Re: Lisa Higgin's "Marketing Writing"

Subject: Re: Lisa Higgin's "Marketing Writing"
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2000 16:56:13 -0700

On the list web site, Lisa Higgins wrote:

>Unfortunately, and much to my chagrin, marketing isn't quite as diabolical as I'd been led to believe. So far, >I've not been asked to lie or commit any serious actionable offenses in my line of duty.

The idea that many tech-writers have that their work is value-free
is an interesting case of self-delusion. How many writers document
military applications? Tools to enable off-shore gambling? Snooper
ware for e-commerce? These areas must employ hundreds, if not
thousands, of tech-writers, yet all of them are morally questionable
by some standards. Yet the same people who are employed documenting
these applications feel free to dump on marketing writers without
stopping to read what they are actually writing.

Of course, there's despicable marketing writing. But, the truth is,
tech-writing can be equally questionable at times.

>No, I don't use bug logs as a primary source for my marketing copy, but what I write is not fluff, either. >It's broad, big picture, market-centered stuff. I take technical information and pick out the parts of it that >specific audiences want to see.

Depending on the business, marketing can be very technical, and a
marketer who doesn't know the technical end of the product being
sold is a liability to the company. I remember an especially
embarrassing case in which a marketer told a potential partner that
its software was too hard to install - simply because he didn't know
how to uncompress a file. It left me wondering what my best tactic
was: to pretend to a coughing fix and rush out, leaving him to face
the consequences, or sink slowly down into my seat and hide under
the table until everyone had gone.

Anyway, thanks for a good article, Lisa. And, in case some people on
the list haven't noticed the regular articles by Lisa and others
posted to the list web-site, let me say that they're well worth
seeking out.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux

"Haven't you ever harbored the secret thought that Huck and Jim are
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our reach, so much more real are they than the shoe clerk who fitted
us just a forgotten day ago?"
- Dan Simmons, "Hyperion"

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