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Do engineers really not value marketing?

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My international experience of marketing and engineering does not at all agree with this argument.

I am an electrical engineer by first discipline (IEng, Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology) and a Chartered Marketer by second (Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing) with an MBA specialising in strategic marketing and a post-graduate diploma in marketing.

I came into marketing as a Product Marketing Manager, following a career in engineering, with multinational companies such as Schlumberger and Honeywell, working in new product development and in new market initiatives for existing products. This is a very common entry route for professional engineers into marketing, especially in large, international companies.

Product managers are the responsible interfaces between production, design engineering and the marketplace, working with international sales teams and with actual and prospective customers. The activities in the field are concerned largely with market research, so that the factories design and build products that customers actually want.

I was always based in factories, cheek-by-jowl with product and design engineers, although travelling a lot around the world. And this is not a description of an uncommon career path – product management is a well-defined, but demanding (and rewarding), career position which requires additional studies in marketing and management, often to higher degree level (masters) after already qualifying as an engineer. If anyone wants more information on how to approach product management as a career, leading on to marketing and senior management, or on marketing and business development activities for engineering-based companies, then please do contact me, Alan Finn at FINNbiz Consultants.

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