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What’s Hot and What’s Not in Digital Marketing for Engineers in 2014

I just downloaded my copy of the 2014 Digital Marketing for Engineers survey published by John Hayes and his team at ENGINEERING.com. There are some interesting and encouraging findings.

I’ll use a few of the charts from the survey results that show what they found and then add what I am seeing firsthand with my industrial clients.

Survey Question: Will your 2014 budget for the following activities be smaller, larger or about the same? Bar length indicates respondents who chose “larger”

Digital marketing for engineers 2014 budget increases

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Social Media Usage by Engineers and Industrial Professionals

Last week I downloaded and read the new research report, “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” published by IHS GlobalSpec. Some of the findings are consistent with their reports from previous years and others are good wake up calls for industrial marketers.

It is still true that most engineers and industrial professionals are passive users of social media – they prefer to “read, watch and research as opposed to publish, post and comment.”

Two statements from the report caught my attention. They are:

  1. In terms of researching work-related purchases, engineers prefer other online resources, such as search engines, online catalogs, supplier websites, and vertical search engines (VSEs) such as GlobalSpec.com.
  2. 54% of industrial professionals say there is “too much noise and not enough substance” around using social media for work-related purposes.

Those two findings should be a big wake up call for industrial marketers. First, industrial companies shouldn’t expect social media to pick up the slack if they stop doing things like optimizing their websites (SEO) and adding content assets such as CAD viewers and Parametric Part Number Finders to help their buyers take interim steps that will lead to the final buy decision.

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Manufacturer’s Marketing Video Becomes a YouTube Sensation

Industrial and manufacturing marketing doesn’t have to be dull and boring. Here’s proof.

Corning, a manufacturer of specialty glass and ceramics created a marketing video called “A Day Made of Glass” to demonstrate future applications of its specialty glass. Even though the original intent was to create a sales tool for its manufacturing customers, it went viral in a big way after the company posted it to YouTube.

I’m not talking about several thousand views; the 5+ minutes long video has been viewed 12,379,640 times since it was first uploaded to YouTube about two months ago.

View Corning’s “A Day Made of Glass” Video

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More Manufacturers Are Using Videos For Content Marketing

According to a new report released by the Content Marketing Institute, manufacturers have some of the highest adoption rates for content marketing tactics as compared to other industries.

Videos (48%) are the preferred content format over other digital tactics (podcasts, virtual conferences and e-books) by a wide margin.

Even though social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) adoption is lower among industrial marketers, YouTube usage by manufacturers (50%) is higher than other B2B marketers (38%).

According to the same report, 82% of B2B manufacturing respondents indicated that they rely on content marketing to build brand awareness.

This increased focus on brand awareness is a surprising shift from the traditional industrial marketing goal of generating more high-quality sales leads.

Even though site traffic by itself is a poor measure of branding, manufacturers cited Web traffic as their most used (58%) measurement criteria for measuring the success of their brand awareness. This dependence on site traffic is even more pronounced among small and mid-sized manufacturers.

There must be a logical explanation for what seems to be a contradiction of everything I’ve read and have experienced in my 20+ years of working with manufacturing and industrial clients.

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Content and Social Marketing: Connecting and Engaging with 10K+ Engineers

Most marketers agree that content marketing and social media have become mainstream B2B marketing strategies. Nine out of ten B2B marketers are now using content marketing to grow their businesses, according to the recent study released by MarketingProfs and Junta42|Content Marketing Institute.

The reason for not using content marketing that I hear most often from my industrial clients is “we don’t have and/or can’t produce enough content that our customers (engineering, technical and manufacturing professionals) will find valuable.”

This is a problem across the board for B2B marketers as reported by the same study – the largest challenge is “producing the kind of content that engages prospects and customers” (36% of respondents). One-fifth say that “producing enough content” (21%) and “budget to produce content” (19%) are their greatest challenge in content marketing.

It is very refreshing then to find an engineering company like Texas Instruments (TI) successfully use content and social marketing to reach and engage with over 10,000 design engineers and customers. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, TI is a global company that develops analog, digital signal processing, RF and DLP® semiconductor technologies used in consumer and industrial electronics products.

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