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Engineering Software Marketers say Branding is Top Priority in 2016


Last week our team met face-to-face with over a dozen marketers in the engineering software industry.  Through those meetings and a recent survey, we’ve learned a lot about what priorities software marketers have for 2016.

The biggest takeaway is that software marketers, even more than other engineering marketers, are hyper-sensitive to gaining brand awareness. 

Software marketers' top priority in 2016 is brand awareness

Response to question “What are your top marketing priorities for 2016?”

Software marketers told us two reasons why they believe brand marketing is so important.

  1. Core design features are a mature market

The core elements of CAD and Product Data Management (PDM) have been around for a long time, so all design engineers in their target markets have a solid grasp on the core functionality.  This maturity makes CAD and PDM markets somewhat similar to a consumer product in that branding is becoming elevated in importance.

  1. Prospects don’t immediately understand value of complex new products

The converse problem also exists, in that while the core features are well understood, the new features are not.  And new features are being introduced at a breakneck pace, from mobile applications to cloud collaboration, from IoT support to in-CAD simulation and more.  These new features are highly nuanced - many users don’t even know what they are or how they might be useful.  This leads these marketers to rely on brand awareness to build new markets for these feature sets.

Now here’s a disconnect – software marketers are measured on leads and sales pipeline, not brand awareness.

While 75% of software marketers ranked “Brand Awareness” as a top priority for 2016, they tend to be measured on actions that come later in the sales process, such as generating leads and sales pipeline.  When we asked engineering marketers what metrics they are measured on, the top two responses for software marketers were:

  • Leads
  • Generating sales pipeline

Software marketers are measured on leads and generating sales pipeline

This environment makes software marketing particularly challenging.  That may be why software marketers have been the most aggressive when it comes to implementing marketing automation tools like Eloqua, Marketo, Hubspot and Act-on.  They are pushed harder than many other marketers to connect their efforts to revenue, whilst still recognizing the critical nature of content marketing to their brand awareness.

Our conversations revealed that software marketers have a very real need to get their stories told.  As a result, we are seeing an increase in customer requests for sponsored posts and webinars in addition to banner ads.  

Software marketers - do you agree with these insights provided by your peers? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks,


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