Oh, the places you could go
Engineers are spending a great deal of time and energy making connections, more often via in-person meetings, but also via virtual sessions of some sort.
One of the interesting trends in the publishing industry right now is that media companies are making money in nontraditional ways. Events, for example, are one of the hottest revenue streams in the media market, and this movement doesn’t show signs of slowing down in the near future. If you look back 20 years, the print title was the main revenue stream; now, publishers are bringing in profits via multiple sources.
Take the parent company of this publication, for example, which recently held an event called Marketing to Engineers, focusing on how manufacturers and their communications teams can best reach the engineering market. You—the engineers—are a finicky bunch, and often difficult for marketers and vendors to reach.
Through all the research that Consulting-Specifying Engineer does, we’ve drawn one obvious conclusion: Face-to-face interaction tends to be the most effective. Engineers like to hear from their peers in the building industry, as well as from product manufacturers, systems experts, and high-level thought leaders. Anything from a lunch-and-learn to a multiday series of education sessions works. Obviously, events that are free or low-cost, convenient (reducing time away from the client), or include continuing education attached have the biggest draw. Associations that draw experts to create codes or standards, or organizations with narrowly focused topics, also do extraordinarily well in attracting engineers to an event. In a recent study, 76% of this audience indicated that conferences/seminars were “moderately” or “highly” valuable to them in their jobs.
While the vast majority of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer audience has been in the industry for more than 20 years, face-to-face meetings continue to be attractive. For example, 59% of this audience spends up to 20% outside the office, whether it’s serving clients or traveling to present at a conference. In a recent study, when asked about challenges, “keeping up with technology” and “working with younger employees” ranked highly as problem areas. Ensuring that engineers of all experience levels attend conferences, seminars, and lunch-and-learns could help with these challenges. Younger staff members especially can benefit from this real-world interaction with the client or the local sales rep.
Even virtual events are making an impact. Webcasts/webinars, videoconference calls, and other virtual meetings have been growing as time schedules become more compressed. Hour-long education sessions, like the Consulting-Specifying Engineer webcast series, or self-paced online education including multiweek courses are filling up fast and, in many cases, selling out. There’s a huge need for continuing education—just look at the jump in the number of colleges and universities that are offering degrees online.
Once again, I invite you to meet with me and a group of fellow building professionals at an upcoming event to discuss industry trends. Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll meet for a cup of coffee or a beer.