against recognition at Cannes.

Good marketers understand how to drive engagement, retention and referral. Bad marketers think their job ends with acquisition.

Good marketers take responsibility for delivering, without making excuses. Bad marketers blame the lack of budget, the org design and their cross-functional partners for all hurdles. Good marketers push others into the spotlight. Bad marketers take credit for success and blame everyone else for failures.

Good marketers understand the importance of documentation, communication and information sharing. Bad marketers assume others are stupid for not being up to speed. Good marketers constantly improve processes and identify scalable tools and infrastructure. Bad marketers brute force through the same manual steps and inefficiencies over and over.

Good marketers aren’t afraid to say “I don’t know.” Bad marketers B.S. their way through uncertainty. Good marketers are direct, challenge assumptions and don’t subscribe to “that’s how we’ve always done it.” Bad marketers are timid and use phrases like “that’s above my pay grade.”

Good marketers are hard to find. Bad marketers are a dime-a-dozen.

Correction: This story has been updated to correctly state the title of Dave Kaufman, senior director of global marketing for VR, MR and metaverse at Meta.


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