Engineers: What do you need most?
CFE Media, the parent company of this publication, recently hosted an event called “Marketing to Engineers.” While I’m not a marketer and didn’t need to know how to increase my website’s search engine optimization to allow clients to find me for future engineering projects, I did need to know more about communicating with engineers.
Here’s a snapshot of what I learned during the day-long event, which was based on research of more than 2800 engineering professionals:
- Engineers need a lot of information to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. This shouldn’t be a surprise for any professional—number crunchers and data analysts work across several fields, not just engineering. But engineers are a little different. According to research done by Consulting-Specifying Engineer, consulting engineers are slow to convert when it comes to new technologies and products. They want a lot of information—and detailed information with performance data, metrics, and qualified numbers. It can take a year or more to gain the engineer’s trust, which is why the marketer’s job is so important.
- Manufacturers need to provide as much information as possible to help engineers do their jobs better. Some engineers rely on printed catalogs for product data; however, many are now turning to vendors’ websites for specification information, data sheets, modeling tools, and in-depth information. They want information instantly, so they can respond to their clients instantly. If a manufacturer doesn’t offer an online tool to streamline billable hours, then the manufacturer may be missing out.
- Engineers don’t really care about social media, manufacturer’s blogs, videos, or blatantly commercial resources. Looking back at the first point, engineers are very left-brained, analytical people who want facts and figures, not opinions or unsubstantiated information.
- Trade publications, like this one, are still among the top three tools used by engineers for content. Breaking down that content, product information is the No. 1 type of information engineers need and use. (That said, check out the Product of the Year finalists, which highlights the best of the best, and allows you to vote for the most innovative products.)
Now that we’ve done the quantitative research, I’d like to hear qualitative responses from you. Do you agree with what the research says about the best ways to provide you with information? What can we do better? What can manufacturers and their marketers do better? Share your thoughts with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.