Five Tips for Launching a Second-Half Marketing Push

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The second half of the marketing year is well underway, which means it’s time to set your sights on the finish line and make any necessary adjustments to ensure you meet or exceed your marketing goals for the year.

Here are five things you can get started on right now to make your second-half marketing programs shine.

1. Assess Progress to Date

In order to know what adjustments you need to make, you must first find out what’s working and what’s not:

  • For each marketing program or tactic, compare your initial goals to your results so far. Are you more than halfway to your stated goals? Ahead or behind? Invariably, some programs will be performing better than expected, others not as well as you’d hoped.
  • For those programs that are going strong, consider adding more resources to further their momentum. For those that are lagging, try figuring out the reason(s) behind the lacking performance. Typically, a program doesn’t meet expectations because it was not designed properly, not targeted clearly for an audience, or has operational errors such as poor lead attribution, not enough content, weak conversion forms on a website, etc.
  • Decide whether the problems are worth fixing in order keep the program going or if those resources are better deployed elsewhere.

2. Redefine Your Objectives

The business climate is dynamic and your marketing objectives can often change during the course of a year, for any number of reasons:

  • A product line is dropped or a new product added
  • Sales targets change
  • Marketing priorities change
  • A merger or acquisition takes place
  • A new executive with a different vision comes on board

If objectives change, marketing programs often must change as well. Make sure your programs and objectives are fully aligned for the second half of the year. Also, if objectives change, budgets will likely be impacted. You might have to shift resources. Make sure the most important programs are funded and that they clearly support the most important objectives.

3. Develop New Marketing Content

You may need new marketing content for the second half of the year. Content development—whether you create it, acquire it or curate it—is an ongoing process for most marketing organizations, and one that requires planning:

  • Review your marketing calendar and make sure you will be able to fill any content gaps.
  • Brainstorm with team members and sales people to generate new content ideas.
  • Evaluate existing content for repurposing; for example, that popular article could become a hot new webinar or widely-read white paper in the coming months.
  • Line up writers, designers and other production resources you need before they are committed elsewhere.

4. Launch a New Initiative

Maybe there’s a new marketing program you’ve learned about that wasn’t part of your original plan but fits well with your marketing objectives. For instance:

  • A new industry e-newsletter that targets your audience and has advertising space to help you generate engagement opportunities
  • The opportunity to build thought leadership by sponsoring a third-party webinar in a subject matter where you have expertise

Maybe you’re accustomed to new opportunities popping up midyear and you’ve been smart enough to stash a little budget on the side for just this purpose. If not, you might have to reallocate budget from underperforming programs (see point #1 above) to fund a new initiative.

5. Talk to your Media Partners

Your media partners often have data on the performance of your programs that can help assess your progress so far. They likely also have fresh ideas if you want to try a new tactic. They can also offer insight on how to boost underperforming programs.

The right media partner is your ally, has expertise in your industry and has a vested interest in helping you succeed. Take advantage of their expertise for your second-half marketing push.

 

 

 

Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

How to Freshen Up Your Social Media Marketing

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Social media has solidified its place as an established marketing channel in the industrial sector. Social media posts are the leading type of content that manufacturing marketers rely on for content marketing purposes, with a 92 percent adoption rate.

Social media is also the second leading channel and second most effective channel for distributing content, after email. LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook are the top three channels marketers say are most effective for achieving their objectives.

At the same time, many companies are stuck in the social media doldrums. Not much is happening. Engagement is low. They’re not sure what to do to freshen up their efforts and get more from social media. Here are some ideas to help you get results.

Revisit Your Strategy

You don’t use social media just because your competitors do, right? You use it to achieve specific objectives. Document those objectives and use them to make all other social media decisions. Most industrial companies use social media to expand brand awareness, educate their followers or to build a thought leadership position. You can also generate engagement opportunities, but there are more effective marketing tactics to do that.

Cut or Cultivate

When social media momentum began to pick up, many marketers created profiles on every new social media that came along. If this happened at your company, it’s time to make decisions. Cut out the channels that you don’t use or that your audience doesn’t use. Commit to cultivating a stronger presence on the ones that you do use—or want to make better use of going forward.

Optimize Your Profiles

Once you decide which social media channels to keep or invest in, make sure you completely and consistently fill out the profiles. Your brand and what you stand for should be clear and your company description should be consistent across channels. Use important keywords in your profiles. Fill out every available field the profile offers.

