Digital Marketing for Engineers Blog

Insights and Strategies for Marketers to Better Engage Engineering Professionals.

Latest Stories

Featured Stories

Filter By Categories

Content Campaigns for Awareness, Consideration and Decision Making

Aligning your content marketing to the engineer’s buying journey

(Updated May 12, 2017)

We’ve written before about how important it is to ensure that your content provides assistance to your prospects on their buying journey rather than trying to take them straight from the awareness stage to a Marketing Qualified Lead

Mapping your content offers to an engineers buying journey.png

That said, what looks like a “buying journey” to us marketers, looks like a “problem-solving” journey to the engineer. Their process starts with identifying that they have a problem and, just as important, that there is a potential solution. Both of those conditions are necessary for them to get started.

Quite commonly, your target engineers may not see their current circumstance as a problem. They might be used to the way things are done in their company. Secondly, even if they do perceive a problem, they might not know that there is a solution available.

Approaching an engineer at this stage with a call to action in hopes that they become a lead, before they are aware of their problem/solution, is doomed to fail. It’s like asking somebody to marry you on the first date. It’s just not gonna happen.

That is why it is so important to align your content types to each stage of the engineer’s buying journey. That’s what we’ll explore in this post. 


What content fits each stage of the engineer's buying cycle?


Awareness Stage Content

Content for the awareness stage typically has two jobs to do. First, it has to make the engineer aware that a problem or opportunity exists. Many marketers fail to consider this important first step, and assume that their prospects already know that they need a solution.

Content’s first job is to make engineers aware that a problem or opportunity exists.

Here are a few examples of things that any given engineering marketer might think that their prospects already know:

  • The future products that your target engineers will design will probably be enabled for the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Your target customer’s design teams can avoid common frustrations of sharing CAD models and BOM data by using cloud-based solutions
  • Your target market of engineers can save lots of time by using powerful search engines that are purpose built for electronic components
  • Top tier universities offer online options for Masters of Engineering degrees, thereby allowing engineers to advance their careers while keeping their current jobs.

If the product you are marketing is one that requires you to educate your market in this way, traditional awareness advertising (eg. Print or banners) just won’t cut it. This is a classic scenario where content is critical.

Awareness Stage Content.png

Here are a few content types that can help engineers understand that they have a problem and that there is a solution:

  1. Survey and research reports. A survey can be very useful for asking engineers whether they are experience the type of problem that your product solves. Other questions you can dig into include the different ways that engineers would consider solving that problem. You can then offer the research report to all participants, thereby making them aware not only of the problem, but of the various types of solutions that are available, including yours.


  1. Sponsored posts, whether in written or video format, are excellent for describing a problem or opportunity in detail and exploring different ways to address it.


  1. Educational webinars that describe the problem / solution in an informational way are also very valuable ways to introduce your types of solution to a large and engaged audience.

The second job for content at the awareness stage is to make sure that engineers are aware of your product as a potential solution. The same types of content (survey and research reports, sponsored posts and webinars) can do that job. However, the storyline within the content will change depending on how much your audience already knows about the problem / opportunity.

Content’s second job is to tell engineers how your solution can solve the problem.

This is where having an overall content strategy shows its value. Most content marketers now use an editorial calendar to construct a series of content pieces about each type of problem / opportunity that their products address. These pieces can be further aligned to personas and to the stages of the buying journey. If you are thinking that this sounds like a lot of content, then you have a good understanding of the challenge.

We have found that survey and research reports provide an excellent backbone to any series of content. The research results provide original information that engineers can’t get anywhere else. The results can then be packaged into articles, blog posts, webinars and gated assets.


Consideration Stage Content

In the consideration stage, engineers have decided that your type of product may solve the problem that they have. Your biggest competition in this stage is typically not your competitors. Rather, it is their current state of living with the status quo.

Content in this stage needs to help engineers understand the benefits of moving to a solution like yours and exactly how it would work. And since these people are engineers, you will need to unveil the technical realities of your product in some detail.

This is your opportunity to shift gears to content that speaks more about your products and specific customer success stories, usually in a “problem-solution” format.

Consideration Stage Content.png

The following types of content are typically well suited to the consideration stage:

  1. Case studies. I know, I know. These are hard to get, especially when dealing with large companies and their correspondingly large legal teams. It can take months, so it’s best to start well ahead of the due date. When you write these case studies, I encourage you to do everything you can to get some technical details from your customers – not just the ROI, but also the details of the customer environment and how they applied your solution. If you are having trouble wooing a customer, offering to have the story published in a trade journal might help.


  1. Product webinars. In the consideration stage, you can shift your webinar content to focus more on the product, including specific applications and a demo if possible. Engineers appreciate demonstrations and technical details when they are at this stage of the process. My only caution is that you not try to sell a product webinar as an educational one. That can turn off prospects.


  1. Product oriented sponsored post. For engineers in the consideration stage, a story that talks about the technical aspects of your product and outlines possible applications can be very helpful. They can share that story with others on their teams to build consensus towards the type of solution they should use.


Decision Stage Content

At the decision stage, engineers are looking to confirm that implementing your solution will not create a risk of them having a complex failure on their hands. At this point in the process, they revert to “risk mitigation” mode.

They also typically need help to build consensus within and beyond their engineering team to get buy-in for their decision.

The types of content that works well at this stage of the journey includes:

  1. Corporate videos that show why your company is good to deal with 
  2. Testimonials from happy customers
  3. Live webinars or consultations that allow your sales engineers to speak directly to a prospect
  4. ROI calculators

Decision Stage Content.png

Getting mid to bottom of funnel leads when a deadline looms

If everything is going according to plan, then by the last month of your campaign all of your awareness efforts will be nurtured into perfect bottom-of-funnel leads that you can pass along to sales.  And if everything is working perfectly, you will be sipping a latte while the kids drive themselves to baseball practice.  Nothing ever works perfectly. 

So it’s normal to be under the gun and need mid to bottom of funnel leads late in a campaign.  To address that shortfall, you may choose to distribute consideration-stage content to a new audience pool in hopes of surfacing prospects who are already at that stage of their buying cycle.  Near the end of every quarter, clients come to us with exactly that objective

Publishers can help by creating your mid to bottom of funnel assets or by distributing your content to highly targeted engineering prospects.  This can help you generate MQLs in time to hit your objectives. 

I hope you have found this outline about aligning your content to the engineer's buying cycle useful in helping you nurture your prospects from awareness to decisions. 



Subscribe Email

New Call-to-action
Research Report: How Engineers Find Information
Lorem Ipsum is a simple dummy text used as a dummy text contents. Lorem ipsum will be replaced. Lorem Ipsum is a simple dummy text used as a dummy text contents. Lorem ipsum will be replaced.Lorem Ipsum is a simple dummy text used as a dummy text contents. Lorem ipsum will be replaced.