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Why Won’t My Slimy Marketing Tricks work on Engineers?

How engineers respond to traditional marketing tactics

We all like free stuff. I like the free food samples at Costco. Smart marketers at P&G will even send anyone a box of free product samples. Who doesn’t like free stuff?  Engineers, that’s who. They inherently distrust marketing in all forms.  

Just when we marketers think we’ve come up with a great campaign idea, engineers think of it as slimy marketing trickery. 

So how can you entice engineers to include your product in their purchase evaluation?

Your message can get past their natural skepticism if you consider their view of:
  1. Your message
  2. The messenger
  3. The medium


1. Engineers respond to marketing messages differently from “normal people”

How engineers think versus how marketers think
How engineers think is different from how normal people think.


Achinta Mitra says it well: “Authenticity and maintaining transparency are critical for industrial companies to succeed with content marketing.”  This means that your marketing message to engineers should be free of “adspeak” including superlatives and it should include the technical data that an engineer needs to evaluate your solution for their application.


2. The messenger – Engineers believe other engineers and reputable 3rd parties

Engineers are more likely to believe subject matter expert engineers from within a company than the company marketing materials.  They are even more likely to believe a third party analyst speaking through a white paper or webinar, or an article in a reputable publication.  That’s why so many engineering marketers work so hard to get their products featured in publications.


3. The Medium – Found marketing messages are more valuable than ones that are pushed

Engineers believe that when they need a piece of information, they’ll look for it.  They use search engines almost exclusively to find what they need, and only when they need it. 

That means your product has to surface for the right search terms.  That can be expensive.  And when the link for the search goes back to your web site, especially if you’ve paid to get your link at the top of the page, your credibility can be hurt (see point 2). 

Some marketers advocate that you can solve your search dilemma through organic search alone and drive all traffic to your web site.  I disagree.  Most marketers need to make an extra effort to ensure that their messages also appear on third party sites.


What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments below.



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