Industrial Marketing for Engaging with Engineers

It’s a myth that engineers hate marketing. What they definitely don’t want is more meaningless marketing fluff. Those two statements are based on my personal experience of working with and marketing to engineers for the past 25+ years. I’m a Mechanical Engineer myself and passionate about marketing. Over the years I’ve met and worked with many engineers who feel the same way and some are very good at creating their own marketing content.

As a manufacturer or an industrial company, your marketing must target and communicate with engineers and technical buyers. So what do you have to do to make that happen?

If I had to summarize the answer in one sentence, it would be, “Industrial marketing must be from one engineer to another.” That is by far the most effective strategy for marketing to engineers.

One of the recommendations for industrial marketers that came from the 2012 survey, Mind of the Engineer released by UBM Electronics was, “Engineers communicate with and trust other engineers. Leverage this collaborative ethos.”

Marketing content that engineers want

I have found four kinds of marketing content that resonate with engineers. They are:

  1. Proof of concept – Case studies, customer videos, certifications and test results from prototypes and pilot projects
  2. Time savers – CAD files, online parts catalogs, real-time design tools, configurators and Product Comparison Matrices (PCMs)
  3. Educational – Application notes, white papers, blogs, forums, webinars, technical articles, online learning/training centers and how-to videos
  4. Mobile Apps – Any engineering app that helps find and specify the right industrial part/component

Building trust with engineers requires individual digital marketing assets to work together as a cohesive and valuable online resource. Younger engineers who lack practical experience want easily accessible resources to learn from other engineers and get up to speed quickly. Senior engineers want a “go to” resource that they can rely on for content that is up to date and technically accurate.

Manufacturers, engineering and industrial companies historically have been sales driven and marketing has always played second fiddle as sales support. This is changing quickly as seen in this chart from the 2014 Marketing for Engineers Survey Results published by engineering.com.

 

Marketing for engineers 2014 survey results

This shift is not happening because industrial marketing consultants like me are saying so but because engineers and industrial buyers are demanding that their suppliers interact with them differently from the old ways. As I wrote in my previous post, Industrial Content Marketing — Different Strokes for Different Folks, This is becoming even more important because today’s engineers and technical buyers are in a self-serve mode for information and are not likely to engage with your sales people until they have completed 55% to 60% of their buying journey. You may be out of contention even before the process begins.”

Bring your engineers and in-house Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to the forefront if you want to create industrial marketing that sounds authentic to other engineers and builds trust. Marketing, be it outsourced or in-house must do the heavy lifting but remain in the background. Meaning, don’t expect engineers to take away time from what they do best to create marketing content. That’s the only way I found for this to work successfully over the long haul. (See my post, “Industrial Blogging Lessons Learned from Working with Technical SMEs.”)

Browse around this blog for more articles and tips on industrial marketing to engineers.

Do you market to engineers? If so, what industrial marketing strategies and tactics have worked for you?

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