It stands to reason that the better you know the mindset and working conditions of your target audience, the better you can communicate with them in a relevant and meaningful way.
IEEE GlobalSpec recently conducted its fourth “Pulse of Engineering” survey to gain knowledge about engineers’ work habits, the pace of engineering and their work environment. The results produced a number of insights that can help you better your audience’s work environment – and what they need from you.
What’s Most Important to Engineers
Whether professionally employed for three years or 30 years, the most important factors in the careers of engineers and other technical professionals are having interesting work (selected by 87 percent), good work/life balance (67 percent), learning (59 percent) and compensation (54 percent).
Millennials (born between 1983-2000) are less driven by compensation and more by learning opportunity, growth potential and by good work/life balance.
Design Teams are More Diverse
The majority of engineers (53 percent) work in design teams of 1 to 5 people. Thirty-nine percent work on teams of 6 to 24 people and 8 percent on teams of 25 or more. Design teams of over 100 people are more often found in the Electronics industry.
While the average size of their design team has stayed the same for most engineers, the team’s makeup and output has changed. The number of projects worked on, the number of female team participants, the number of participants from different countries and design involvement from external partners have all increased since last year’s survey.
As a marketer, you must connect with a busier and more diverse design team. It may be helpful to build buyer personas or audience profiles to better craft your message.
Engineers Face Increasing Work Pressure
The majority of engineers and technical professionals agreed with these two statements: “The pace of engineering is constantly increasing” and “We are required to do more with less.” Forty percent agreed that “Pressure to meet deadlines is putting product quality/rework at risk.”
These findings confirm what everyone in the industry already knows: that engineers are under significant pressure at work. Forty-three percent of engineers are concurrently working on 3 to 5 projects; 23 percent are working on six or more.
Other survey results reinforce this conclusion about work pressures:
- 79 percent agree that designs are becoming more complex/sophisticated
- 65 percent say design cycles are shrinking
- 72 percent report there is more time-to-market pressure
- 52 percent say the number of competitors is growing
What do these findings mean to marketers? Perhaps most importantly, it means that any message or content you want to deliver to engineers must be laser-targeted and highly relevant if you want to gain a moment of their attention.
Take a look at your marketing efforts and how you position and talk about your products and services. Will a busy engineer pay attention? Do you have something to say that can help alleviate some of the pressures they face? For example, do your products reduce time to market, speed the design cycle, or explain complex ideas simply?
It might be time to tweak your content to make sure it’s aligned with your audience’s mindset and work environment.
How Performance is Measured
As is the case with many professionals, engineers are measured in terms of achieving stated objectives. The most common goals/objectives to measure team performance are product quality (used by 60 percent of companies) and customer service/satisfaction (58 percent). Launch dates is the next most common goal (49 percent). When reviewing your marketing strategy, ask yourself how you can help your audience meet these goals. Make sure your products and services’ selling points can be directly related to their objectives.
Not surprisingly, given what we know about the nature of engineers, they are good at meeting their objectives:
- 78 percent frequently or always meet product quality objectives
- 75 percent frequently or always meet customer satisfaction/service goals
- 53 percent frequently or always meet launch dates—a lower percentage than the other two, but many factors beyond an engineer’s control influence whether a launch date is met or not.
The overall conclusion to draw is that engineers and technical professionals are successfully fulfilling or surpassing the requirements of their profession, at a time when internal and external pressures are increasing. You’ve got an admirable and dedicated target audience out there. Make sure you tell them that.