New Research Reveals Insight into Engineers

To successfully connect and communicate with your target audience, you must know the habits, mindset, and working conditions of engineers. To this end, many manufacturers invest time and resources into conducting research and building customer personas.

Fortunately for industrial marketers, IEEE GlobalSpec has published its “2019 Pulse of Engineering” research report to help you with the task of understanding engineers and technical professionals. The survey collected data about engineers’ work environment, the challenges and pressures they face, how they learn skills and manage knowledge, and more.

The results produced several insights that can help you better understand your audience and help develop more effective communication strategies.

The pressure on engineers is constant.

Engineers and technical professionals are pulled in multiple directions. On average, they are working on four projects concurrently. One of the top challenges that they face is a lack of time and resources. The majority agree that the “pace of engineering is constantly increasing” and half of them say they are “required to do more with less.”

In addition:

  • Seventy-eight percent say designs are becoming more complex
  • Sixty-seven percent agree there are more time-to-market pressures
  • Sixty-three percent agree design cycles are shrinking

These results have implications for manufacturers trying to connect with such a busy, pressured audience. 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 close look at how you position and talk about your products and services. Will you be able to capture a busy engineer’s attention? Do you have something to say that can help alleviate some of the pressures they face? For example, do your products reduce their time to market, speed up the design cycle, or explain complex ideas simply?

Engineers are concerned about a knowledge drain.

Sixty-one percent of engineers said that knowledge/information loss was very important or extremely important as employees left the company. Only four percent said it was not at all important.

A major contributor to knowledge drain is that almost half of companies have no formal practices in place to identify senior-level and specialized experts to train, transfer, mentor, manage, or retain their knowledge among others in the organization. This leads not only to the loss of important skills, but also to the loss of knowledge of vendor relationships.

The goal for manufacturers should be to make themselves so valuable to a customer—in terms of providing expertise, technical knowledge, and access to content—as to become embedded in the company’s culture and way of doing business.

Competition is fierce.

Engineers are aware they operate in a highly competitive marketplace. Sixty-two percent agree or strongly agree the competitive landscape is global and competes 24/7; 58 percent said the number of competitors is growing.

As we have seen over the years, the Internet makes it easier for new suppliers to disrupt the market, level the playing field among suppliers, and provide engineers exposure to more companies to buy from. What about your digital presence and messaging make you rise above the others?

Performance measurements matter.

As is the case with many professionals, engineers are measured in terms of achieving stated objectives. The most common objectives to measure team performance are product quality and customer service/satisfaction, followed by launch dates and product unit cost.

Not surprisingly, most engineers meet their top objectives:

  • Fifty-three percent frequently or always meet product quality objectives
  • Fifty-eight percent frequently or always meet customer satisfaction/service goals

The conclusion to draw is that engineers and technical professionals are successfully fulfilling 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 in your communications with them.

What career factors are most important to engineers.

Engineers and other technical professionals report that the most important factors in their careers are having interesting work/projects (selected by 77 percent), good work/life balance (61 percent), and learning (58 percent).

While factors leading to career satisfaction may remain consistent, engineers themselves are on the move. Only 35 percent say they are very or completely likely to be employed at the same company five years from now. If engineers change jobs, they are most likely to need to upgrade their financial/business management skills, programming languages, and education on new and emerging standards such as 5G.

Manufacturers that can establish a strong relationship with engineers have a better opportunity to be “brought along” when engineers change companies.

View the complete survey results.

The engineering work environment is changing—and manufacturers must make changes as well to keep up with their target audience. Find out more about engineers by downloading the full report—“2019 Pulse of Engineering”—with complete survey results including recommendations for manufacturers. Get your copy today.

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