The recent Rio Olympic Games featured athletes with important advantages such as wider wingspans, longer legs, and sturdier frames than the average human being. These special features make it possible for them to land on the podium by performing dominant athletic feats – at least that’s the lens an engineer might view the games through.
Engineers have gained a reputation as logical and analytical thinkers for a reason. Simply put, it’s their job to understand how and why things perform the way they do. As a result, they are hungry for information which can help them evaluate an operation and assess how something fits within a larger system.
This presents an interesting challenge for many manufacturers and industrial service providers. Engineers are often the ones within an industrial company that recognizes the need for a product or service and must present the business case for making a purchase. However, since engineers are most concerned with understanding things based on technical data, traditional B2C marketing efforts, which emphasize sizzle over steak, are usually overlooked.
It starts by understanding that engineers already know which products or services they need. They design the equipment they work with and are experts in their field. This means it is simply a matter of searching for something that meets their requirements. 94% of B2B buyers begin their research online and websites which appear within the top search results get the most clicks. In fact, on average the first search result generates over 30% of all clicks, while the top five results combine for over 70% of total clicks. Therefore, one of the most important aspects when marketing to engineers is having a strong SEO strategy to ensure a website is easily found.
Helping engineers find a product is only the first step. Engineers want proof before making a decision. This means marketers need numbers to support their claims, which can be difficult for non-technical teams to communicate clearly. A close relationship between marketers and internal product experts is crucial for marketing to engineers. Product experts can validate the accuracy of the data being communicated, but more importantly, they can make sure marketing is speaking the right language.
Data is only valuable if it displays the proper information. tweet
Product experts (often engineers themselves) understand which specs engineers are looking for and can help marketing teams highlight the most useful data.
Despite being able to get the proper information in front of engineers, it can sometimes be difficult to establish a trusting relationship. It’s understandable. Nobody wants their project to fail, but for engineers, failure can have drastic consequences. They need to be certain that the products they recommend will perform. An opinion from sales or marketing staff isn’t always a convincing enough guarantee. However, engineers trust other engineers. A case study or customer testimonial from another expert may be enough to seal the deal. Case studies and testimonials should be easy to find on a website and shared directly via email when possible.
Finally, we’re big fans of marketing automation tools for industrial businesses, but when marketing to engineers, they become even more important. Despite engineers often being the driving force behind an industrial purchase, they can be difficult for marketers to find.
Mass email, direct mail, and unsolicited phones calls are often ignored and dismissed as useless marketing fluff. tweet
Marketing automation tools, on the other hand, give marketers a leg up by identifying engineers visiting a website, highlighting the products they are interested in, and often providing contact information. Personalized emails and phone calls which provide detailed information about the exact products an engineer is interested in will be appreciated since they provide value and save time.
There is no doubt that marketing to engineers and other technical buyers presents some unique challenges. Engineers are already looking for the products and services they need. It is up to industrial marketers to help them find products that meet their requirements by providing the most relevant technical data. Online technology and especially search engines like Google play a big role in this and businesses that are able to successfully harness technology are sure to rise to the top with podium-worthy marketing feats.
About Martha Boulianne
Martha manages marketing and sales at ActiveConversion. You'll find her behind much of the content, design, and social media efforts that continue to grow our online presence. She has spent her professional life developing skills in design and online marketing and spends her time not at work charging around after her family and making things.
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