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June 27 2019.
Marketing to engineers.

Over the past few decades in Industrial Sales & Marketing, I have learnt few key things while marketing to Engineers.....

1.Engineers look down on advertising and advertising people.
2.Engineers do not like a "consumer approach."
3.The engineer's purchase decision is logical.
4.Engineers want to know the features & specifications, not just the benefits.
5.Engineers are not turned off by jargon.
6.Engineers have their own visual language.

1.Engineers look down on advertising and advertising people, for the most part.
Engineers have a low opinion of advertising - and of people whose job it is to create advertising. The lesson, for the business-to-business marketer? Make your advertising and direct mail informational and professional, not gimmicky or promotional. Avoid writing that sounds like "ad copy." Don't use slick graphics that immediately identify a brochure or spec sheet as "advertising. "Engineers want to believe they are not influenced by ad copy - and that they make their decisions based on technical facts that are beyond a copywriter's understanding.

2. Engineers do not like a "consumer approach."
There is a raging debate about whether engineers respond better to a straight technical approach, clever consumer-style ads or something in between. Those who prefer the creative approach argue, "The engineer is a human being first and an engineer second. He will respond to creativity and cleverness just like everyone else”. Unfortunately, there is much evidence to the contrary. In many tests of ads and direct mailings, I have seen straightforward, low-key, professional approaches equal or out pull "glitzy" ads and mailings repeatedly. Engineers respond well to communications that address them as knowledgeable technical professionals in search of solutions to engineering problems. Hard sell frequently falls on deaf ears here - especially if not backed by facts.

3. The engineer's purchase decision is more logical than emotional.
Most books and articles on advertising stress, that successful copy appeal to emotions first, reason second. But with the engineering audience, it is often the opposite. The buyer carefully weighs the facts, makes comparisons and buys based on what product best fulfills his requirement. Certainly, there are emotional components to the engineer's buying decision. For instance, preference for one vendor over another is often based more on gut feeling that actual fact. But for the most part, an engineer buying a new piece of equipment will analyze the features and technical specifications in much greater depth than a consumer buying any FMCG Product. Copy aimed at engineers cannot be superficial. Clarity is essential. Make it immediately clear what you are offering and how it meets the engineer's needs.

4. Engineers want to know the features and specifications, not just the benefits.
In consumer advertising it is known that that benefits are everything, and that features are less important. But engineers need to know the features of your product - performance characteristics, efficiency ratings, power requirements and technical specifications - in order to make an intelligent buying decision. Features should especially be emphasized when selling to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), VARs (value-added resellers), systems integrators and others who purchase your product with an intention to incorporate it into their own product.

5. Engineers are not turned off by jargon - in fact, they like it.
Jargon can actually enhance communication when appealing to engineers, computer specialists and other technical audiences. Why is jargon effective? Because it shows the reader that you speak his language. When you write direct response copy, you want the reader to get the impression you're like him, don't you? And doesn't speaking his language accomplish that? Actually, engineers are not unique in having their "secret language" for professional communication. People in all fields publicly denounce jargon but privately love it.

6. Engineers have their own visual language.
What are the visual devices through which engineers communicate? Charts, graphs, tables, diagrams, blueprints, engineering drawings, and mathematical symbols & equations. You should use these visual devices when writing to engineers - for two reasons. First, engineers are comfortable with them and understand them. Second, these visuals immediately say to the engineer, "This is solid technical information, not sales talk”. The best visuals are those specific to the engineer's specialty. Electrical engineers like circuit diagrams. Computer programmers feel comfortable looking at flow charts. Systems analysts use structured diagrams. Learn the visual language of your target audience and use these symbols and artwork throughout your communication.

 

 

 


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