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Top Three Trends for Engineering Marketers in 2016


In this first post of the New Year, we’ll share a sneak peek into what over 100 of your fellow engineering marketers will be prioritizing in 2016. 

Our 2016 research has revealed that the three top trends in marketing budgeting to reach engineers are:

  1. Video
  2. Webinar
  3. Case Studies

When I say top trends, I mean those elements of the marketing budget that are getting more budget in 2016 than they did last year.  That’s not the same as the biggest budget items, which we also looked at.

I based these top trends on a 2016 survey to engineering marketers (it’s still open until Jan 11th by the way - so please join in if you haven’t already).  The top trends represent answers to this question,

“Will you conduct the following marketing activities next year? 
If so, will your 2016 budget be smaller, larger, or about the same?”

Top trends in digital marketing to engineers 2016


This is all in contrast to 2014/2015 when the top three trends for engineering marketers were:


Top trends in marketing budgeting to reach engineers 2014-2016


So while engineering marketers are still committed to producing more video and case studies, the most interesting thing is that they are no longer increasing budgets on search as aggressively.  Note that search has declined from number two in 2014 to number three in 2015, to being bumped from the top three in 2016. Instead, Webinars have taken over the third spot on the top three trends.

All three of the 2016 Trends are about creating content

We’ve been running the engineering marketers budget survey for a few years now.  This is the first year that all three of the top trends are in content creation.  So if you are thinking that content marketing is a big over-riding trend, then the data agrees with you.

1. The top 2016 trend in marketing spend is video

We’ve heard a lot about marketers wanting to create video.  Creating excellent video and then distributing it has proven to be a challenge.  There are now over 358M hits for “engineering videos” on the Internet, so we predict that getting relevant views is going to be a challenge.

engineering videos

2. Webinars are number two in 2016

And as for webinars, we practically sold out of our spots in 2015.  Webinars are rocketing up the charts in terms of importance, perhaps because of their combination of content and their ability to help engineers move along the decision process.  As the engineer’s purchase process moves increasingly online, real prospects wait ever longer in their buying cycle before contacting your sales team. 

The wicked popularity of webinars may be down to the fact that they can actually help an engineer decide on a solution, right down to allowing them to ask questions of a sales engineer, all the while retaining the anonymity that engineers crave. 

3. Case studies are the third top trend in 2016

Case studies are fantastic evergreen content that helps your audience move further along the decision process. In 2015 we found ourselves writing hundreds of case studies for industrial marketers.

Tradeshows are still a big deal in engineering marketing

You might be thinking “Hey, I’m still doing trade shows, so these trends are bogus.”  If you are thinking that, then you are not alone in spending on trade shows. If we consider the current status of spending rather than trends, then Trade Shows still command the most budget.  But in terms of trending, there are about the same number of marketers who say that they will spend less on trade shows in 2016 (21%) as those who say that they will spend more (20%). 

This aligns with the results from Business Insider that says that overall the digital media channels are growing faster than offline.  Now, BI doesn’t track trade shows specifically, whereas our survey does.  We’ll dig into that more when we publish the full report (stay tuned, we’ll announce it on the blog).

BI digital advertising

Engineering marketers' 2016 campaign plans

If you haven’t yet weighed in on the survey, there is still time to answer a few questions and be entered into the draw for three Amazon $100 gift cards.  We’ll close off the survey next Monday, Jan 11.

It takes us a couple weeks to crunch the data, so we’ll present the results in a webinar on Thursday, Jan 28th.  I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that space is limited, but please sign up early anyway. 

Here is the link (  


I look forward to sharing some engineering marketing campaign insights in the upcoming webinar.



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