The Technical Marketing Handbook by Simmer

Simmer published the Technical Marketing Handbook, and this article is my personal post-mortem of the project.

Simmer has just released the Technical Marketing Handbook.

It’s a free online resource, formatted as a mini-course, designed to walk the reader through the different disciplines and concepts that fall under the banner of “technical marketing”. And yes, we spend the introductory chapter explaining what that term means to us.

In total, we wrote 9 chapters, each with 3 topics, for a total of around 77,000 words. For reference, that’s about as many words as in the first Harry Potter novel.

Why did we create the Handbook?

It started as a way of giving back to the community. We wanted to create a free resource that helps marketers better understand why Simmer exists.

We realized that “technical marketing” is still a very vague term, as it has a lot of overlap with “digital marketing”.

With the Handbook, we wanted to create an introduction to Simmer’s approach to digital marketing education.

However, soon our ambitions grew, and we decided to make it less about Simmer and more about general knowledge sharing.

From the start (and we didn’t always see eye to eye on this), I wanted the resource to be completely free.

I didn’t want one of those online sites where content is gated away behind consent or behind subscriptions and payments.

This was an investment to improve the technical understanding of the entire digital marketing community, which, hopefully, translates into brand recognition for Simmer and more course sales in the future.

How did we choose the topics?

The litmus test for Handbook content was this:

If the reader ever participates in a discussion with an expert of a digital marketing field, can they understand what is being said and meaningfully contribute to the conversation?

So we approached content creation from the perspective of giving enough information about the core topics of each field without overwhelming the reader with nittygritty details.

For readers that wanted more advanced content, we created Deep Dives, which explore some technical concepts in more detail.

A lot of content was left out. For example, we don’t really go into detail about mobile apps, devices, and SDKs. This was simply due to time constraints. I would have loved to explore that world in more detail, and perhaps in the future we’ll have additional chapters added to the Handbook.

We also took a deliberate stance not to cover Generative AI and Large Language Models in this Handbook. For one, they’re still emerging tech, and any assumptions we’d make of them might be outdated with future iterations of tools and services like ChatGPT. The other reason was that for most technical marketers, these are just tools. We don’t talk about specific tools (too much) in the Handbook, so dedicating a chapter to prompt engineering or ChatGPT integrations would have been out of character.

We might rethink this approach in the future, if these technologies become more prevalent (and more approachable!) in the day-to-day work of a technical marketer.

What’s next?

As I mentioned above, a lot of ideas were left on the table.

One thing I will be working on is an audio book version of the Handbook. I’d like to release it as a podcast serial on Simmer’s aptly named Technical Marketing Handbook podcast.

I can’t just read the content verbatim – there are too many visual cues and code snippets that don’t translate to spoken word that well. So I’ve been thinking of an abridged version for audio in particular, with additional content and examples to help flesh out the monotony.

I’d also like to include expert interviews after each chapter, so that we can explore some fundamental concepts in more detail.

We’re going to keep creating social media content around the concepts introduced in the Handbook – remember to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

We’re also looking at options to print the Handbook as an actual book, but this is still very much in its early stages.

Please share the Handbook to your network!

One thing we do want for the Handbook is exposure.

We want everyone in digital marketing to read it.

We believe that it will help improve the baseline competence of digital marketers around the world.

So my humble request to you is this: please share the Technical Marketing Handbook to your network. Add it as required reading in your team’s onboarding process. Share it with your parents and friends who have always wondered just what you do for a living.

Thank you so much.