Re: "Technical documentation is the new sales"

Subject: Re: "Technical documentation is the new sales"
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2011 10:20:37 +0200

Some years ago, I was at an STC chapter meeting in Dallas when we heard from a docs manager from Texas Instruments.

He said that a few years prior to that, TI conducted a survey of its customers asking what differentiating factors had caused them to buy components from TI instead of its competitors.

The number one answer by a large margin was the quality of the documentation--they said that with TI products, they knew in advance exactly what each component could do and how to implement it.

He added that for about two or three years, the docs department was flying high--before things descended once more to the "afterthought" ranking it had historically "enjoyed."

In my case, I spent considerable time over the years doing marketing communications as well as tech docs. Thus, my customary mode was to create tech docs that could easily be used as sales collateral wherever possible. Essentially, this meant striving for such clarity and organization that people unfamiliar with the product could easily and quickly find what they needed to know--whether they were evaluating for purchase or merely a new user of the product itself.

In my view, this is a good practice anyway as a general proposition.


Steve Schwarzman <steve -at- writersbookmall -dot- com>

I think he might be overstating his case. What his examples show, I think,
is that documentation can make or break a sale for people looking to see the
details of whether a product will work for them - but many purchase
decisions are not based on this level of detailed information.

Steve Schwarzman


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