Find the Passion

Social media often becomes one more item on the marketer’s to-do list. Maybe it’s time to turn over your social media efforts to a colleague or even a college intern that has a real passion for social media and the skills to make the most out of your company’s social media presence. If that’s not an option, remember to take the time to put that excitement back into your social media updates. If you’re bored, your followers will be, too.

Update Your Content Approach

If you use social media simply to promote your products and services, you won’t get much traction. Instead, focus on the content that’s of interest to your audience. Most of your content should be curated—shares and reposts by influencers and thought leaders in your industry that will help keep your audience up on trends. A smaller percentage of posts should be original educational content that you create. The smallest percentage should be promotional content.

Develop a Personality

Social media content should be more informal and conversational than other marketing tactics. Use a human touch. Create an interesting voice or perspective. Tell stories, appeal to emotions. Don’t be afraid to use “We” and “Our” to demonstrate there are people behind the posts.

Follow your Customers and Prospects

Not only can you gain insight and intelligence by following your customers and prospects on social media, you can engage in conversations with them. Comment on their posts. Offer occasional advice. If you follow them, chances are high that they will follow you in return. Next thing you know a relevant community is forming.

Enlist Your Employees

A great way to expand your reach is to create pre-approved content and encourage your company’s employees to share the content on their personal social media profiles. People by nature pay more attention to what their friends post than what a company posts. Make sure you provide guidelines to employees about sharing the content and responding to any comments they might get.

Focus on Relevant Measurement

Measurement is the only way you can intelligently manage social media initiatives and make improvements to your program. It’s not that difficult, as long as you understand your goals for using social media and pay attention to the metrics that matter. These are the four metrics that matter most:

  • Reach—Followers, likes, mentions. It’s easy to measure reach, which is good for your brand. But the quality of reach is important: a mention from an industry analyst has more value than a photo that someone likes.
  • Engagement— Twitter re-tweets, Facebook wall posts or shares, blog responses, comments on LinkedIn discussions, length of video views, etc. Engagement measures the relevancy of your content.
  • Sentiment—Are you getting positive, negative or neutral reactions to your content? Sentiment measures the qualitative, emotional reaction to your content and company on social media channels.
  • Conversions— To measure conversions, your social media content must include a call to action: register for a webinar, download a white paper, watch a video, etc. Tracking social media conversions not only gives you straight numbers, it gives you data for comparison purposes across integrated programs. What resulted in more conversions: your tweet or your e-newsletter advertisement?

What other ways have you tried to reinvigorate your social media channels? Let us know!

Marketing, General Social Media

5 Ways to Give Your Content Marketing A Boost

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Content marketing is one of the most effective and essential tactics in industrial marketing. In fact, eighty-six percent of manufacturers  use content marketing.

On average, marketers in the manufacturing sapce use five types of content. The most popular are social media posts, videos, illustrations/photos, case studies and eBooks/white papers.

However, despite the popularity of content marketing, many marketers struggle to continually come up with fresh content to fuel their efforts. That’s why we’ve put together this list of five ideas that could spark your imagination and give a boost to your content marketing.

1. Gather data about what your audience likes

Look through your website, email stats and other data you collect to find out what types of content your audience gravitates toward. What pages do they read the most? Which videos are most popular? What gets clicked on? What keywords do prospects use to find your site?

You might discover that specific posts, pages or white papers are responsible for a lot of your qualified leads. That’s like striking a content marketing goldmine. You’ve found a topic that resonates with your audience. Go broader and deeper into that topic by developing new content around it.

2. Answer five common questions

Work with your sales team to find out the most common questions they get from customers and prospects. Use the answers to create a helpful guide for your target audience.

This can be a valuable piece of content because it is relevant to what your audience is thinking. You can answer the questions as a straightforward Q&A, an article, an infographic or in another content format.

3. Hit the refresh button

Even the best content gets old and stale. Maybe you’ve changed your positioning or upgraded products or embraced new technology. Take a look through older content and refresh what’s out of date to reflect your current situation. Often this will require only minimal resources.

Refreshed content can rise in search engine rankings, helping to extend its useful life.

4. Write and pitch an educational article

Focus on a common customer problem and write an educational article that provides a solution. Target the article toward a specific publication or industry website and pitch the editor with your idea.

