Re: Marketing vs. Engineering

Subject: Re: Marketing vs. Engineering
From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 12:15:20 -0600

>Michael Wing writes:
>>I also (for the first time I can think of) agree with Robert. He stated
>>things well. (however, get a discussion going about whether Engineering
>>or Marketing should have a greater role in documentation, and we will
>>shoot arrows at one another;^))
>Thank you very much. Shall I start? Okay, here goes:
>The ideal marketing department would have more input on the creation of
>ideal documentation than the ideal engineering department, because it's
>not how the product works inside that counts, it's how users can use
>it effectively.
>How this maps to real marketing departments, real documentation, and
>real engineering departments is open to question. Much depends on
>the mental models one has of the various departments, which are influenced
>by traumatic experiences early in one's career. At least, mine were.
> -- Robert

I guess I should respond to this seeming that the bait was taken (and
the resume issue appears to be dormant). However, I was hoping for some
inflammatory statements to use as a springboard. Robert, you seem to
have mellowed the past month or two? Or, maybe you are setting me up?

Anyway, here goes.

I agree with you up to a point. That point is that Marketing should
have a greater input than Engineering on what is said. However, they
should step out of the way on how it is said.

Most Marketing groups with whom I have associated like a lot of
graphics; lengthy, flowery introductory text; lists; and so forth. They
also like two manuals; a thin one that they could hand out at trade
shows and send as "freebies:, and a nice, thick, fluffy one they could
plop down on the customer's briefcase. They also like writers to
"sensationalize" what they write. How many more times do we have to use
trite phrases like "leading edge", "state-of-the-art", "top-down", "low
maintenance", and so forth. When left under too-much Marketing
influence, an exorbitant amount of time is spent on wording the
trademarks section, positioning graphics, and making sure the company
name appears 20 times per page (and bold face).

Therefore, I envision Marketing input as the coarse tune and Engineering
as the fine tune. IMO, as soon as the audience, scope, and general
contents are worked out through Marketing, get them out of the loop.
From this point on, use Engineering input to fill out the details. In
my opinion, Engineering often wants too little to do with the document
whereas Marketing wants too much to do with it. The problem is that
Marketing often wants to redirect the design, contents, and wording to
fit their needs. Don't believe me, try to document a necessary
work-around for a known problem.

Mike Wing

| Michael Wing
| Principal Technical Writer
| Infrastructure Technical Information Development
| Intergraph Corporation
| Huntsville, Alabama
| (205) 730-7250
| mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com

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