Perhaps most importantly is a consistency of positioning, messaging and overall content delivered to the market. One of the critical problems that every company has is that a product gets shipped, and the implication is that it was designed and executed by a committee. The “story” of the product isn’t coherent. The product seems to assume you’re going to use it for reason A, the sales force sold it to you to deal with reason B, the marketing people enticed you with reason C and the technical content assumes you wanted it for reason A, B, C or D. A mess.
Technical writers interact with almost everyone, and joined with marketing, your story can be unified. You can keep the engineering team informed of marketing’s thinking and encourage them to link up. You can make sure that marketing is informed of what engineering is doing and thinking, and help them be aligned. And most important of all, you can make sure your own team’s work – often the first thing the customer sees when she opens the box or downloads the product – is totally aligned with the product story the organization wants to tell.
Technical writers can make sure marketing materials have technical credibility, while including the marketing messaging in product documentation.
Not only does this make the customer more comfortable and give a better impression of your product, but this spreads to the organization as a whole, and to the market in general. You get a reputation for cohesiveness, for thoughtfulness and for being customer focused.
Perhaps you’re thinking, well, why can’t the content be consistent and coherent if technical documentation sits in engineering? Because it doesn’t. Typically because the content team is hidden in some hole in engineering without a voice. My experience is, when in marketing, writers have a stronger voice and become part of an overall content machine that spans release notes to press releases and everything in between!
Reason #5: Marketing is Becoming More Technical
I realize I said above that many marketers are not technical enough, but they are being forced to change. It’s no longer enough for marketers to be creative and great even planners. The best marketers I know are incredibly data driven, technology focused and can hold their own with the engineering team. Putting technical content teams in marketing helps drive this necessary shift more quickly.
But . . . You Need to Have the Right Marketing Leader
I realize I’m making this sound simple. The one caveat is you need to have the right marketing, and for that matter, engineering, leader. The leadership must have a clear vision for the product, the market and the organization. When you get the right marketing leader, the right marketing managers and the right content team together, amazing things can happen. I’ve seen it, so I know it can happen.
In a time when “content is king”, marketers need to leverage and partner with the technical content team.