Marketing Should Be Involved In Many Company Processes

Seth Godin points out a couple views on whether marketing should be involved in the creation of user manuals.

I agree with Darren that many marketers may have a tendency to "spin" things or gloss over technical details but I think that is a lot easier to control through a joint effort than trying to get the technical team to write at a clarity level that would make me want to read the manual and that is Kathy's main point.

The existance of information means nothing if it is not widely absorbed by others. This is why I personally perfer things like the Teach Yourself Visually series of books on computers rather than the really dry information that comes from Microsoft.

I'll go a few steps further - how about getting marketing involved in these other processes:

Billing: We send these to customers all the time - why not get a marketer to look at it and make it both pleasing to the eye and simple to understand, possibly working in additional ways to communicate with the customer via the bill. When you are sitting down to negotiate a T&M bill for $500,000 aren't you really "selling?" Wouldn't you rather have the bill as easy to read and understand as possible? We spend a lot of time with clients on these details to help improve cash flow.

Other Customer Documentation: In construction we deal with a lot of documents that go to the customer including change orders, requests for information, etc. It really does not take that long for a marketer to design these customer facing forms to match the look and feel of the company's overall marketing. This is definitely noticed by clients.

Internal Forms: Why not have your internal forms designed with some style? Employees are proud of the company they work for. Why should they be any less important than the customers we spend big $$ marketing to?

Employee Handbooks, Safety Manuals & Traning Material: A key to getting maximum performance out of the organization is documenting your processes including safety and then training new team members with the materials. Often these documents take on the same "Do I really have to read all of this" format that user manuals take on. Why not make these into exciting page turners? Do you think your safety numbers would improve if your safety material was actually compelling to read rather than a bunch of 10pt font checklists?

Engineers believe that the content is what matters - that is true but if no one is compelled to read it then the best content in the world is useless. A joint effort with marketing will create huge performance improvements both externally and internally.

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Kathy Sierra makes some great points in her post called "The Best User Manuals EVER" about how valuable people find documentation. We discussed this previously in a post - Marketing Should Be Involved In Many Company Processes If you are... [Read More]