What Works More; TV Advertising or Users’ Manuals

What is TV advertising in this age of growing the Internet usage. TV is a good marketing medium. Think about it. We are so desensitized to commercials. We use them for food or bathroom breaks during hot debates or we just downright fast forward through them. I know that I can’t stand watching them, so I just forward through them. Bye, bye commercials. Another reason I don’t watch is the quality of the commercials. I see far too many local commercials that are just annoying and awful to watch. What are these business owners thinking when they make those commercials?

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If all else fails, read the manual

Have you ever thought why users call customers support? Mostly users call when they don’t get the right answers in accompanying the users’ manuals, if there is one along with the product. Large number of manufacturers doesn’t supply a user manual with their products in the first place and some of those who do, do not answers all questions.

Manufacturers and marketing professionals often tend to underestimate importance of a nicely written user manual and they find their way out of selling products without the manual. “Who reads,” they reason out.

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Besides Dummies and Complete Idiots, Users’ Manuals Are For Rest of Us Too

When it comes to use of a new product, technology and or software one can divide people in different categories; some of the people are savvy and clue full, some are dummies, some others are ‘complete idiots’ – pun intended – and the rest of us.

Let us have a look at Dummies first. Despite the title, publisher of Dummies – prolific series of instructional books which are intended to present non-intimidating guides for readers new to the various topics covered – takes pains to emphasize that the books are not literally for dummies. The subtitle for every book is “A Reference for the Rest of Us!

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Read Users Manuals Before You Make a Purchase

Figuring out which hair dryer is best for you, or the person you’re giving it to as a present, isn’t just a matter of brand, price and color. You need to understand your needs and how you expect to use the hair dryer in order to make sure you buy the right model. Once you figure that out, you should generally buy the most capable hair dryer you can afford, since you’ll get the longest life from it and be able to get the best service. There are so many things to consider before each purchase. Knowing which kind of user you or your gift recipients are, will help you make the right decision.

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Advertising Through User’s Manuals

Marketers are still debating about online advertising. The question is whether online advertising is or should be a medium in today’s ad world. Here is what comes to mind on the subject:

We all agree that TV advertising is outdated. People try just Tivo or DVR right through that ad spending.

On the other hand, online advertising has come alive. How? Given the exponential growth in Internet user’s base, I think online has become one of the most effective way to advertise. Social Media is a tremendous opportunity for advertisers if they play by the rules – start sharing your users manuals.

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Have you ever enjoyed reading a user’s manual ?

Have you ever enjoyed reading a user’s manual? Or you also think user’s manuals, like unintelligent army orders and government notifications have to be dull and life less? Not necessarily. When user’s manuals are shipped with all the products every time they are sold, they need to be interesting an engaging in addition to informative and meaningful.

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Brochures or Users’ Manuals ?

Mostly the brochures are artistically laid out and presented whereas User’s manuals are like government notifications; life less, color less and totally technical. The brochure gets the bigger share of budget as compared to the manuals. This indicates that most concerns treat potential users so much better than existing users and focus accordingly?

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Manage the Manuals

Users Manuals have always been here. They are here at least since the advent of technology and availability of products. Almost every one has a collection of instruction manuals; some stash them somewhere in their house, some put them in files and folders and some other throw them away to go to recycle.

Search for users’ manuals start when people need instructions for some old vacuum cleaner, or water filter, or a dishwasher or a new iPhone. Sadly, they are not found when most needed and a wild hunt starts. Sometime users have to go to customers’ services of the respective product just to find an answering machine giving not so much required instructions. What is worst, some time users may get the answer that help for an old product is not available as the company has abandoned the production of some old model.

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What is culture to do with the manuals?

I have been reading many manuals and instruction books lately. What I noted most is how they help a common user. All of this reading and other recent experiences has made me think about the core competency of writing and writing well and how does it help users across different cultures? How manuals make a business case and add value. One conclusion is that technical manual writers should know more about world geography and different cultures.

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Where to get Users’ Manuals From

A blogger (www.peterme.com) recently purchased an original Macintosh 128K User Manual from 1984 and published some pictures from it and wrote a great post. He says, “I recently purchased an original Macintosh User Manual (thanks eBay!). I had seen one at a garage sale, and was struck by how it had to explain a total paradigm shift in interacting with computers. I figured I could learn something about helping make innovation happen. It’s been an intriguing read. It’s a remarkably handsome manual, beautifully typeset, which, considering par for the course at the time was probably Courier with few illustrations, is saying something. Also, even back in 1984, there was no definite article. You get phrases like “With Macintosh, you’re in charge.” No “the”s or “a”s. One of the more striking things was how every Chapter is introduced with a full-color photo of Macintosh being used. (See the pictures at www.peterme.com).

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Reverse Engineering

Usually it happens that research and development teams come up with an idea of a product (any product), it is made in factories and then technical people write manuals and instruction books and other related documents.

Another methodology that can prove effective is that first write users’ manual and then ask the development team to make the product to match the manual. Ok, let me say that write the proposed manual in the light of what marketers think people want and then build. Call it reverse engineering and driven by market, it can be an effective approach.

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Advertising With Techno Station

Our efforts in internet marketing has placed us at the top of all the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN which in turn drives thousands of unique visitors a day to our web site and blog.

These aren’t your typical visitors; They are manufacturers and producers in addition to CEO’s, President’s, VP’s of Marketing, Owners and Top Decision Makers of major corporations. They spend their money based on value and return on investment and are less price sensitive than a standard buyer. They are the top echelon of target prospects and the people you want to be in front of.

How much is one new client worth to your company?

Email to contact@technostation.com for the detail.

Every bit can make a difference

Let me start this with a personal confession; I haven’t used printed users’ manuals in years. They still come with almost each product I buy and go straight into the recycling.

Happily it turns out that Internet users can opt out of getting hard copies of users manuals (for example go to the Techno Station – a portal that is amassing all users manuals at one place.

All the environmental chatter is saying that doing searches can help save the environment. Surely the best thing all manufacturers and industrialists could do right now is to drastically slash the number of manuals printed on paper by asking exactly who requires them. My guess is that it would be very small number of the households who would still want users’ manuals in hard copies.

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Authentic Manuals

Demand for the availability of users’ manuals, instruction books, technical manuals and other product related document online is growing exponentially. This situation has created services that offer instructional and support material online.

The questions that have come up are regarding the validity and authenticity of the publications. Are they directly from the developers? Are they up to date?

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Learning through Manuals

Users’ manuals are needed after initial installation and or operation. One of the requirements in the framework is the User Phase. In this stage users come across newer situation in the use of the product. All of those must be anticipated and documented in users’ manuals.

The problem is that only a few manufacturers take the time for this detailed analysis and that is why so many annuals either do not solve user problems or fail because they are too hard to learn and use.

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