Marketing for Engineering Firms
You would think that creating and implementing marketing programs for engineering firms would be easy. In addition to being detail-oriented and well organized, engineers understand the advantages of innovation, creativity, and design.
Well, for many, this is not entirely true and here’s why:
Not everyone is like us.
Engineering firms tend to think that because they are typically providing their services to another engineer, they speak a common language. The reality is that their buying audience is getting younger and more diverse. In addition, committees with varying priorities often make the decision on which firm to hire. What’s needed for effective marketing is a better understanding of the project objectives from the viewpoint of every single constituent. This will drive the marketing message, as well as the medium. Think digital, responsive design, mobile, and analytics.
Not all buyers are created equal.
I’ll be the first one to harp about consistent messaging; however the content—and delivery method—should be tweaked, depending on the audience. For instance, an ROI message might be suited to the owner; while the fewer headaches message is best for the PM or facilities manager. In addition, the owner might only be receptive at high-level conferences and panels, while those overworked, under-appreciated doers might prefer the efficiency and convenience of educational webinars, followed by a Q&A session.
We’re moving quickly, so our marketing should too.
There’s no avoiding it—marketing is an art and a science. The “answer” in terms of marketing may take some time and refining to work its magic. Many times, our engineering clients have put off their marketing efforts and are now in a hurry; however, the fastest method may not be the best. That’s not to say, overthinking is the answer, but thinking through a solution definitely helps, even if it takes a little time.
Our competitors are doing it.
It seems that all industries, not just engineering, are guilty of wanting to blindly follow their competitors—especially when their competitors have a great idea. The problem with this is that a particular idea may become associated with another company, not yours. Bottom line: there is no substitute for original thinking, so try to work with your creative team, agency or consultant to brainstorm an approach that’s uniquely yours. Use those engineering minds to rise above your competitors. A better idea may be to “borrow” from another industry and tweak that idea appropriately for your firm.
Don’t stop getting to know your audience.
While your engineering knowledge is designed to solve a particular set of problems, your audience is constantly evolving. Whether due to familiarity with your service or other companies solving those same problems, the way to your audience responds to marketing is likely to change over time. Speak to them, meet them, attend their events and conferences, take their pulse through casual meetings and formal surveys, and just engage—however and whenever possible. What you learn will help inform your marketing, keep it relevant, and contribute to more and happier customers.
These five points are especially relevant for engineering and related-industry companies. If you’re ready to bounce your marketing ideas around, please give us a call.