Digital Marketing for Engineers Blog

John Hayes

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Four Internet Mega-Trends that Matter to Engineering Marketers

Posted by John Hayes

Jun 7, 2017 3:30:53 PM

As marketers, we care about how engineers get information. We need to know whether they use email or Facebook, smartphones or laptops, so that we know where to put our messages and how to format them.

And here to the rescue, as she is every year, is Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins. Her latest Internet Trends report was published last week, all 355 pages of it.

In case you are wondering why we should pay attention, here are a few of her forecasts from 2010, seven years ago…

  1. Smartphone sales are growing so fast that they will soon become the primary way for many people to access the internet. (yup)
  2. Digital advertising expenditures will grow rapidly, mostly at the expense of print advertising (ditto)
  3. Digital advertising will be concentrated in Google, Yahoo and Facebook (got 2 out of 3 on that one. Sorry Yahoo.)
  4. Social networking will become a more powerful medium for sharing than email (remember your Dad’s email chains?)
  5. Cloud computing will be a big thing (also true)

If you are curious about how the 2017 mega-trends will impact engineering marketers, read on for my take.

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Topics: Content marketing for engineers, content strategy, Content Promotion, mobile marketing

More Content, but Lower Quality from Engineering Marketers

Posted by John Hayes

May 25, 2017 9:09:37 AM

Most engineering marketers are creating more content in 2017, according to our 2017 survey of engineering marketers research report.

All this rush to create content is, not surprisingly, leading to an abundance of poor quality content. This flood of content increases the competition for every post you publish, and the fight for each search term becomes more intense.

The response from some marketers and publishers is to write fewer, longer and more thoroughly researched pieces of content, ones that will be shared on social media, and that will rise to the top of search engines. If your approach is to write more short posts while your competition is writing longer and more detailed posts, you are unlikely to succeed.

As the chart above shows, the top-rated challenge for engineering content marketers is creating engaging content. This concern was also the top concern last year, with 50% of marketers citing it. However, in 2017 it was named a top concern by 62% of engineering marketers.

A related challenge was finding resources for creating content.

The struggle is real my friends. And it can lead to some disappointing short-term outcomes.

What does poor conversion content look like? And how can you avoid it?

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Topics: Content marketing for engineers, Branding and awareness, content strategy, content reach, Content Promotion

Marketing to Engineering Decision Makers – Dos and Don’ts

Posted by John Hayes

May 18, 2017 10:22:12 AM

Engineering marketers frequently say, “We need to reach decision makers with this campaign’” often because their sales teams tell them, “Whenever we get in front of a decision maker, we have a great shot at the sale, so let’s only talk to decision makers.”

As anyone who has run a campaign that targets decision makers knows, this is no easy road.  We recently surveyed over 100 Director and CXO level engineers about their information consumption habits. This research shows how you can reach those decision makers.

Take email, for example. Do you think they read it? Well, they do.

98% of engineering directors, VPs and C-level respondents say that they at least scan the subject line of every email they receive. 98%!  That’s huge. And 39% actually open most or all of the emails that you send. So that may leave you wondering why they don’t engage with your content and become active leads.

That has more to do with them than you.

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Topics: Content marketing for engineers, Branding and awareness, Email marketing to engineers, content strategy, content reach, Content Promotion

Engineers Hate Your Content Marketing

Posted by John Hayes

Apr 26, 2017 6:54:55 PM

In a survey of engineering marketers, 87% said that they were investing in content marketing. 

Unfortunately, that same survey revealed that creating engaging content for engineers was the biggest challenge.

Why do engineers hate your content marketing?  Well, it’s because marketers are the ones directing the content marketing show.  Simply put…

It’s not them. It’s you.

In this post, we’ll look at:

  1. Who engineers trust the most to give them product information
  2. What experts say about marketers creating marketing content
  3. One thing that you can do to deliver content that satisfies engineers.
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Topics: Social Media for Engineers, Content marketing for engineers, Branding and awareness, content reach, Analytics

Amplifying your Content Marketing with Employee Advocacy

Posted by John Hayes

Apr 19, 2017 4:30:28 PM

In 2017, virtually every engineering marketer has a content strategy. Many have learned from experience that creating content is only half the battle. The other half is getting that content in front of the right audience.

One potential game-changer for distributing your content is to leverage the social followers of your employees. This approach, called employee advocacy, is rapidly becoming an accepted practice that can dramatically increase how many people your brand stories will touch.


With social media so ingrained in everyone’s day-to-day it only makes sense that marketers are looking for ways to expand their social reach beyond just their own followers. One path forward is Employees who can have a remarkable multiplying effect on your distribution for two reasons:

  1. Employees are perceived as more authentic than your brand social channels, resulting in higher clicks and shares, and
  2. Your employees, when all added together, have a bigger reach than your brand channels.

So should you consider an employee advocacy platform?  To help answer that question I spoke to a representative of one such platform as well as a lead marketer from a major engineering software company. They helped me to understand how these systems work and what their benefits are for industrial marketers.  I found this topic incredibly interesting and I think you will too.

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Topics: Social Media for Engineers, Content marketing for engineers, Branding and awareness, content reach, Analytics

Account Based Marketing for the Engineering Marketer

Posted by John Hayes

Apr 6, 2017 1:59:54 PM

 

Is it time for you, as an engineering / industrial marketer, to consider Account Based Marketing (ABM)?

