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”
Nothing here that really surprised me. I am seeing some differences. Companies that follow the “batch and blast” strategy of email marketing (Eblasts) are seeing poor results. In-house lists continue to outperform all other lists. I haven’t seen this trend change as long as I can remember.
Targeted niche enewsletters sent out by industry publications and directories are still performing well even though their open and click through rates have gone down. Typically, conversions are low since most readers rarely take any action beyond clicking on the link and reading/viewing the content.
This is where I see Marketing Automation playing a key role in improving results and accurately reporting ROI. Proper tracking and scoring rules help to identify the first point of contact and track activities over time rather than attributing all conversions to the last click.
My clients are using social media primarily for distribution of new posts, case studies, whitepapers and to drive traffic to their booths at tradeshows. They are not necessarily increasing their social media budgets.
Survey Question: Will your 2014 budget for the following activities be smaller, larger or about the same. Bar length indicates respondents who chose “smaller”
I am seeing some deviations here as compared to the survey results. Yes, both print and trade show budgets have shrunk significantly. However, they are not dead. Print ads are still good for branding/awareness and they continue to drive traffic to websites. I advise my clients to be very selective about publications and using calls to action to specific landing pages for tracking and measuring conversions.
Tradeshows are expensive and most of my clients have cut back on the number of shows where they exhibit. They usually tell me that attendance has gone down but the few leads that they do get are of very high quality. That makes all the difference if you manufacture and sell highly engineered premium products.
Survey Question: What content will you create more of in 2014?
These findings pretty much match what I am seeing on the ground. Case studies do present some problems because of the NDAs that are in place. Some of my clients are forced to make case studies generic because of these restrictions. Instead of names, I have had to use generic descriptions like “Major hydrocarbon processing plant on the Gulf Coast.” It is virtually impossible to publish specific numbers and quantities as part of results achieved. Percentage increase or decrease is about as specific as one is allowed to get.
Another trend that I have noticed is producing video tutorials as part of industrial content marketing. Online learning universities and free/paid training classes are very popular too, especially with industrial distributors.
That’s my take on the trends in digital marketing for engineers. What’s been your experience and what are your plans for 2014?