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Marketing to Younger Engineers

December 15, 2022   Posted By Laura Schreiber

Time to Revisit Your New Target Audience: Marketing to Young Engineers

You'll notice some interesting demographics when you look around a room at your next engineering conference. Nearly 50% of engineers have been in the engineering industry for more than 30 years, and this group will be retiring in the next five years, if not sooner.  

Not only will there be an influx of younger engineers in the engineering field, but they'll be rising quickly into positions of authority. Many are there already, as the pandemic has accelerated retirements for many organizations and engineers are making buying decisions earlier in their careers than their predecessors.  

Suddenly, you realize that traditional marketing approaches might not be the best channels to reach younger engineers. But you don't have to go all the way to making TikTok videos, right? Well, just like the field of engineering is evolving, the way we market to engineers is evolving too.  

 How to Target Specific Audiences with Digital Marketing Channels 

The good news is that digital marketing is the way to show measurable ROI, and as marketers, we love digital. Not only can we segment to specific audiences, but we can also track behavior, analyze results, and re-direct dollars to those activities that generate the best return. However, marketing to young engineers has some very specific digital requirements. Let's look at them here.  

1. Social media is where they get their information. Over 50% of those aged 26-35 (early-career engineers) get their engineering information from social media! If you want to go to where your prospects are searching, time to review your social media planning. Here's where they are going: 

a) Quora – Quora can be a great place for discussions and functions as a large FAQ page. Type a question into Google, and some results will probably come up as links to Quora. Also, visiting engineers might belong to boards such as Engineering (3M followers), Electrical and Electronics Engineering (4.885k followers) or other engineering groups.  

b) LinkedIn – The social network for the business world is also used by early-career engineers. Networking is one aspect, but also learning about upcoming tradeshows, new publications, studies, and current events in the engineering world are reasons this is another social media destination.  

c) Twitter – Want to be in the "know" of what is going on in your field? Then Twitter is the place to go. What new products are being announced (or leaked!), what are industry leaders up to or what does your favorite hashtag bring up? This is the place to find out all of the above.

2. Smart devices are popular access points. This doesn't mean computers or laptops aren't being used. They are. But you had better do a scan on your website and make sure it's as mobile-optimized as possible - nearly 70% of early-career engineers are using their smartphones as a way to get information. They've grown up in a digital world where everything is done through a phone – banking, shopping, directions and more. So why wouldn't they also use this search method to get their information?  

 Take this example from Jason Dorsey, the guru of marketing to millennials. He says car salespeople have learned to carry a tablet with them when showing car options. Why? Because some of their prospects prefer to see the features of a new model on a screen. Even when the car is right in front of them!  

 3. Emails have a good open rate. Open rates range around 20%, which most of us would be happy to have on average. And you want better news? Subject line scans are incredibly high – over 90%. So, get your A/B testing game going on every email to find success in email marketing to young engineers.  

How to Target Your Marketing Efforts Toward Young Engineers 

Now you know some of the routes to get in front of early-career engineers through their digital habits. Next in marketing to young engineers is building the relationship.  

Young engineers can be wary of digital content and social media. Blame this on the anonymity of the internet, but the generation that has grown up getting information from the internet also knows there can be a lot of fake claims and data. So, it's best not to make big claims but instead lead to places where they can make their own judgment. The good news is that they overwhelmingly trust sponsored digital content, so this can be a great first step in building trust and delivering the information they are hungry for.  

This leads us to our next point – they want information. Engineers gravitate toward content that presents numbers and drawings. It's no surprise that over 75% want to see datasheets of the products they are researching and 45% want to see CAD drawings, according to Industrial Marketing Today. The good news is that as marketers, we can incorporate the information they are looking for into deliverables such as demo videos, white papers, case studies, webinars, or articles. 

And the trust-building we mentioned earlier? Here are some great ways and materials to get it started.  

1. Easy-to-read snippets. A great intro, a few bullets and some charts and graphics will do wonders. Yes, white papers are still consumed and valuable, but you might reach a larger audience by starting your relationship with small, consumable content.  
2. Case studies. Everyone loves case studies. They are real-world examples of what you are saying you do and that you have a proven product or service. Even better if you can get the company's name to show this is a real example. Try to specify how your company created a solution that no other company could for examples of your expertise.  
3. Update your website. For people who are used to a constant stream of information, a stagnant website might get ignored. Some good ways to do this – blogs, videos, a live feed of your Twitter account, and new pictures of your team or location.   
4. Thought leadership. Pen some articles in trade publications about trends, technical subjects, or the science behind your products. 

How to Market to Young Engineers with TikTok 

You didn't think we'd finish without explaining how TikTok will be part of your marketing to younger engineers strategy, did you? Before we give you some examples, let us warn you that your videos must be good. You might have to break out of the mold you've been using and get outside help. Your TikTok videos must be fun, entertaining, and engaging, or they just won't work. Here are some ideas you can use on many platforms that would also work on TikTok.  

1. Demonstrations. More and more people are going to TikTok to see how things work. Or, once they see a demonstration of a new product, they become interested in learning more.  
2. Mesmerizing/Satisfying. Have you heard of these terms before? If not, you’d better look them up. Here is one of our clients that has an excellent mesmerizing video.   
3. Hiring efforts. Have a fun group of workers? A great break area? Fun work activities? Put it in a TikTok video. You could also make a quick video of the day of a worker.  
4. Behind the scenes. Make your own "How it's made" video. Let viewers in on behind-the-scenes footage of how your product is made or even setting up for a tradeshow. This helps audiences feel like part of the company and builds trust through transparency.  
5. New features or products. What a great way to spread the excitement of a new product or features update. Another part of a successful product launch. 

Chances are if you've watched TikTok or any other kind of reel, you recognize these different ideas and have seen them in action. Now borrow them and align them to your marketing strategy. Be sure to use hashtags and push through your website and social media. Don't be discouraged by the comments you might get. It's all part of the game.  

There's the beginning of marketing to young engineers. Looking for more help? Goldstein Group Communications has been working in the B2B field for 30 years with fresh ideas and measurably better marketing. Contact us to get started on your B2B marketing strategy.  




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