Working as a full time technical communicator and professor for years, I have received quite a few questions by both my students and by various organizational management on what it means to be a technical communicator versus a technical writer. Yes– I said organizational management. Technical communication is a broad field from white papers to manuals, data sheets, technical blog posts, applications, how-to’s, video training instructions, vlogs and more. Today technical communication encompasses not just documents but all kinds of media and crosses other fields once thought to be silos in the workplace.
I want to discuss technical marketing. Working in this area of technical communication the last several years I have come to realize how much technical marketing relies on technical writing to take complex information and make it succinct. Fields overlap in technical communication in general, which is why the term technical communication is commonly used today instead of technical writing. Technical marketing is one of the fields where there is even more overlap. Think of it like technical writing meets the marketing pitch. Confused as to how technical writing is used in marketing? This confuses quite a few people, so no worries.
Technical marketing is any type of marketing that concentrates on specifications and key product features that fulfill a need for customers and businesses (B2B) requiring an understanding of technical aspects of a product. Technical writing is used to convert product information clearly and concisely for a user to gain knowledge. The buyer can make informed decisions on products/services or discover new products/services they might want. Think of technical marketing as a part of a bigger marketing plan in a technology related business.
Generally technical marketing is done in a high tech industry but it is becoming commonplace in fields not considered high tech. Businesses such as oil, gas, manufacturing are using more intricate product that are integrating tech. For example, the process industry is pushing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IIoT is being adopted so that instruments that were once siloed at a facility, are on their own Intranet relaying real time information for maintenance and monitoring.
Technical marketing supports customers and businesses who need to get information on the ever-growing complex tech market. Each aspect of a marketing plan can contain technical writing. Marketing automation, for example, can consist of email blasts and educational or nurturing drip campaigns that are used to deliver technical newsletters and key targeted technical information to customers who already have considerable knowledge in their field.
Social media can be used to deliver all sorts of technical content such as instructional videos, technical blog posts, and problem solvers to a wider audience. Inbound marketing opportunities can be created with useful technical examples, such as procedures or processes, posted on a company’s website with links to products to help solve a need.
Today technical communication is more important than ever in creating clear and concise content with the ever growing amount of information on the Internet. Technical marketing plays an important role in bringing products to market and technical information to customers.
Lu Kondor has worked as a technical writer for more than 20 years for major corporations. She has a Doctorate in Business Management and has worked in a large variety of organizations including entertainment, software, electric utility, manufacturing, oil and gas, chemical, and nuclear process industries. She is an adjunct lecturer in Advanced Technical Writing as well as Information Design for more than 14 years.