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John Hayes
By
March 03, 2016

Engineering is multidisciplinary – Is your marketing?

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Twenty years ago the engineering world was made up of silos of mechanical, electronics and software designers.  If you wanted to reach mechanical design engineers, then you found ways to target them.

But that is not the reality any more.  Mechanical devices are no longer mechanical.  For example, Ford has more software engineers in their transmission design team than mechanical engineers. And of course, the IoT is bringing connectivity to all sorts of products.

How does your marketing keep up when you can no longer tell a single story to a single target audience?

As engineering storytellers, we are confronted with this challenge daily.  ENGINEERING.com used to focus primarily on mechanical design stories.  Now we cover stories in 16 topic areas, including:

  • CAD/CAE
  • BIM
  • IoT
  • PLM/ERP
  • Quality
  • CAM
  • Automation / Robotics
  • 3D Printing
  • Machinery
  • Production Technology
  • Electronics
  • Education

To address the needs of these complex design teams, we first have to decide on the angle of every story.  

Who do we want to reach as the primary audience is the most important question.  But then, how do we ensure that we’ve got interesting hooks for secondary or even third level target audiences?  

 To meet that challenge, our story meetings include teams who brainstorm the story angle and assign he most relevant writer from our pool of over 100 contributors.  The story then goes through a technical edit to ensure that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th level target audiences are represented.

Consider an IoT story, for example:

What Engineers Need to Know about Communication Protocols When Choosing IoT Management Software

This story has a primary audience of Engineering VPs / Design leaders in a manufacturing company that is expanding their product line to include IoT functionality in existing devices.  Accordingly, we assigned our lead IoT editor to the story as he has the best affinity for that audience. 

The secondary audience is IT directors in the target companies. Our editors also target an additional wider audience including mechanical, electronic and software engineers at small device / wearables manufacturers and start-ups and other influencers of the IoT platform decision, such as CXOs and manufacturing leaders. To ensure that those audiences were represented, we chose a PLM/ERP editor to address the technical requirements of that audience. 

We are increasingly finding that our advertising customers are still defining their audiences too narrowly.  If you cast your net just a bit wider, you will find prospects in what you previously thought were unlikely places. 

I would love to hear your feedback on this blog in the comments section.

John

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