An educational article that appears in a respected industry publication or is published on an industry website is an excellent way to build credibility and trust and to demonstrate thought leadership. Include a customer story if possible, with quotes from several sources. Remember to remain objective and focused on the problem-solution approach. Don’t be promotional.

5. Answer the “How to ” question

When your target audience is trying to solve a problem or seek a solution, they are much more likely to begin a search query with “How to . . .” than they are to type your company or product name into a search engine.

You can create a lot of powerful and persuasive content by focusing on the “How to.” For example, each of these topic areas can follow the “How to” model:

  • Problem solving guides
  • Needs assessments
  • Building a solutions budget
  • Analyzing potential pitfalls
  • Vendor selection
  • Readiness assessments
  • ROI calculators

Bonus idea: Create dedicated landing pages

To really measure the effectiveness of your content, you should create dedicated landing pages for each of your content campaigns. The pages should be simple and focused on the action you want your prospect to take, whether it’s to complete a form, download a guide, watch a video, register for a webinar or other action.

You’ll find that a well-designed, dedicated landing page can boost the effectiveness of your content by increasing conversions.

Content marketing is going to remain high on the list of marketing tactics. Thirty-eight percent of manufacturers expect their organization’s content marketing budget to increase over the next 12 months. Get those ideas rolling and make sure your budget is well spent.

Content Marketing Marketing, General

Here’s Your Summer Marketing Plan

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“Summertime and the livin’ is easy,” the song goes. While many people associated summer with vacations and a slower pace, the engine of business continues to rumble.

Many companies use the summer months to gear up marketing programs for a second half revenue push. They’re generating new engagement opportunities, nurturing existing leads and creating new content.

It’s a good season to tune-up your lead engagement practices to make sure you have no glitches in your systems and processes, and to adhere with current best practices. Here are tips to keep you going strong.

1. Give compelling reasons to engage

Whether your goal is generating new engagement opportunities or nurturing leads through the funnel, you must put forth a compelling reason for prospects to interact with you.

With potential new prospects, focus on the primary goal of exchanging information with them. You’re likely asking them to fill out a form with their name, email address, company and perhaps more. Everyone is wary these days. No one gives out their information easily. Therefore, you must have a compelling, benefit-oriented offer stated up front in the headline of your marketing pitch. Make sure your offers are focused on solving a customer problem, saving customers time or reducing their costs.

2. Go step by step

A nurturing campaign is in some ways like a course in school, with you as the professor. You start by providing a foundation of knowledge and information to your audience, and then slowly add more detailed and complex concepts. With step-by-step campaigns, you may offer more educational and higher-level content first, followed by a deep technical dive once you have prospects engaged.

Take a close look at your nurturing campaigns. Do you have clear step-by-step processes based on the behavior of your customers and prospects? Does each step along the way build on what came before and move prospects through your marketing and sales funnel?

3. Make a smooth handoff

Another way to tune up nurturing campaigns is to make sure the handoff of leads to your sales team is based on mutual agreement between marketing and sales. Document what constitutes a sales-ready lead. Make sure the handoff takes place by building checks and balances into your processes. For examples, sales must update a record after receiving a lead and marketing must develop a system that scores leads based on their behavior.

4. Be compliant with GDPR

If you have any customers or prospects from the European Union, you must be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new law that defines a framework for collecting and processing of personal information of individuals within the European Union.

While compliance with GDPR may seem like just one more task to take on, it actually will help you adhere to best practices in lead engagement. GDPR forces you to focus on building relationships on marketing and selling to people who want to hear from you. You’ll be dealing with prospects much more engaged and ready to buy. Because you’ll be concentrating on quality prospects over a quantity of prospects, in the long run you should benefit.

Last month the Maven ran an article about gearing up for GDPR. You can read it here. Another point: make sure the media partners you work with are in compliance with GDPR. IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions is.

5. Automate

No matter what your company size, you should strongly consider marketing automation software if you aren’t using it yet. There are a number of competitive, lower cost solutions on the market that have important features for lead engagement and nurturing.

Most systems will offer analytics, campaign and lead management, lead scoring, segmentation, landing page creation and visitor tracking. With marketing automation, you will be able to save time, better manage your marketing efforts and increase the likelihood of having successful marketing campaigns.

Let us know – what are you summer marketing plans?

Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

Market Research: Why You Need It and How to Use It

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It’s a given that  knowledge and insight into your audience is vital to a successful marketing plan. While experience can provide a lot of this knowledge, you also need to keep up with how markets are changing, technologies are advancing, and the emergence of new customers.

To make sure your marketing plan keeps pace, give it an injection of market research.

According to research conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions, industrial marketers conduct market research for three primary reasons:

  1. To gain knowledge about the marketplace/target audience (76 percent)
  2. To develop competitive analyses (70 percent)
  3. To understand existing customers (68 percent)

Entering a new market is the top reason industrial marketers use (or would potentially invest in) market research. The results of market research can help you prioritize marketing investments, improve products, create more effective content, fend off competitors and more.  If you have goals or challenges in any of these areas, you likely want to invest in market research.

Primary and Secondary Research

Primary research is conducted by you, or by a research firm you hire for the project. Examples of primary research include focus groups, surveys, interviews and observations. With primary research, you are trying to answer questions or find out information specifically relevant to your company and situation.

Secondary research is the use of previously completed studies, such as analyst reports, scientific studies and other third-party research and content. Marketers must interpret the findings of secondary research to apply to their own situations. It’s relatively easy to find free or low cost secondary research using the internet or research journals.

Both primary and secondary research are useful and important in shaping your marketing plan. Which type of research you rely on first or most depends on a number of factors, including the specificity of your goals and your budget.

The Budget Issue

While many industrial marketers understand the value of market research, it’s no surprise that budgets don’t always line up with desires. Of those industrial marketers that use market research, 63 percent invest less than ten percent of their budget in primary or secondary market research. Of those that don’t use research, 57 percent say budgetary constraints prevent them from using primary research.

Do-it-Yourself or Work with a Vendor?

Sixty-four percent of marketers take the do-it-yourself approach when it comes to conducting primary research. That means taking responsibility for setting research goals, designing and sending out surveys, making calls, conducting focus groups, etc.—and also compiling and analyzing the data you collect. Conducting research yourself can help with budget constraints, but it can also be difficult to accomplish if you’re short on time and manpower.

Forty-six percent hire an outside vendor to conduct primary market research. Industrial marketers state they want a market research provider that has:

  • Experience working in my industry (56 percent)
  • Research specific to my industry (49 percent)
  • Depth of knowledge in my industry (42 percent)

The takeaway is that if you’re going to hire an outside firm, make sure they know your specific industry and have experience conducting research among its audience.

When it comes to obtaining secondary research, 85 percent of marketers search the internet, with some positive results: 30 percent of their secondary research comes from internet searches.

Often, a company will start by compiling secondary research and then fill in missing intelligence by conducting primary research.

Make More Informed Decisions

With the insight you gain through both primary and secondary market research, you can make more informed and  confident decisions about which markets to enter, products to develop, and how to market to customers and prospects.

For a quick, one-page guide on this topic, download the infographic “How Industrial Marketers Use Market Research.”

 

Market Research Marketing, General

What Separates Electronics Engineers From Their Peers

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In its fourth annual research report—“The Pulse of Engineering”— IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions took a fresh approach by segmenting survey responses from electronics engineers. These engineers represent a significant part of IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions’ audience and are a frequently targeted population for manufacturers.

The survey revealed what engineers think about the resources available to them, their competition, how their performance is measured, and the climate at their current company. It also delved into an engineers’ work style, along with their motivations and career path.

When looking at these findings, a number of differences between electronics engineers and those engineers working in other industries are evident. For manufacturers that market to this sector, the findings should shape how you communicate with this audience.

Larger Companies and Design Teams

Electronics engineers are more likely to work for larger companies that employ 500 or more engineers. They are also more likely to work in design teams of 100 or more engineers and in teams that have a greater number of design team participants from other countries.

These results indicate that you may need to reach out to a greater number of engineers who have a variety of perspectives and interest areas. Some may be focused on how well a product works, others on how well a product fits into their existing environment, and still others on the economic payback of a product. When marketing to electronics companies, you may need to create content and messaging that resonates with different areas of focus and that can appeal to a variety of team members and decision makers.

Conditions at Electronics Companies

As with engineers across every industry, many electronics engineers report that the pace of engineering is constantly increasing, the pressure to meet deadlines is putting product quality/rework at risk, and they are required to do more with less.

