Digital Marketing for Engineers Blog

Engineers Read your Marketing Content on their Smartphones

Posted by John Hayes

Oct 19, 2017 10:27:23 AM

Last month we surveyed 1,187 engineers to determine how they source engineering content and information. I’ll be going over the full results of the study in an upcoming webinar on October 25th, but today I’m going to dig into just one of the fascinating trends found in the research. 

More and more engineers are using mobile devices to access engineering content, and in certain segments the penetration has reached 80%!

One of the big takeaways for engineering marketers is that the overall usage of smartphones to consume engineering content has gone up by 15% over last year.

In the chart above the top bar with a total of 53% indicates the percentage of engineers using smartphones to access engineering information in 2016 versus the bottom bar that shows 61% in 2017.

“How is it possible that 61% of engineers are reading dense engineering content on mobile?” you may wonder. You might think that smartphones are too small to consume technical information like spec sheets, or that they won’t fill out forms to access gated content. However, engineers can now use their smartphones to participate in workflows, read technical content, watch engineering videos, and even interrogate CAD models.

Over the past five years, all of the major engineering software vendors have made their products available on the cloud, which means that most engineering data is now available via smartphone. The utility of smartphones has clearly extended to consuming engineering information as well, so marketers need to be mindful of how their content will be presented in that format.

In this post we’ll reveal:

  • How to produce content that is smartphone friendly
  • How smartphone usage varies by age range
  • How much time engineers spend consuming engineering content on smartphones
  • Smartphone usage in North America vs Europe
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Topics: Industry trends and research, Marketing to engineers, content strategy

New Research Shows How to Reach Technology Decision Makers

Posted by John Hayes

Oct 5, 2017 9:34:26 AM

So many engineering marketers want their campaign to reach decision makers. Their thought process goes something like, “If I can just get our product in front of the decision makers, we’ll generate high quality leads and a ton of conversions, because our product is a perfect fit for [insert name of industry/application here].”

But how do you reach those decision makers? Do they prefer:

  • Long articles or short?
  • Print or digital?
  • LinkedIn or Facebook?
  • Sponsored posts or editorial?

I’m happy to report that we can now tell you the answers to these questions. That’s because last month we conducted a survey of 1,187 engineers to learn about how they consume media. We’ll share our findings for all classes of engineers with you in an upcoming webinar and eBook, but today we’re focusing on just the people deciding where their company is going to spend.  

Of those 1187 respondents, 110 said that they were the final authority in the purchasing decision making process for their company. 

In this post, we’ll dig into how those people consume engineering content. 

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Topics: Industry trends and research, Marketing to engineers, content strategy

Can Engineering Marketers Create an Effective Word of Mouth Strategy?

Posted by John Hayes

Sep 28, 2017 9:07:47 AM

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association claims that word of mouth (“WOM” from here on) is 100 times more effective than a paid media impression.  This is not a surprise in that of course they would say that. They are a WOM marketing association, after all.

But let’s say for a moment that this claim is at least partly true. If so, then engineering marketers would do well to include a WOM component in their marketing plans.

Here’s a little thought experiment. Imagine that an engineer is using a new software tool that helps to gather and manage requirements for his company’s new product designs.

If the new software is remarkable, that engineer might promote it for use within his company. And if it is really remarkable, he might also tell his friends, some of whom are also engineers that manage requirements.

In that context, I can believe that a recommendation from someone you trust (another engineer) is worth more than banner ads (which I hate to admit because we sell banner ads for a living, but we also care about truth).

The rise of social media has given all customers a voice to more easily recommend products. That makes the reach of WOM greater than ever. But it isn’t any easier to build a strategy for B2B WOM for engineers.

I was in the audience when Jay Baer presented his four key “talk triggers” in support of a WOM strategy at Conex17. Here are a few key takeaways for engineering marketers.

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Topics: Industry trends and research, Marketing to engineers, content strategy

Research Shows that Engineers Spend 8.1 Hours Per Week Consuming Engineering Content

Posted by John Hayes

Sep 14, 2017 10:03:21 AM

We just wrapped up the data collection for our annual survey on the media consumption habits of engineers. The 2017 survey was our largest yet with 1,187 respondents. 

Our marketing customers and industry partners alike tell us how valuable the results of our annual survey are in helping them plan their campaigns for the coming year.  In the coming weeks, we’ll be pouring over all that data and surfacing insights which we’ll reveal in an upcoming webinar

One of our earliest results should be very encouraging to every engineering marketer who has slaved over producing top notch content and worried that engineers won’t read it – They will!  We found that the total time the average engineer spends consuming work-related content was 8.1 hours per week. That’s an entire day per week! 

As marketers, we know that we need to create great content to cut through the clutter and earn our audience's attention.  This research affirms that if you create great content, engineers have the time to consume it.  

In this post, we'll analyze how engineers spend those 8.1 hours per week, including what devices they use.

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Topics: Industry trends and research, Marketing to engineers, content strategy

What Engineering Marketers Can Learn from an Organic Traffic Superstar

Posted by John Hayes

Aug 31, 2017 10:02:46 AM

Last week I was at Conex2017 and saw an excellent presentation by Amanda Todorovich, the 2016 Content Marketer of the year, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

Amanda outlined the formula that helped the Cleveland Clinic’s corporate blog grow to 5 million visitors per month, up from zero a few years ago. The approach she used really resonated with me, because many of the tactics she outlined were similar to what ENGINEERING.com has relied upon since we launched our Advanced Manufacturing vertical in 2014.  We’re not at 5 million monthly manufacturing visitors yet, but as the chart below shows, traffic has been growing at a very respectable pace. 

We built this audience by researching and writing evergreen content that our target audience searches for. And now, month after month, those stories rank in our top 10 most viewed, even though some of them are quite old.

In this blog post, I will review the three most important takeaways from Amanda’s presentation, adapt them to the growth of a technical audience –the target audience for linear actuators is a little smaller than people wanting advice on how to deal with signs of ageing – and finally provide behind-the-curtains evidence from our own experience of growing targeted traffic to our Advanced Manufacturing vertical

But, first a warning. It’s a lot of work.

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Topics: Case studies, Marketing to engineers, content strategy, Content Promotion

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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