Marketing vs- R&D

Subject: Marketing vs- R&D
From: Michael Andrew Uhl <uhl -at- VISLAB -dot- EPA -dot- GOV>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 12:54:57 -0500

Embattled colleagues:

I've learned from hard experience that you will find better job security
and usually get more respect as a technical writer if you work in R&d or
engineering/design area of your company. Marketing usually offers a
higher profile with the upper management, but it's a risky place to be
in a downsizing.

When you're in marketing, you're more likely to have contact with
customers; and that's good. Unfortunately, you'll probably also have
less influence over product development. Read Dilbert. The engineers and
programmers see marketing as the enemy. Unfortunately, marketing usually
does little to counter this perception or attitude. On the other hand,
marketing often looks down at the engineers and programmers as Cro
Magnons with an evil but necessary skill.

The beauty of being in our position is we can often work our way out of
both these camps and form a bridge between them. I recommend that
technical communicators sit in the same physical location as the product
developers. Befriend the testers and QA people. And, with a low profile,
schmooze with marketing. Get the marketing people to let you meet
customers and peek at plans for new products or services. (Caution:
Don't let the product developers even begin to think you're in the enemy
camp.)

As Arlen Walker says, "Have fun."

Cheers.

-Mike


--
Michael Andrew Uhl (mailto:uhl -at- vislab -dot- epa -dot- gov)
Lockheed Martin - U.S. EPA Scientific Visualization Center
Ph. (office) 919.541.4283; 919.541.3716 (lab)
P.O. Box 14365 Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

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