FWD: Getting moved from engineering to marketing

Subject: FWD: Getting moved from engineering to marketing
From: Anonymous Poster <anonfwd -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 06:55:56 -0600

Forwarded anonymously on request:

I have 12 years experience in tech writing. My primary
responsibility has always been producing manuals,
online help, etc., but my company (or dept.) was
always small enough that I was also involved in
marketing writing. I enjoyed doing data sheets,
brochures, press releases, newsletters, etc. because
it was a nice change from manuals. I learned to do
layout and use new software. Doing the marketing
"fluff" was easy because, as a technical writer, I
knew a lot about the product and specifications. I had
access to SMEs and knew what was what. I felt
confident my marketing writing was ACCURATE and

Recently, I took a job doing solely marketing writing
for software products. After several months, I regret
this move. What has become clear to me is that many
marketing people HAVE NO INTEREST in knowing technical
details about the products! In fact, I overheard my
boss, the manager of marketing communications, tell a
colleague "I've been here for years and I still don't
understand the stuff," as though this were a GOOD
THING! At my company, marketing does not interact with
engineering, except at the VP level. I don't even have
a copy of the software the company sells. I no longer
use any high-end software tools. I can no longer do
things on my own like I used to (getting screen dumps,
etc.). I must rely on others completely.

My marketing bosses have NO IDEA why I want to talk to
engineers. They don't involve/want to involve
engineers in reviews of marketing materials. I have
tried to build bridges to engineering, but it's

I used to be able to make a lot of decisions on my own
because I had product knowledge. Now I feel helpless
and lost. My main source of information is marketing
product managers who have little time and whose input
conflicts with what my boss, who has no technical
knowledge (see above), wants. No one in marketing
understands my frustration because none of them have a
background in technology, nor an interest in it, and
they are used to "winging it."

The point of this? A bit of a whine on my part, but
also to emphasize to Beth that she should stay
involved with the engineers. At least as a tech
writer, she knows who they are. If this can serve as a
sort of heads-up to anyone who thinks they may like to
move solely into marketing writing, I would advise you
to think twice. It could work in some companies, but I
feel alienated and, for the first time in 12 years,
average instead of value-added.

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

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