Overcoming the Challenge of Marketing to Busy Engineers

Engineers from different fields probably make up a large part of your target audience if you are a manufacturer, distributor or an engineering company. As an industrial marketer, you know it is a challenge marketing to engineers.

While engineers do use social media, they tend to be passive participants making it hard to engage with them using those channels. To illustrate that point, here are a few key findings from the 2016 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector report published by IEEE ENGINEERING 360.

  • 82% of engineers and technical professionals spend no more than two hours weekly on social media for work-related purposes.
  • 70% of industrial professionals have never shared or posted news about their companies to their own social networks.
  • 64% of engineers and technical professionals say the biggest challenge in using social media for work is its inefficiency when compared to other methods such as search engines, supplier websites and online catalogs.
  • 55% said that social media has too much noise and not enough substance.

Marketing to busy engineers is a challenge

I’m sure you know by now that you should market to people and not to a company or generic job titles. Yes, that is true and of course, engineers are people too. However, marketing to engineers is different and a challenge that most industrial marketers are struggling to overcome.

Adding to the problem is the fact that engineers and engineering teams are now more time-challenged than ever before. Take a look at some of the latest findings from IEEE ENGINEERING 360’s 2017 Pulse of Engineering Survey.

  • 44% of engineers are working on more projects now than they were two years ago.
  • 55% of engineers are being required to do more with less.
  • 68% are working on three or more projects simultaneously.
  • 76% said the average size of the teams they work on has decreased or stayed the same.

marketing to busy engineers

How to overcome the time crunch when marketing to engineers

However, it is not all bad news, there is a silver lining to this time-crunch. This same survey also found that “Thirty-eight percent said that design involvement from external partners, vendors and customers has increased, which may represent an opportunity for suppliers to educate customers and become more involved in their work processes.”

Here’s where I see a big opportunity for industrial content marketing to effectively engage with busy engineers by recognizing that the pace of engineering is constantly increasing and the target audience is dealing with their own time crunch.

  • Earn their trust by highlighting your company’s internal engineering expertise instead of pumping out more product-centric content.
  • Recognize the fact that younger engineers are often tasked with finding information during the Needs Awareness and Research stages of the industrial buy cycle. Utilize digital marketing strategies that they respond to well.
  • Create champion content that they can download and share with other stakeholders who may never visit your site or interact with your content.
  • Nurture existing relationships developed over the years but recognize the fact that many of these senior engineers are close to retirement. You need to win the mindshare of younger engineers who are taking on more decision-making roles. Encourage your current contacts to pass on their knowledge and experience with you to the next generation of engineers.
  • Use industrial content marketing to educate younger engineers who are looking for more help from their vendors as internal resources become scarcer.
  • Provide content that saves them time and that engineers can rely on to be technically accurate and current. (Read my post, “Making Industrial Content Marketing Engaging for Engineers and Industrial Buyers”)

In my years of hands-on experience marketing to engineers, I’ve found the most effective way to earn an engineer’s trust and build strong relationships is with content marketing where in-house Subject Matter Experts (Engineers and technical people) are brought to the forefront and marketing remains in the background doing the heavy lifting. One engineer to another is a powerful marketing strategy.

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