Perception is Reality - we need a director of marketing

What Does the Outside of Perl Look Like? asked Ovid and listed some of the negative images Perl probably has from the outside. I commented on his blog but let me write here more in detail.

When I did my MBA I also took classes in marketing that I barely passed.
So I am an authority to say that

We don't know how to deal with this!

One of the things we learned there is that Perception is Reality.

I remember two interesting case studies. In one case study people were given two shopping lists and had to rate the women who had those shopping lists. The only difference was that in one list coffee was listed in the other one Nescafe. The group whose list contained Nescafé, described the woman as lazy, unorganized, careless, bad wife and mother.

So the Nescafe addressed the perception and their message changed to women who buy instant coffee can spend more time with their family.

I even found a recent blog post about this: How Nescafe Convinced Women

The other one was I think about Exon, the oil company. Due to its heavy investment in telling about its green projects for it was perceived as one of the most environment friendly companies.

In this blog entry I found some comments that would indicate that they are far from really being environment friendly.

Back to Perl

Of course I am not suggesting that Perl is either bad for the environment or that we need to be sexists but that changing the frequency of releases of perl or changing the language itself won't lead to a change in perception. In fact probably we don't need to make any changes in most of the areas where Perl is perceived negatively? (I love the questions of some people: Can perl access web sites?). What needs to be changed a lot more is the perception.

Why are these perceptions?

The other thing I wrote in in that response to Ovid is that because perception is reality, you won't really be able to get an answer to a straight question of Why do you think Perl is unreadable.
That's just how it is. That's reality. For the responding person.

In any case I think

we need professional help

I think we need someone who has marketing background and who is being paid to improve the marketing message of Perl. I don't think it can be done by volunteers of TPF of EPO. This is not perl coding we enjoy to do, nor do we know how to really do that.

This person might be employed by TPF or by EPO or by some organization that has vested interest in the well being of Perl. One of her first tasks will probably be a market research finding out what are the perceptions and what would be good to be as perceptions. Such research probably can be done relatively quickly but marketing is a long term process. So whoever sets up such a position needs to be able to commit to long term work both in supporting and in financing the marketing director.

Published on 2009-07-25 by Gabor Szabo

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