Marketers in every industry are always looking for ways to better reach their target audiences. For industrial marketers, TREW marketing’s latest report [download page], produced with GlobalSpec, provides some key insights into the state of marketing to engineers in 2021.
While the debate on whether or not to gate content no doubt continues, some content is worth filling out a form for. According to the more than 1,300 engineers and technical professions surveyed, white papers are the content format that will most convince engineers to complete a short form when offered technical content. This was the type selected by the largest portion (44%) of respondents, though only slightly fewer said they would provide their information for a CAD drawing (41%) or an in-depth case study (40%).
Around one-third of engineers indicated that they would fill in a form in order to receive a video tutorial (32%), webinar (30%) or product configurator (30%), but nearly 1 in 5 (17%) said that they are never willing to fill out a web form in exchange for content.
When it comes to researching information to make a product or service purchase decision, it’s datasheets that engineers appear to find most valuable, by some margin. A full 73% of respondents said datasheets are very valuable to them, some 32 percentage points higher than the next-most valuable content type, case studies (41%).
Engineers and Online Events
In every industry, online and virtual events have become more common as well as more popular since the pandemic compromised in-person gatherings. But how has this affected engineers?
In fact, nearly half (48%) of engineer respondents said they had participated in a virtual industry conference or trade show event. And, this attendance looks likely to rise, with nearly 9 in 10 saying that if their favorite in-person industry conference or trade show event was staged as a virtual event in 2021, they would (31%) or maybe would (56%) attend.
That said, it appears that engineers lean more toward webinars than virtual events – roughly half (49%) of respondents said that stand-alone webinars would be more valuable, while just 2 in 10 said virtual events would be and nearly 3 in 10 (28%) were not sure.
When industry conferences and trade show events were cancelled, the largest proportion (63%) of engineers went to supplier/vendor websites for alternate information and/or networking. Sizable portions also turned to trade publications (44%), publication emails/e-newsletters (43%) and vendor emails/e-newsletters (41%).
As of the time of the survey, the largest share (43%) of engineers reported subscribing to 3 to 5 e-newsletters, while 30% subscribed to 1-2. For marketers attempting to reach engineers through this channel, it’s important to note that the largest share (42%) of respondents said that they scan for subject lines that intrigue them, and delete the rest.
In terms of getting information to engineers in other ways, targeted advertisements are perhaps not the way to go – a plurality (30%) said their response to personalized ads for a product they have recently viewed on a vendor website would be “creeped out. I can’t believe the vendor is following me around the internet.”
Professional community networks appear to be more popular, with half (49%) of the respondents considering them to be very valuable. Interestingly, though, almost as many engineers (43%) said that these networks were not very valuable. Nonetheless, networking with other professionals was the top reason that engineers said they would use a social media platform for business (60%).
Read the full report here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a global survey of 1,261 engineers and technical professionals.