Best Practices for Marketing to Engineers: Alicia DuBay


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The challenges of marketing to engineers; what today's successful integrated marketing campaign looks like; Case study: A campaign that worked well for ABB.

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  • I have been involved in sales and marketing to engineers for my entire career in one way or another In the last 8-10 years, it has been one of my main responsibilities Background: I myself am an engineer, so when I talk about “engineers”, I include myself This is based on my experience. It is not from an MBA class or book, this what I have learned so far… BTW, it changes every day. Recently attended a seminar that was quite good, but talked about tying your marketing program directly to the data. Great in theory, but how do you do it?? Not all of us have the budget of the Obama Presidential Campaign.
  • Pretty pictures and marketing fluff don’t work There is no one tactic that will cover the whole target audience When surveyed, preferred tactics come out basically equal How to stand out, many products in all price ranges and functionality Like all of us, companies have less engineers, more responsibility (no time)Comms people don’t understand the difference between engineers and normal people
  • Effectiveness can depend on ad size, page/placement etc. Across magazines, Omega, Automation Direct always do well Notice the detailed product information on the Omega ad Some large companies (i.e. ABB) are hindered by corporate communications rules
  • You can’t just do “stuff” Crappy content gets you crappy results Example: Quick Polls on Control Engineering Put together 4 questions quickly Questions that were too specific did not get good response Question the touched a very common problem got 200x the response
  • There are more reasons to invest in marketing than just product promotion Management hate advertising. Thought leadership and awareness tactics really help drive opportunity and increase demand for your product. Do not underestimate the brand loyalty that can be generated by delivering high quality content
  • You must make sure that your marketing aligns with your business plan Regional adaptations are necessary. Reputation and market factors as different in every region. I.e. in Norway, we have extremely high market share, in the US – most people haven’t heard of ABB Like it or not, resources and budget drive your plan Make sure your management know what you can and will deliver. No excuses – once you communicate the plan, you must delivery. Suggest quarterly reports and summary of results. Make sure the whole organization knows who drives the marketing strategy. Is it R&D, Product Management, MarComm, Management? Everyone must agree or you will spend all your time trying to get things done. Be realistic about your resources. Social media is great for low budget, but takes a lot of time. Don’t assume your subject matter experts have time to contribute content. It takes planning and bribery to get content out of an engineer.
  • Avoid random acts of marketing. Especially dangerous when engineers try to market to engineers. Wouldn’t this be cool? Apple does that? Let’s use and ipad for this? Etc. Management doesn’t want to know the details, they want to know you have a plan and are executing The plan provides structure and focus. Easier to keep your eye on the ball and easier to adjust on the fly. A well defined plan enables consistency of implementation. Same program and material can be used globally. Well defined tactics can be measured, if only by # of clicks or downloads. Best case can be tied to opportunities and order volume through use of a lead management system Media partners all support collection and distribution of sales leads
  • This is an example of a strategy I have Main goal is to sell more safety systems This drives a strategy of Continuing what had been working (certain thought leadership tactics like eGuides), investigating new engagement tactics. Main focus for 2013 is to focus on content and training (internal and external)
  • Once you have developed the strategy, the campaigns can be designed. Make sure you create some messages that will be used through your campaign. Otherwise, everything will seem disconnected. Make sure your message is something you are prepared to deliver – product features, sales channel, training etc. Here are the type of high level campaigns that I am currently running
  • A campaign consists of:A messageA detailed description of the topic (normally a white paper)Tactics to be executed (publish white paper, email campaign, blog posts, video etc.)Measurement of your tactics (clicks, sales leads, etc.)Consistent output over a time period (i.e. run for 18 months, not just one ad)
  • Product launches are traditional activities for vendors like ABB Thought leadership is less product oriented and more focus on industry pains or trends, so it requires a different set of activities: Developing content Format of the content Delivery mechanism
  • Several years ago a mandate came down from the top of our organization that we should do “Social Media” There was a huge flurry of activity in corporate communications to do “something” New internal applications with profiles, blog community (internal), video support etc. NO understanding of social media as it related to communicating with our CUSTOMERS, just an action item from management, a box to be checked
  • Content Marketing is the new marketing “buzz word” Means communication without selling, delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent This shift makes traditional marketing less effective (advertisements, trade shows etc.) Key to content marketing is relevant and valuable information
  • Several of my early attempts at running an integrated marketing campaign went a little wrong Tactics were fine, content was marginal, call to action was too direct Generated low quality leads that irritated the sales channel
  • Recent campaign was much more successful Developed a selection tools that was generic (didn’t recommend ABB products) and relevant to a current industry topic (i.e. when to use a DCS vs. a PLC) The call to action was to use the tool Generated great interaction and $3MUSD in order potential Video generated to support the campaign is still popular and was just picked up a promoted by a site/person completely outside of my network (showing the quality of the content)
  • My experiences have shown that engineers definitely value the content They consume information in different ways (need to create white paper, tool, blogs, video out of same content) They look for information in different places (corporate website, newsletters, external websites and blogs, YouTube) Need to consider tagging and SEO when placing your content. They have to be able to find it. Placing things deep within your corporate website will not have the desired effect (though you should still do it as one tactic) Don’t expect engineers to interact with you directly. They “share” more often than then leave comments. No one size fits all
  • The “hairball” is a visual method that I use to show how the components of my marketing campaign fit together. This is nothing fancy, just a powerpoint Looks complicated, but when used with a specific action list works quite well to make sure you cover all your bases
  • Great content is key. You need it for thought leadership (new, different, interesting, relevant) and even Product marketing (how does it work, demos etc, not marketing blah blahblah) Always watch trends and your results, don’t be afraid to change tactics No one tactic, format or topic is guaranteed results. Today’s engineers are baby boomers through millennials, all need to be reached and engaged Social media tactics work. Management like the idea because it’s “free”, however, they take a lot of time / resources and great content
  • Marketing to engineers is challenging. Don’t be tempted to get “cute” with your content – it won’t work. Start small, put a framework in place, continually look at results. You don’t have to be the Obama campaign to achieve results your management team will love. Learn as you go You have to find the right combination of tactics and format to reach your target audiences, no matter what generation they are Above all – be practical. Don’t make a plan that you can’t execute.
  • Best Practices for Marketing to Engineers: Alicia DuBay

