Prepared by Kathy Penn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This provocative title indeed generated a lively discussion at the last meeting of the Yokneam Forum of Technical Writers. The meeting, held on November 14th, hosted Udi Efrat, the Corporate Marketing and Marcom manager at Camtek Ltd. Although the majority of participants were technical writers, the marcom writers certainly made their presence felt and everyone contributed to an enjoyable and worthwhile evening.
Udi began his talk by outlining the differences between technical and marketing writing in content, source, audience, usage, and goals. The goal of technical writing was defined as "Teach", as opposed the marketing goal of "Persuade". Ideal marketing writing should be based on competitive advantage, positioning strategy, and understanding of the market. The skills required of a technical writer or marcom writer may be similar, but the focus is different. The ideal marketing writer should have excellent language skills, be creative, be critical, have good instincts and cultural sensitivity, and be able to conceptualize. According to Udi, it is still very difficult to get good quality marketing writing that breaks out of the usual clichés (State-of-the-Art, cutting edge, etc). Many marketing writers spend most of their time "defining" the message they need to send, and not enough time on how that message is received on the other end. Writers need to understand how the message is decoded and retained, and ultimately what causes the audience to make an active response to the message.
At the end of the evening, the participants expressed their satisfaction with the discussion. Many had traveled considerable distances to attend and felt the effort was worthwhile. Lisa Mishli, a freelance technical writer with marcom experience as well, traveled from Modiin to attend, driving 90 minutes each way. Lisa felt the round table discussion was of specific value in helping her keep focus on what was really important and reinforce her opinions. Lisa was also pleased to connect with other writers and participate in a good discussion, and that is what the Forum is all about.