Operating Manuals: An Overlooked Marketing Opportunity

Most B2B marketing pros recognize the impact of an attractive Website and an outstanding advertising campaign to bring prospects to the Website. Many even recognize the importance of supporting the effort with professional quality sales materials such as brochures, videos, and email marketing.

Clearly,  most manufacturers understand the importance of a first impression to begin the sales process. Yet what happens after the sale when it’s time to run the new machine and the new customer opens the operating manual?

  • Is it a paper printout of a Word doc?
  • Does the manual match the machine that was actually installed?
  • Are the tech support number, Web address and logo current?
  • Wait – there is no operating manual?

In most cases, the operating manuals I’ve read offer vast amounts of critical information that any engineer or maintenance technician would appreciate – if only it was presented in a logical format that is visually appealing and carefully worded to avoid confusion so it’s easy to find a solution when there’s trouble. Integrating videos into an HMI or pdf is a fine idea as a companion to the hard copy. But there’s simply no time to wade through a lengthy pdf on a phone searching for bearing or belt replacement instructions when the line is down, the Internet may be down, and the blood pressure is up.

And given the lack of technical expertise in many manufacturing plants today, there’s a strong likelihood that the operator consulting the manual for immediate help may consider both engineering and English as second languages.

Did you know it’s possible to provide technical operating manuals that clearly present the required knowledge in a way that’s also easy to follow and visually appealing? These operating manuals may be the only materials that stay with the machine for its entire life. It makes sense to think of them as marketing materials and apply the same effort to their development as we would with a new Website.

For many people in the facility, the machine and attached manual may represent the first impression of your company and these are often the people who drive word of mouth and recommend your technology when they change jobs.

Effective technical manuals not only help customers keep your machines running but they also prevent the frantic phone calls and troubleshooting emails that take your sales team away from selling.

For guidance on updating your operating manuals, email ideas at eprmarketing dot com.

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Paul Entin’s Marketing In Real Life explores every facet of marketing from advertising, PR and lead generation to content marketing, direct response and the latest in marketing automation – and more. Paul Entin’s Marketing In Real Life provides real-life insight into the relationship among sales, marketing, and customer service – and the customer – plus quick commentary from epr founder, Paul Entin.