Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard that engineers and technical professionals rely heavily on content to make informed purchasing decisions. New research underscores this fact: 92 percent of engineers responding to an IEEE GlobalSpec and TREW Marketing survey said they are more likely to do business with companies that regularly produce new and current content.
Succeeding in content marketing and attracting customers, however, is no easy task. You must create a diverse portfolio of content that engineers and technical professionals find valuable, distribute the content to them, track their interaction with the content, and follow up with them to be their ally during their buying journey.
What Types of Content?
The survey found that engineers find significant value in case studies/application notes, with 81 percent of respondents ranking this type of content as either very or moderately valuable.
The next most valuable is longer-copy content such as e-books (75 percent find them valuable), white papers (74 percent) and books (73 percent). Videos also have a strong showing, regardless of length, with both how-to and product demos performing well.
Webinars are an established content type for this audience as well, with nearly all respondents (91 percent) ranking them at least “somewhat valuable.” In fact, very few engineers rated any content type as “not very valuable”, which demonstrates that you should focus on building a broad portfolio.
The IEEE GlobalSpec and TREW Marketing survey reinforces previous research that shows that the top three content sources that engineers find most valuable are all online: search engines (43 percent), supplier/vendor websites (37 percent), and trade publication websites (29 percent).
YouTube is a valuable channel for distributing video content. Email, including your own e-newsletters and those of third parties, are effective vehicles for promoting content as well.
Among offline/traditional media, engineers and technical professionals value trade shows and trade print publications, with about a third of respondents finding each source very valuable. Social media channels – including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter – are not viewed by respondents as exceptionally valuable sources for work-related information.
While engineers and technical professionals are thirsty for content, the level of trust they have in content types vary. However, content written by an engineering expert at a vendor company is regarded as most trusted by respondents (4.5/6 on a scale of trustworthiness). This is great news for industrial marketers who might worry about how their content will be perceived.
Consider choosing one or more engineering experts at your company to promote as thought leaders. You can create content for them, such as white papers, articles, application notes, e-books and more. Your audience will learn to recognize the names of your experts and trust the content that is produced in their names. You can also partner with other respected experts in your field to produce content.
Integrate Content into Campaigns
Creating and distributing valuable, trusted content is only part of the content marketing equation. Your goal should be to plan campaigns that help engineers and technical professionals make confident, informed buying decisions.
In the early stages of their buy cycle, engineers are seeking educational content that informs and generates trust. As they interact with your content and make contact with your company, offer additional content that can help them make a final decision, such as ROI calculators, competitive comparisons, detailed specifications, and support and warranty information.
If possible, you should track every interaction a prospect has with your content so you know where they are in their buying process. This enables you to respond appropriately with the next piece of content or to pass qualified prospects on to your sales team.
To find out more about how you can more effectively and successfully target technical audiences through your marketing efforts, download your complimentary copy of the latest research from IEEE GlobalSpec and TREW Marketing, “Smart Marketing for Engineers.” This is one tool you’ll want on hand as you finalize your 2018 marketing plans.