Marketing decisions ⓥ Technical decisions

Created 7th April, 2006 16:14 (UTC), last edited 8th April, 2006 15:08 (UTC)

I hope most of us are familiar with the idea of quantitative and qualitative arguments.

A quantitative argument can be solved by finding the right numbers.

Is the Eiffel tower taller than the Brooklyn Bridge?

You go find the numbers and you have your answer. At the other end of the spectrum are the qualitative questions like,

Do you prefer beer or wine?

Hopefully it seems reasonable that this comes down to preference. We can argue, and try to persuade or fellow beer drinkers and wine drinkers of the error or correctness of their ways (as we see it) but the decision is still down to them.

Are you over six feet tall?

This isn't open to argument in the same way as

Do you like broccoli?

Of course the loudest arguments are between those who see quantitative positions qualitatively and vice-versa. This is where leaving the room (and taking all sharp and blunt objects with you) is sometimes the best choice…

So marketing and technology?

I think there is the same distinction in technology discussions. There is a spectrum of questions which are predicated somewhere between marketing and engineering.

Should my computer be black with blue lights or blue with black lights?

This is (I hope obviously) a marketing question, whereas,

Which voltage should my computer operate at?

is a technical matter.

Now there are questions that fall in between these extremes, but in the same way as understanding how the continuum between purely quantitative questions and qualitative questions helps us to better define our position (and to respect that of others) so does an understanding of the continuum between a marketing and technology questions help us to (hopefully) avoid futile arguments.