Marketing and document design

Subject: Marketing and document design
From: Hollister Technical Services <Holtec -at- COMITY -dot- DEMON -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 12:06:40 +0100

In message , Thom Randolph <thom -at- HALCYON -dot- COM> writes
>At 11:41 AM 5/1/99 +0100, you wrote:
>>"In this way, document design is different from advertising in that
>>advertising focusses on writing and visualising in order to promote the
>>goals and values of organisations rather than to promote the goals and
>>values of readers."
>>K A Shriver; Dynamics in Document Design, p11
>I disagree here. Having been one of those dreaded Marketing Types,
>and now a Technical Writer, I believe the design of the document
>is definitely just as much part of the corporate "image" and product
>positioning as any advertisement.

This is not necessarily a contradiction with Shriver's statement. If you
produce documents that help the customer will that not reflect well on


>the form, layout,
>design and to a certain extent the content of the documentation is
>wisely used to strongly reinforce the desired image of the company
>in the users' minds.

What happens if the image you wish the customer to perceive contradicts
the image the customer holds? You will end up alienating the customer
which is surely poor marketing. If you reinforce the customers values
this would not be so (we are talking about people who have already
parted with their hard earned Euros so they must have succumbed to the
outright marketing to begin with).

>The old Marketing maxim says that it costs 10 times as much to make
>a new customer as to get repeat sales from existing ones. Documentation
>is often seen only by those who ARE now customers. The quality of
>the documentation as much as the product reflect directly on the
>company. Accurate, informative, helpful, attractive documentation
>is key to convincing the customer to invest a small amount of loyalty.
Exactly. You are, I feel, arguing for not against Shriver here.

>Don't get me wrong. The above is NOT to the exclusion of customer
>issues, audience-centric design, etc. We all fight long and hard
>to make sure we know what the customer needs, and so we can get the
>information they need and provide it to them.
>I'm only saying that SUCCESSFULLY molding a corporate image extends
>to the documentation as much as to the advertising, product packaging,
>product design, and the sign outside the door.

It seems to me that you are saying you should give the customers what
they want! What they want in document design is pretty much what you
have outlined above.


>Customers have to live with your design decisions
>and the "image" we project.

A question. Do you advocate including overt advertising material within
manuals? I would guess that you do not; so how far do you go with your
'marketing hat' on when documenting products? Is it the feel of the
paper, inclusion of particular types of illustrations...?

I pose this question as I am (can you tell?) ignorant about marketing in
general and particular and would like to know where people draw the line
between the customers and the organisations goals.
Peter Jones

e-mail Holtec -at- comity -dot- demon -dot- co -dot- uk

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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