A Lil' Bit of Sizzle in the Steak (was John Posada's "Producing Books")

Subject: A Lil' Bit of Sizzle in the Steak (was John Posada's "Producing Books")
From: Kelli Bond <versakel -at- EARTHLINK -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 01:03:13 -0800

John Posada wrote:

> I think I see where the confusion is. I've done alot of marketing
> communication and it was always done based on solid business
> justifications. Therefore, I see marcom as a good thing to be able to
> use whenever possible.

It all boils down to satisfying the decision-makers' WII-FMs ("what's in
it for me/us"). This requires, among other things, "flexing" writing
styles and content to fit the needs of whoever ultimately signs off on a
purchase request or a proposal.

Some folks want the technical nitty-gritty; others do indeed seek the
faster-to-market-more-satisfied-customers hook; still others (like me)
look for a well-thought-out combination of both. Those who can rise to
the challenge definitely *add* value to their organizations.

> However, too many people have seen sleazy marcom and it has a bad rap.
> Therefore, when they see me saying that you should build the
> justification and present it with a marketing slant, it's taken as
> ">manipulating company hot buttons and using sales pitches to get the
> "I-wants"<

I know the hit-and-run, snake oil tactics all too well. I also share a
bit of frustration when encountering resistance along the lines of
"manipulating company hot buttons and using sales pitches..." Such a
sweeping statement from others usually bespeaks naivete about people,
work experiences primarily around truly aggressive/adventurous types
(and the gathering of courage to break away from such a work
atmosphere), or a grave antipathy toward any and all manner of
organizational politics.

Let's face it: we're *all* salespeople, whether we know it or not. We
angle within our tech writing careers (e.g., the job/contract search,
the bid for a promotion, the networking) and without (e.g., in
friendship and in romance). We do it when we want a refund or credit on
merchandise or services. And we most certainly do it when we're
building or maintaining credibility/respect among work groups we'd like
to affiliate ourselves with.

In a word, we're constantly attempting to *persuade* others to do
something we want--whether or not money is involved.

IMHO, more tech com pros need marcom skills; conversely, more marcom
pros can use a few tips from their tech counterparts. My own
marcom/advertising/public affairs plus sales/customer service background
has been a real plus when it comes to designing and developing technical
material. I'm constantly thinking in terms of usability, decision
makers, and long-term relationships. If something I wrote or uttered
tipped the scales favorably toward at least one of these, I'm stoked!

Take care,
Kelli Bond
Principal Consultant
(versakel -at- earthlink -dot- net)

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