A lot of engineering marketers are now asking about whether we, as a publisher, can support their ABM efforts. The requests are coming from our largest accounts, the ones who have thousands of accounts themselves. These marketers are often first to test out new marketing technology.

The “Flipped Funnel” of Account Based Marketing - Slideshare by ABM vendor Terminus

The premise of Account Based Marketing is that marketers are wasting resources by trying to engage prospects who will never become customers. The argument goes that if those marketers were to instead  identify and focus on the very best prospects, they would convert a much higher number of the right sorts of customers at a lower cost. This idea is described in the “flipped funnel” graphic set out above.

ABM isn’t an either/or proposition. It can be conducted along with your traditional marketing efforts. There is a lot for engineering marketers to learn from this concept.

For those of you who are early in your education about ABM, this post will set out:

  • The marketing problem that ABM is designed to solve
  • Four steps to ABM for engineering and industrial marketers
  • Why ABM is different than having a very good sales person
  • How publishers like ENGINEERING.com can participate in your ABM efforts
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Topics: Branding and awareness, Marketing to engineers, content strategy

Should Engineering Marketers Join the Google Ad Boycott?

Posted by John Hayes

Mar 29, 2017 4:36:08 PM

 

The Times of London reported on March 21st that over 250 brands have pulled their advertising budget from Google and Youtube because of the placement  of their advertisements alongside extremist content.

These are not small, neophyte advertisers who are leading the boycott. Large advertisers such as Volkswagen and Toyota have pulled their ads after finding that they were running in front of the wrong sorts of videos. Some of the offending videos were posted by people who had been banned from Britain for extremist speech, such as fomenting terrorism or promoting homophobia.

This week, Wall Street analysts at Nomura Instinet forecast that the spreading boycott could reduce Youtube’s advertising revenue by $755M or 7.5% this year.  Wow!

In this post, I’ll review what the fuss is about, show an example of how ad placements can go horribly wrong, and suggest how engineering marketers can protect their brands and their jobs.

 

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Topics: Branding and awareness, Marketing to engineers, content strategy

How to Compensate an Industrial Marketer

Posted by John Hayes

Mar 23, 2017 3:05:37 PM

 

Do you need to create a bonus plan for a B2B marketer?

Maybe you are considering a bonus based on how many leads they generate. That path is popular, but it’s difficult to implement in the industrial market place. There are even worse ideas, however, like paying for social media followers.

There is a tension between compensating your marketers for things that they can control – social reach, web site traffic and marketing qualified leads, versus things that you really want, like revenue.

This is a real challenge for industrial marketers because the sales cycles are so long and their tasks are so varied.

In this post we’ll assume that you already pay a competitive salary, so we will focus on incentive compensation for marketers.

There are all kinds of approaches, but be forewarned. If you pay for the wrong thing, you may get a whole lot of it. For example, if you compensate for website traffic your marketer can make sure that your site is busier than ever. Busy means little to your bottom line though if all those new visits are from unqualified visitors who are an ill fit for your product or service. 

In this post we’ll investigate the primary ways that B2B marketers are compensated, and recommend specific ways to keep your marketing team aligned with your business objectives. We’ll also call out ways that marketers can game most of these metrics to earn their bonus even if their actual performance is poor.

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Topics: Industry trends and research, Marketing to engineers, Marketing/sales funnel, cost per lead

McKinsey to Marketers - Focus on Top of Funnel to Drive Revenue Growth

Posted by John Hayes

Mar 15, 2017 3:17:51 PM

 I just read a fascinating report from the McKinsey consultancy that explores customer loyalty.  It highlited that:

  1. "New technologies and greater choice are changing how consumers are thinking and acting"
  2. "In the digital world, your consumers can't help but shop around"

My first reaction was, “this is a B2C study, so it won’t really apply to Industrial B2B sales.” But as I read the report I started to see parallels to what our industrial marketer customers are experiencing.  They are finding that their buyers are shopping around more frequently. It seems that even in the industrial world, brand loyalty is declining due to the rise of online comparison tools. 

In this post, we will examine the study’s results through the lens of industrial marketing. I’ll look at how the complexity of industrial sales actually makes it more likely that your customers will consider your competitors. Finally, I will share the report’s recommendations on how to battle back against waning loyalty in the context of industrial marketing.

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Topics: Industry trends and research, Branding and awareness, Marketing to engineers, Advanced manufacturing

Top 5 Trends for Engineering Marketers in 2017

Posted by John Hayes

Mar 9, 2017 9:13:59 AM

Engineering marketers are doubling down on five successful campaign tactics for 2017. At the same time, they are reducing their budgets or even abandoning other activities that used to be mainstays.  

In this post, we’ll look at which marketing activities are being emphasized and which ones are in decline. The results come from a survey of industrial and engineering marketers that included both off-line activities such as print ads and trade shows, as well as digital activities like banner ads and blogging.

Here are the marketing tactics that we asked about. Our question asked whether marketers are allocating more, less or the same amount of budget in 2017 as they did in 2016:


The answer to this question highlights five strong trends in 2017 compared to 2016. We also compared the results to prior years to identify longer-term trends.

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Topics: Industry trends and research, Marketing to engineers

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