Re: Marketing vs. Engineering

Subject: Re: Marketing vs. Engineering
From: Moshe Koenig <alsacien -at- IBM -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 1996 19:57:59 -0800

Matthew Stern wrote:

> I've worked with marketing people who are not only the enemy of > development, but the enemy of manufacturing, purchasing,
> sales, accounting, management, or anyone who is trying to get the
> product out in an efficiently, timely, and cost-effective manner.

While I strongly believe that marketing and engineering should be
each given a healthy space and lots of room between them, there are
places in which there are overlaps. A good technical writer has to
be sensitive enough to marketing issues to stay in touch with what
the market wants and needs. Writers who write copy for marketing who
are too far removed from engineering can only do a superficial job.

I worked in a major international computer hardware company in which
the marketing department clearly considered itself a self-appointed
elite and walked around with noses planted firmly in the air, letting
all of engineering see what ungodly adenoids they had. The marketing
manager was probably the greatest offender, in his pinstripe uniform
that made him look as if he had gotten lost while trying to find the
set of L.A. Law; I remember him droning about how the way engineering
worked wasn't customary in the company. He couldn't say one decent
word about anyone in engineering; a bigger wet blanket you'd never
find. It hardly surprised me when the site closed; I think he was
sent to torpedo the whole business. He did it beautifully.

It was the only time that I actually saw marketing as an adversary,
but the impression will remain with me forever. I steer clear of
marketing assignments that include technical writing as part of the
job and vice versa; I prefer to keep the two separate because they
appeal to two distinct segments of the population.

- Moshe


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