B2B brands and marketers trying to reach engineers take note. A typical B2B approach will not work without understanding the unique preferences and behaviors of these analytical thinkers. Marketers must be steps ahead, anticipating engineers’ preferred work activities when starting their process for a new project. Understanding the typical behaviors and preferences along each stage of their buyer’s journey provides the insights needed to provide the content they want, when they want it. So how can brands break through? What works best to inform, engage and inspire engineers before they start their next big project?
Start with building buyer personas or profiles of your target audience.
Understanding your audiences is a critical first step prior to developing a communications or content marketing strategy. Having the right mix of research and extracting key insights will create a profile of an ideal customer. Parts of these insights will include an understanding of preferences and identifying common work-related behaviors along each stage of their journey beginning with research and ending with a purchase decision. Armed with the knowledge of specific work-related activities and what exactly they are looking for is imperative to creating relevant content that will be found during these most prominent online activities. This matching up of content with key behaviors positions brands to be part of the consideration set and begin the process of building trust with engineering audiences.
Reach them earlier than anyone else.
Marketers can stay steps ahead by planning content to align with the most important engineer work activities. Having an intimate understanding of what they prefer to do and what they are looking for also provides the opportunity to educate and inform much earlier in their research process when first starting a project. Each piece of content needs to have a purpose—educate, challenge, inspire and entertain. So where to start? A content strategy. Map and plan your content considering preferences for an educational, visual and convenient digital experience. Online games or trivia, how-to videos, webcasts, white papers, case studies and infographics are all examples of relevant ways to package content and achieve higher levels of engagement. Now that you have all this great content, where and when do you place it?
Being timely and relevant earns their trust.
Engineers of all ages overwhelmingly prefer digital resources over the more traditional print sources. While catalogs and product spec sheets still carry weight, marketers should shift their messaging to be delivered where the largest percentage of the audience goes for each stage of the buyer’s journey. During the initial research phase, engineers turn to search engines, brand websites, trade media websites seeking product reviews, specifications and more. In each instance, marketers should aim to have their brand deliver a relevant marketing message through digital display ads, promoted content like blog posts, how-to videos and product reviews. As engineers begin to trust and consider a brand, they desire more detail through tactics like webcasts, case studies, white papers and online catalogs. The final vetting occurs in both the virtual and real world—conversations with peers in forums, social media, face-to-face at trade shows and consumption of online demonstrations. Aligning the right content at the right time in a relevant way will create a natural pathway to progress to the desired outcome of contacting a sales representative. In the B2B engineering space, this often happens once the majority of the research and vetting is completed. At this point they are at the end of the buyer’s journey and are almost settled on making a purchase decision.
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