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Andrew McWhaw
By
November 04, 2016

Engineers are Changing How They Access Information – What’s Next?

 

Confused Engineer.jpg

On Wednesday we published our Market Research Report: How Engineers Find Information that examines the content consumption patterns, content preferences, and industry pain points of today’s engineers.  Based on the survey results of more than 1,000 engineers, our report confirms what many marketers already suspected – engineers are changing how they source, access and consume content. 

In today’s blog post, we’re going to take this research one step further and delve into what comes next.

  

A quick word of caution before I go any further: the rest of today’s post will be a lot more helpful to you if you’ve at least skimmed How Engineers Find Information. There is still lots of great information to follow, but to get the full effect I recommend reviewing the report first.

Having established How content consumption is changing, the next logical question is Why?  To that end, here are the 3 lines of research I plan on pursuing next as I dig deeper into what is going on with engineers and how they stay informed.

1.  What is their motivation for accessing information?

In How Engineers Find Information, we found two confounding results: Engineers rely heavily on search to find answers, but at the same time have a strong preference for receiving engineering information via email.  One inbound, one outbound.  Do their motivations, and therefore the types of content they want, differ based on how they’re accessing information? 

My intuition is that when using Google, these engineers are actively looking for a solution to a very specific problem, whereas for content emailed to them they’re looking for information that entertains and satisfies their natural curiosity.

Goog vs Email.jpg

 

2. When accessing content via social media, do they share? Why or why not?

Over 50% of engineers under the age of 45 acknowledged accessing engineering information through social media.  We all know how easy it is to share a post with your network when it’s already on a social media site, but we’re still selective in what we circulate. 

For engineers, I’d like to know what makes engineering content shareable.  What level of technical sophistication is required, does it need to be visual, does it have to be understandable to their non-engineering friends, does it need to have a human element that will resonate with engineers and non-engineers alike? I’m not yet sure what the answer is, but I cannot wait to find out. 

3.  What is their company size and does that impact the content they consume?

We were able to segment our 1,003 respondents by job role, age and industry, but knowing the size of their company, both number of employees and revenue, would have given us another layer of complexity. It’s likely the unique challenges smaller organizations face that impact what information these engineers consume, and I’m curious to see if that proves true. 

 

Well, after spending several weeks in the data from How Engineers Find Information, that’s where my head is at.  I am hoping you will also have some ideas about where the research should go next.  Please let me know in the comments.

Until next time,

Andrew

 

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Research Report: How Engineers Find Information
Research Report: How Engineers Find Information
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