Case Study: Who Are You Writing For, Again?

On the morning of Friday the thirteenth, I got a call from a client saying “Drop everything—we need copy for two sales brochures by Monday.”

If I don’t have an unbreakable commitment (like the BAIPA conference I’m recording on Saturday), I’m perfectly happy to take calls like this, because it means I can add a drop-everything-and-work-all-weekend surcharge.

So after an interview with the sales team that would be using the brochures, I got to work on the copy, first for the enterprise product and then for the family product. We went through some revisions based on input from the team, tracked down some statistics, and made some suggestions about the layout and images, though I found to my startlement that the designer was working entirely in Photoshop, which is an extremely clumsy tool for handling text.

The client loved it and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, hence my desire to show it off to all and sundry.

Enterprise-front family-pack-front

But as gratifying as it is to have people tell me how well I write, it’s much more useful when people point out the areas that need improvement. And my colleague Baylan Megino of White Light Associates pointed out something very important about these two documents.

They have too much text to work as companion brochures for use during a salesperson’s call. A better approach would be to condense the text into bullet points and leave room to take notes, so the prospect could write down his or her own most critical data.

What these documents really amount to is a script for the sales force. In this situation, that’s a valuable thing to have, because the sales team comes from outside the company and is brand new. But it would probably be a good idea to go back and revise both these documents after further consultation with a few people who didn’t spend all weekend immersed in producing them. (Not to mention getting print-resolution graphics instead of images from the web.)

Now to actually tell my client that part!