However, electronics engineers are less likely to say that their companies are losing specialized knowledge and senior expertise faster than they can gain it. If you are a contributor to that specialized knowledge and expertise in a company through your products or services, then you’ve proven yourself to be a valuable ally to these engineers.

Other research findings specific to the electronics industry include:

  • Electronics engineers are more likely to consider software and development tools, coding resources and design kits as essential to completing projects.
  • Electronics engineers are more likely to say that the competitive landscape is global and competes 24×7, that new technologies and companies disrupt markets and products faster, and that competitors are quick to adapt and take away business—all findings that reinforce the turbulent and fast-changing nature of the electronics industry.
  • Workforces are more likely to be increasing in electronics than in other industries. At the same time, layoffs are a bigger reason for electronics engineers to leave their company than it is in other industries. The top reason to leave a current role or company is in order to pursue advancement opportunities.
  • In terms of upgrading their career skills, electronics engineers are most interested in learning programming languages, new and emerging standards such as 5G and how to implement artificial intelligence. If you can help educate electronics engineers in any of these areas, you should produce focused messaging and content to support the initiative.

No matter what industries you market to, connecting with engineers requires understanding their needs and motivations, and producing technical and educational content to help them succeed at their jobs.

For a more complete understanding of engineers and their work environment, download a complimentary copy of “2018 Pulse of Engineering.” This valuable resource includes all research results along with analysis and marketing recommendations for industrial marketers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Customer Relationships Electronics Marketing, General

Gearing Up for GDPR: 5 Questions to Ask

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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on May 25, 2018.

If you market to, sell to or otherwise engage with companies and individuals in countries impacted by GDPR, it needs to be on your radar. Are you prepared?

As you work to ensure GDPR compliance for your business, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What is my audience breakdown?
Do you know what percentage of your contacts come from GDPR-impacted countries? Having a realistic snapshot of what relationships – both prospect and customer – will be impacted by this regulation can help you target your compliance efforts and better plan for next steps.

2. How can I ensure a continued relationship with my existing contacts from GDPR countries?
You’ve identified those contacts in your database covered by GDPR. Now’s the time to get them to raise their hands and agree to continue receiving your content. It’s never too early to begin implementing re-engagement campaigns to maintain communication going forward. Explain to your contacts that you value their privacy and illustrate the benefits of opting in to receive communications from you.

3. How do I opt-in new contacts from GDPR-impacted countries?
So you have a plan in place to re-engage your existing contacts. What about new ones? Now’s the time to review any forms on your website that request email addresses to ensure that they are in compliance with GDPR. This
may include requiring additional information regarding contact preferences, implementing “opt in” versus “opt out” forms, including links to a clear privacy policy, and more.

4. What does this mean for my relationships with media partners?
Given the severe penalties for companies that do not adhere to GDPR, it is in your best interest to ensure that all of your media partners are in compliance as well. One way to do this is to request a data compliance statement. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your partners should be able to explain to you how they are complying with this regulation.

5. What else can I do to engage with these contacts?
If you are specifically focused on marketing to countries in the EU, now’s the time to explore a well-rounded media mix to attract and engage this audience, comprised of both push and pull marketing channels. Your IEEE GlobalSpec account executive can help you build a program that accomplishes that goal.

The GDPR is complex and may feel overwhelming, but remember: we’re in this together. Want to learn more? Access an overview of the key changes related to GDPR here.

Marketing, General

How to Keep Up with Engineers on the Move

 

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Only 37 percent of engineers say they are very likely or completely likely to be employed by the same company five years from now.

Of those engineers who might leave their current role, 32 percent stated that moving to another company would be the reason they leave their current role. That percentage rises to 37 percent of those in the Electronics industry and 51 percent for millennials.

These results, from the “2018 Pulse of Engineering” survey conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions, point to the conclusion that engineers are on the move—and the impact on manufacturers and their marketing strategies can be significant. You may have invested significant time and resources toward building relationships with these engineers, only to have them move to another company.

Your goal, then, must be to make sure that when engineers move, they take you with them. How can you do this? By making your company so valuable to them that they couldn’t imagine starting a new job without your company as their ally.

Manufacturers Can Be Trusted Providers of Content

You might gain an advantage if your company can play a role in helping engineers advance along their learning curve. One of the keys is to produce content valued by engineers.

When asked how they systematically or formally maintain, educate and advance their professional skills, engineers answered books, colleagues, online training courses and webinars. Next most popular were technical white papers by vendors. And to complete projects they are working on, engineers turn to technical documentations, software and development tools, and product specification datasheets.

