Re: [Re:] Writing vs. Marketing

Subject: Re: [Re:] Writing vs. Marketing
From: "Dan S. Azlin" <dazlin -at- SHORE -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 1995 21:57:55 -0400

On Wed, 20 Sep 1995, John Gear wrote:

> >From: "Amy E. Wineburgh" <aewinebu -at- MAILBOX -dot- SYR -dot- EDU>
> >Subject: Writing vs. Marketing?

> >At what point does writing become marketing? How does one define this?
> (snip)
> > Anyone
> >with an opinion about where the boundaries of marketing end (and if they
> >do) and writing begins, would be of great help to me.

> GREAT question, and one that I've been thinking about a lot since I attended
> a Janice King (leader of the STC PIC on Marketing Communication) talk.

> I think I'm coming around to saying "It's technical communication if you see
> your job as informing the audience so that they can make the best possible
> decision for their needs. It's marketing communication when you consciously
> let your needs and desires influence how you inform the audience."
This begs the issue that all written communications have an editorial
slant. If I am doing an article for a trade magazine that presents a
technical topic, albeit from the point of view of one vendor's product, I
am still engaging in "technical communication," despite the
editorial/marketing slant.

It also begs the issue of using "technical communications" for marketing
purposes beyond the original intent of the project. Does the alternative
use change the intrinsic nature of the project after the fact.

> (I'm attempting to recognize that we're all influenced by our own opinions
> but that's a far different thing from conscious trimming your work because
> you want the audience to make a certain decision.)

Isn't that what editors do every day?

> Another great question is what are the ethical implications of marketing
> communication. It's quite possible to make a marketing piece appear to be
> completely "technical" and unbiased--and yet be grossly slanted. Should we
> even think of marketing communication as a subset of technical communication
> ... or just a subset of advertising?

Everything that a company makes and places in front of a customer -- even
technical documentation -- serves a marketing/advertising purpose by
contributing to the image of the company and it's products. There is a
saying in sales: "It's easy to make the first sale, but it's harder to
make the second and third if the customer isn't happy with the first."
...or something like that. The point it, everything we produce
contributes to the customer's perception of the quality of the product
he/she has purchased. This is the justification for improving Quality,
spending a little more effort to get the layout just right, editing a
passage to improve its readability, ad infinitum. It's all advertising,
and it's all a part of marketing.

Dan Azlin ** WORD ENGINEERS, Technical Writing & Publishing **
Ph/Fax: 508-921-8908 18 School Street
Internet: dazlin -at- shore -dot- net Beverly, MA 01915-4851

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