    1. 1. Best Practices forMarketing to EngineersAlicia DuBay – Global Product Group Manager, ABB
    2. 2. Content• Engineers are a tough crowd• Be clear about your objectives• Importance of a marketing strategy• Content is King• The “hairball”• Results so far…
    3. 3. Engineers are a tough crowd
    4. 4. What makes engineers challenging• Engineers are seeking information• Engineers span generations• It’s not all about features & benefits• Death of the trade show• Communications people don’t get it• Engineers are busy!!!
    5. 5. Example – April 2012 Ad StudyEffective Not so much
    6. 6. You can’t get lazyQuick Polls on ControlEngineering WebsiteResponses = 760Responses = 40
    7. 7. Be clear about your objectives
    8. 8. Why spend money on marketing?• Promote your product• Generate sales leads• Thought Leadership• Awareness• All are valid• Each has challenges
    9. 9. What are your goals?• Marketing must alignwith business goals• Can be different basedon product, region etc..• Resources and budget• Management expectations• Who is in charge?• Be realistic
    10. 10. Importance of a MarketingStrategy
    11. 11. The Marketing Strategy• Random acts of marketing• Management support• Structure and focus• Consistency• Measurable results• Media partners
    12. 12. Example Strategy• My Goals:– Sell more safety systems– Increase reputation in keyregions– Drive demand• Strategy– Continue what works– New engagement tactics– Focus on content and training
    13. 13. Strategy drives Campaigns• What do you want to say?• Does they connect to the strategy?• Are they aligned with products?• My Campaigns:– Integrated Safety– Safety Evolution– Functional Safety Management
    14. 14. What is a Campaign?• Collection of tactics designed to achieveyour goal• Know your audience (i.e. safety engineers)– Where do they go?– How do they consume information?• Pick your media partner(s)• Establish a time frame• Launch your campaign
    15. 15. Choosing TacticsProduct Launches Thought LeadershipPress Release White papersBrochures, Presentations InfoGraphicsCompany website Blog postingsAdvertisement WebinarsUser Group meeting Events / SeminarsSales kits (internal) LinkedIn groupsTraining / Videos Content
    16. 16. What about Social Media?• Social Media is not a strategy• Social Media is a set of tactics– Groups– Blogs– Twitter• Treat it like any other tactic• Remember your goals• BtoB is different from BtoC− YouTube− Sharing− Online Events
    17. 17. Content is King
    18. 18. Focus on Content• Content marketing– Communicating withoutselling– Delivering information thatmakes your buyer moreintelligent• Traditional marketingbecoming less effective• Relevant and valuableinformation is key
    19. 19. My Experience• Early Campaign– White paper gated asset– Purchased email lists– Call to action: request quote• Limited success– Content not very compelling– Did not engage target audience– Lead quality & follow up
    20. 20. My Experience• “The Better Way “ Campaign– Selection tool asset (DCS/PLC)– Newsletter articles– Call to action: use the tool– More related components• Good success– 800 responses in 3 months– ~$3MUSD potential– Video companion still popular
    21. 21. Conclusion• Content really is king• Results show:– Engineers value information– Need multiple formats– Varied delivery mechanisms– Accessible / easy to find– Don’t expect direct interaction• No one size fits all
    22. 22. The “Hairball”
    23. 23. Safety Web Pages( CFE (3)SafetyeGuides(CFE)PAInsightsBlog(SafetyTopics)SafetyAds(2012)SafetyWhitePapersYouTubeVideo(s)on SafetyPlaylistPOIKnowledgeCenter -Safety TabWebSponsorships(
    24. 24. Results so far.
    25. 25. Results so far…• Some winners, some losers• Good content generated good results• You must have a plan• Social media tactics work• After 18 months:– Sales were up 45%– Ranking higher on unaided recall– Engineers are still a mystery
    26. 26. Final Thoughts• Marketing to engineers ispart art, part science• Great content is key• Don’t be afraid of changingtactics• Chaos reigns supreme• Be Practical!!!