Technical professionals are hard-working problem-solvers. They thrive on finding the right solution. They live for that challenge, and the more challenging, the better they like it. This group of professionals is constantly evolving—always looking for what’s better, faster, cooler. And they want information that’s going to keep them up to speed. They don’t just want it—they expect to find it when they go looking for it.
As marketers, it’s important that you provide your audience with this information. Suppliers who can satisfy engineers’ vast appetite for content and meet their audience’s expectations will be in a much better position to win their business.
Nowhere are those expectations higher than they are in the digital arena. The reason is technical professionals spend more time online for work-related purposes than ever before. They seek access to content, resources, products and suppliers. Be there for them and yours can be the company that exceeds the expectations of your target audience. Here’s how:
Provide content for all stages of the buying cycle
Technical professionals go online during all stages of their buying cycle, from the early research phases to the later procurement phases. In fact, they do so much of their buy cycle work online that many do not contact a supplier until they are ready to make a purchase.
In the early research and identification stages of the buy cycle, technical professionals want to learn about different approaches to solving their problem. What processes or products work best? Who are the innovative suppliers in this area? What used to work but no longer does? This is the time to offer white papers, articles and videos, host a webinar or exhibit at an online event.
As they enter the consideration phase, they may look for case studies, testimonials, product demos, CAD files and other documents that can demonstrate benefits and set you apart from the competition.
Later in their buy cycle, technical professionals will be seeking information to help them make an informed and confident purchasing decision. Information such as ROI calculators, checklists and specification sheets all are helpful at this point.
Focus on educating and informing
Technical professionals can be obsessive about staying up-to-date. They never want to be the last person to hear about what’s new in their world. To stay educated and informed, they go online to read industry news, follow the latest trends and discover new technologies.
Suppliers who are engaged in building thought leadership and brand awareness have a chance to be noticed for their positions on industry topics that are important to their audience. These suppliers focus on publishing articles and interviews on industry websites and blogs, sponsoring and speaking at relevant online events, and hosting educational webinars. The key here is to establish your expertise by being educational and informative to your audience.
Maintain a presence where your audience can find you
Technical professionals use a variety of digital resources in their quest for information: industry websites, e-newsletters, online catalogs, YouTube and other video-sharing sites, online events and webinars, blogs, social media and more.
While it’s likely you can’t be everywhere, you should build and maintain a highly-visible presence on those digital channels that work best for you. You’ll have a much better chance of connecting with technical professionals and creating a strong brand.
Additionally, you can often re-purpose content for use in multiple channels, helping to save you time and money. For example, a white paper on your website can become the basis for a webinar or an article for an online industry publication. A video customer interview can become a case study. You can promote the same content in multiple ways: e-newsletter ads, banner ads, social media, blog posts, etc.
Be considerate and helpful
At the end of the day, marketing’s goal is to help contribute to the growth of your company. How you do that is open to interpretation. If you want to meet the expectations of your audience, our suggestion is to avoid the hard sell.
In the industrial sector, there’s very little impulse buying. There may be some incentive purchasing—volume discounts, end-of-year orders and such, but for the most part technical professionals don’t make a purchase until they have a specific need and only after they’ve done careful research. In addition, multiple decision makers are often involved. If with every marketing touch you are asking potential customers to “Buy now!” or forcing them to register for every piece of content, technical professionals will quickly turn away and look for another source of information.
It’s better to err on the side of being helpful and considerate. Wait for buying signals from your prospects, such as attendance at an important webinar or a certain number of website visits or other criteria you set. Until that point, focus on providing useful and relevant content that fulfills their expectations.
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How do you meet the high expectations of your audience? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.