Selling to the Professional Engineer: Beyond the Pocket Protector.
by Julie Gardner, Creative Director/Copywriter, Triad Business Marketing
Engineers can be a tough crowd.
Brands and marketers who routinely communicate to engineers have gathered valuable intelligence from publications, anecdotal research, and just plain trial-and-error in marketing to this unique mindset, whether it’s a print ad in a trade publication, or a microsite for a particular product. Advice such as speaking the language of the industry, communicating what your product or service can do for the engineer (as opposed to just laundry listing features and benefits), and demonstrating an understanding of the engineer as a person can go a long way toward making a lasting connection.
This last point is critical, but tends to be overlooked. For instance, as Bob Bly points out in his article, Six Things I Know For Sure About Marketing to Engineers, “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. Let them believe it – as long as they respond to our ads and buy our products.”
Here are 3 other truisms to keep in mind when marketing to the professional engineer:
1. Engineers like facts.
Benefits are important, but backing them up with detailed features, unique product characteristics and specifications adds much needed credibility to what is most likely a technically oriented product or service. The more facts and industry terminology you can use, the better. The more you can show that you speak the same language as the engineer, the more likely you are to make an impact.
2. Engineers think logically.
It’s not like buying a candy bar at the checkout. Your product is likely a “considered purchase” (as opposed to an impulse buy), so engineers – even more than most of us – tend to compare, contrast, sleep on, discuss, mull over, and generally use logic in making a final decision. So, charts, graphs, flowcharts, and the like are great visual devices for this audience, and can provide “proof” that supports his or her decision. Left brain tactics rule. Even if there is some emotion involved.
3. Engineers want respect.
Chemical, mechanical, petroleum, or electrical, all engineers are highly educated, and are very knowledgeable in their area of expertise. Recognizing them as such through a smart, professional approach to writing and avoiding gimmicky sales approaches will get you much more positive response. Speak the language. They’ll reward you for it.
So, in your creative approach targeting the engineering crowd – whether it’s in social media, print, or on your website – think about avoiding the clever, and going for smart, instead. Speak their language, and give them enough ammunition with which to make an intelligent decision. Savvy marketers know that when it comes to communicating to the technical audience, there is, indeed, a measurable difference.
No pocket protector needed.
Julie Gardner is Creative Director/Copywriter for Triad Business Marketing, a Dallas-based B2B advertising agency with a large roster of clients who market to engineers. She has more than 20 years’ experience writing and crafting campaigns for clients both large and small.