Marketers from Mars

09 Feb

I was reading a report this week put out by ExactTarget called Marketers from Mars.  It described how marketing professionals tend to be on the cutting edge of technology, trying to discover the next best way to connect with their customers.  The report cautioned that marketers should remember that even though they are on Twitter and they pay attention to ads on Facebook, the averages consumer isn’t and doesn’t.  Bear with me while I share a couple paragraphs from the summary section of the report:

Decades ago, marketers were not explorers. They dealt only in the well-settled lands of television, radio, and print. Their form of social media was a three-martini lunch.

Today, however, every marketer must have a streak of restlessness and willingness to embrace the new. The challenge is how to balance new technologies with those that consumers use. Indeed, the best marketers will be those who can keep one eye on the future while meeting the needs of today’s audiences, seizing the opportunities of today’s devices, and navigating the evolving rules of today’s channels.

It got me thinking… not about marketing, but about educational technology.  I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.  I have an account for Learnist, Prezi,, and as of today, for Gliffy, too.  I have created voice threads and screencats.  I write a blog, and I follow several blogs.  I dig Diigo.  So I have a lot of tools at my disposal when it comes to creating an instructional design, but does the typical adult learner even know what half of those things are?

Go back and re-read that excerpt above, substituting “educators” for “marketers” and “learners” for “consumers.”  With the exception of the three-martini lunch (and maybe even that fits?), those paragraphs could have just as easily been written about today’s evolving education landscape of hybrid classes, mobile learning, and MOOCs.

As I sit down this weekend to work on a design for a new adult learning theory class aimed as busy, overworked, and non-digital native medical educators, what is going to be the best use of technology to create a meaningful learning experience?  Should I focus on the technologies they are already familiar (maybe even comfortable) with, or do I push the boundaries just a bit to stretch their thinking about what tools might be useful in their own teaching?



I’m leaning toward the latter, in part because I have truly enjoyed being introduced to so many new technologies, but also because the students these medical educators are teaching do embrace technology, and I think it will enhance the educators’ effectiveness with those digital natives to meet them where they are.  Again, referring to the Martian marketers, “When marketers are considering all options for their cross-channel marketing strategies, they should not only be thinking ahead, but also maintaining a connection to how today’s consumer are behaving and reacting online.”

Commencing countdown, engines on… look out, Mars. Here we come!


Posted by on February 9, 2013 in ADLT 642


Tags: , ,

5 responses to “Marketers from Mars

  1. MelKoch

    February 11, 2013 at 8:19 am


    Thank you for articulating this so well! I, too, am worried how much I should push technologies in my design work. I think you and Sara did a great job on your first project, but with a new class to analyze comes a different set of learners. I agree that we need to give them tools to work with that they can use in their own classrooms. It seems like practicality and application are most important to this program, and designing a class around those boundaries is definitely a new challenge!


  2. jkincann

    February 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    “what tools might be useful in their own teaching?” If you show them the value of the new tool or strategy, they will be willing to learn. Purpose first, then tool choice.

    I’m pleased you are leaning toward not ignoring new technologies just because they are new… ignore them if they don’t suit their purpose.

  3. Lindsey

    February 13, 2013 at 6:54 am

    One thing I wish we had asked Dr. Carter about is the access/readiness to the new technologies in the new medical education building. Will everything be up and running by June 10, what software is already installed, etc. When I went back to my analysis notes, I realized I had written little down about the physical space of the class meetings and what hardware Dr. Carter will have access to model. Regardless, exposure to new approaches and tools is a good thing and I look forward to hearing suggestions!

  4. lsniestrath

    February 13, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    I look forward to learning about your choice(s) and how they unfold. I have found that many adults are rather hesitant to start too many new tools at one time. I guess that whatever you select will depend on what is available, what is necessary for the work and the readiness of the group. You’re fortunate to be on the ground floor of a new project. Sounds intriguing!

  5. wallysworld52

    February 13, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    These are some very interesting thoughts, Joanne. I personally think that a little “push” is a good thing for adult learners. On the other hand, designing too much technological application for the novice can be overwhelming and discouraging. One must find the perfect balance. This is a great analogy and thanks for sharing the information.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: