All posts in “user manual”

Marketing… with user manuals?


We’ve been talking about how effective marketing is increasingly shifting from “interrupt and repeat” to a value exchange, i.e. the marketer gives you something you want in return for your attention. It’s a fairly simple (though still somewhat revolutionary) concept, and we have seen some incredible results using this approach in our emerging area of expertise, scaling social media.

This week I came across this article, written by friend and colleague Aaron Fulkerson, CEO of Mindtouch (one of the leading open source collaborative platforms), and published on In it, Aaron talks about how Mindtouch and their customers are using MT technology to expose their documentation on the web, and how this, in turn, is driving sales,

“Documentation, once siloed in the realm of how-to guides, is actually feeding top-of-the-funnel activity. In fact, some companies… are reporting that their documentation is bringing in over 50% of their qualified leads. I can report that [Mindtouch] receives 70% plus of our site traffic from organic sources, and our documentation generates more than half of our overall site traffic. Furthermore, over half of our lead generation is driven by our documentation.”

This is essentially marketing with user manuals, which sounds absurd. Except that the audience in this case wants it, and it is helping to generate sales. So the questions I leave you with are: since you are now a publisher, what other materials might you have inside your org that online audiences are eager to consume? How can you work to expose and make them sharable on the social web in order to impact your bottom line?

[Photo courtesy of Peter Merholz]