Q Thoughts

Why do Manufacturers Throw Money out the Window?

ManualsOnline Director Justin Brown speaks on the benefits user manuals can provide for consumers and manufacturers alike:

by Justin Brown

With all the costs and effort poured into creating support documentation, it’s a damn shame that much of it never sees the light of day.

User manuals must be written, illustrated, and produced. In most cases manufacturers are footing the bill for the creation of these documents. But how much effort do the majority of manufacturers apply to making their manuals easy to find?

In all fairness to manufacturers, they’re focused on selling units. Creating great products and getting them into the hands of wanting consumers is their focus. But, for every product created a manual was produced. So then do manufactures spend time and money to create documents with the intent that they never be consumed?

If the obvious answer is no, then why do so many brands underutilize the great asset they’ve spent time and money to create?

There are plenty of answers to this question ranging from apathy to expense to ability. However, we’re not here to identify the why. We’re here to discuss the solution – syndicating support documents through channels that can best reach product owners.

The Winners in support document syndication:

Manufacturers: entering into a content syndication relationship with a publisher, such as ManualsOnline, that knows how to reach product owners allows manufacturers to leverage the assets they’ve created at little to no cost to them. Additional benefits include a larger search engine footprint, reduced customer support costs, fewer returns, and increased satisfaction for their customers.

Consumers: easily accessing support documentation not only helps consumers fix problems they’re facing, but also helps them better understand features and conduct pre-purchase research. People want to be product professionals and the user manual is a primary contributor to achieving expertise.

Publishers: for a publisher that has access to millions of product owners, providing high-quality content is key to helping solve their problems and fostering a positive product experience.

Syndication allows manufactures to focus on what they do best, make and sell great products and not worry about content availability and distribution. Publishers however are in the business of providing easy access to sought after content. They spend an abundance of time perfecting methods used to accomplish this (i.e. SEO, efficient publishing, usability, etc), something many manufacturers don’t have the time or resources to do.

A publisher that knows how to access millions of new product owners every month may hold the key to realizing a return on resources spent creating user manuals. Then again, maybe creating a valuable document that on one will see is just somehow personally gratifying…

Categories:Posts from 2010


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