Mark Baartse, an ex-Microsoftie working at the Australian subsidiary and recently at Redmond, has started a series of posts providing some words of wisdom for marketers involved in online marketing (or pretty much any marketer than needs to work with a techie). From Mark's intro post:
"I’ve spent most of my working life as an interface between “business” people and “technology” people. I enjoy both ways of working so like sitting in the middle - in fact, I tend to actively seek work like that. I also get a unique view of both sides of the fence, where I can see both the business point of view, and the technology point of view, and there is a great and might chasm between them!"
In his first post of the series, 'Marketers, don't change your foundations', Mark states what may seem entirely obvious to 'techies' but can be overlooked when defining a project:
"The natural tendency of marketers is to say “I want it to do x, y and z, make it so”. The problem is, they are simply assuming that it will also do a, b and c, as that’s how it always works, doesn’t it? Sometimes yes, but just as often, no. If you want something, you need to state it, no matter how trivial it appears."
Ah yes, assumptions are dangerous things to make. "Never assume, for it makes an ASS of U and ME"

The solution? Mark gives advice - to the techies this time:
"In defense of marketers, techies: use proper, experienced business analysts who can help with this process, and don’t say “but it was in the functional spec I sent you” - no one reads functional specs. It’s tough, but get over it."
I'm looking forward to the rest of the series...Mark knows his stuff, a superb practioner and, to my delight, has recently re-started his blogging - 'The Holistic Web'.

Update, 4 Aug 05: Barry Dorrans shares his view:
"It's nice to see Mark Baartse, who I had the pleasure of working with at MSN UK, blogging again and raising the age old issue of "marketing versus techies". However I'm going to take issue with his latest entry..."