It may be a good time to review and possibly upgrade your company’s online training, webinars, technical documents and white papers.

Engineers May Leave, But You Can Stay

If you establish strong enough relationships with engineers, they may recommend you in their new positions when they change companies. Additionally, you still want to remain entrenched in their previous company, and the way to do that is to be an indispensable knowledge resource.

Engineers admit that knowledge or information loss is moderately (28 percent), very (31 percent) or extremely important (16 percent) as employees left their company. Yet 55 percent of companies surveyed don’t have 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. On average, engineers gave a 5.2 out of 10 satisfaction score for their company’s talent or knowledge management processes.

A significant gap exists between where companies are and where they should be in terms of maintaining, managing and transferring knowledge internally. That gap creates an opportunity for manufacturers to step in and provide customized content and training that will benefit these companies as well as embed the manufacturer within the company because of their expertise. Forty-four percent say that design involvement from external partners and vendors is increasing.

Whether engineers are moving to other companies or trying to retain knowledge when others have left, manufacturers can step up by providing the important content that can make them an invaluable resource to their present and future customers.

 

 

 

 

 

Content Marketing Customer Relationships Marketing, General

Secrets of the Engineer’s Work Environment

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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.

 

 

 

 

Customer Relationships Marketing, General

Engineers Are Facing an Information Shortage – Here’s How You Can Help

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Most marketers know that engineers and technical professionals consume a lot of content. Various forms of content are necessary to help them stay informed, perform their jobs better, and to aid their buying decisions. Good content from vendors helps educate engineers and increases their confidence in the products and services they purchase or recommend.

However, many engineers are facing an information shortage or having trouble managing information- they don’t have easy access to the amount of technical, relevant and educational content they are looking for. The IEEE GlobalSpec “Pulse of Engineering” survey reports that 44 percent of engineers are dealing with constraints in accessing/managing information. Sixty-six percent of engineers are constrained by a lack of specialized knowledge in their organizations.

Here’s how to help your current and prospective clients by satisfying their need for knowledge.

Get Technical with Your Audience

If engineers are constrained by an information shortage, the impact can be significant due to their reliance on technical content. When asked what the three most essential systems or tools they use to complete their projects are, 69 percent said technical documentation and 67 percent said software and development tools. The next most important tools were product specification data and datasheets.

These results offer a message to manufacturers: your customers need technical content. Don’t be afraid to dig deep and get into the weeds on the specifics of your products and services, and how they compare to others in the industry. If you can supply this content, you will likely be in a better position to win business and become an essential ally to your customers.

Get Information in Their Hands

For manufacturers like you to meet the information needs of their audience, they need an effective content marketing strategy. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

The good news is that the vast majority of manufacturers (86 percent) use content marketing, according to an annual research report — “2018 Manufacturing Content Marketing” — conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, and sponsored in by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions.

However, only 22 percent of manufacturers describe their content marketing efforts as mature or sophisticated and only 19 percent have a documented content marketing strategy. Fifty-five percent consider their organization’s content marketing approach to be moderately successful. That leaves plenty of room for improvement.

Among the content types, distribution formats, and social media platforms that respondents use, videos (pre-produced), email, and LinkedIn were rated by content marketers as most effective in helping their organizations achieve specific objectives. The top six types of content produced by manufacturers are social media posts, pre-produced video, illustrations/photos, case studies, eBooks/white papers, and infographics. In creating and refining your content marketing strategy, learn from your peers and consider adding these types of content that have proven effective.

What Engineers Will Exchange for Content

Your audience is willing to exchange a range of things for the information they want. The Pulse of Engineering report found that 53 percent of engineers are willing to register on a website for access to specific documents. Twenty-six percent said they were willing to pay for access to premium content and prefer to pay one set rate for access to all of an organization’s documentation. Twenty-three percent prefer to pay for access to documents as they are needed.

As far as content used to advance their professional skills, engineers mainly use books, colleagues, online training courses, and webinars.

These two research reports provide clear takeaways for manufacturers: Become the vendor that meets your audience’s information needs. Improve your content marketing efforts. Don’t be afraid to take a deep dive into your products and services, offering the technical, in-depth knowledge that engineers and technical professionals are looking for. They will thank you with their business.

Content Marketing Customer Relationships Marketing, General