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Culture Wars

By: Marie Alice Dibon
Posted: January 5, 2010, from the January 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 8 of 12

Marketing must act quickly to be doing a good job, and R&D must allow time for its projects to be perfected.

Both have to deal with the other’s contingencies. R&D has to learn to accommodate marketing’s often changing specifications in order to allow perfect market positioning and strategy, and marketing has to respect R&D’s need for minimal time spans in order to avoid technical problems down the line.

Again, understanding each other’s context by frequent contact and shared work responsibilities is the only way to overcome these barriers.

It is worth noting, however, that the real market shifts—those that profoundly affect a company, the market and business overall—do not happen overnight. It pays to keep your noses to the wind long enough to feel changes coming from afar, and the idea that quick change is lucrative is not one often demonstrated to be true.

Inward Versus Outward

Another common divider, but one that may be less obvious, is the fact that, in their relation with the corporate structure, technical departments and marketing work in different directions. To illustrate: essentially, R&D gets ideas and experimental raw materials from outside. It will process these ideas and materials so as to design new products. These will then be manufactured, again by assembling parts coming inward from the outside world to the heart of the company. There is centripetal movement of goods and ideas, all converging to produce prototypes and products. Centripetal and product-focused.