Marketing for engineers

Think Again: 7 tips can improve how engineers market products, services, companies, and themselves. Link to Control Engineering videos with more advice.


Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, was one of the speakers offering advice at the 2013 Marketing to Engineers conference, by CFE Media.

Others want to learn from engineers’ knowledge and experiences. Seven tips can improve how your engineering messages are formed, delivered, and measured to achieve your goals. Engineers (who may believe that if they build it, customers should come) may think differently from others about marketing, so it’s especially important to:

  1. Identify your goals and ensure they align with business (or personal) strategy. Know what it is you want to achieve with engineering marketing. Getting each engineering department in the company to explain key achievements for the year differs from introducing your company’s brand or your capabilities to new clients and new markets.
  2. Make a plan and choose tactics to execute the marketing plan. This includes identifying the tools you plan to use. Be realistic.
  3. Communicate the marketing plan to others (generally beyond what you think, then a little more) and refine as needed.
  4. Choose criteria for measurement and measure marketing results. Sometimes just getting something done is enough. Or marketing may need to increase sales by a specific percentage, or reach into three new markets. Repeat step 3 to gain buy-in.
  5. Execute the plan.
  6. Using chosen measurements, observe results and refine the plan (or goals) as needed. Don’t just set it and forget it.
  7. Ask for help from trusted partners along the way, from a mentor, another department (even marketing), peers in other divisions or in other companies, and from others.

CFE Media, the publishing company for Control Engineering, hosted the second annual “Marketing to Engineers” conference on March 18, prior to the annual awards evening for Engineers’ Choice Awards and Leaders Under 40 recognition, among others. Useful advice targeted company and department-level engineering marketing, but some of the same strategies could help improve marketing yourself professionally.

Engineering marketing advice

“I am an engineer.... We’re not like normal people,” admitted Alicia DuBay, product group manager for safety, ABB’s Process Automation Division, as she began to explain the importance of developing a marketing strategy for engineers.

Communications professionals often don’t get it when addressing engineers, DuBay said, suggesting that getting rid of marketing speak is a good way to help engineers, who are very busy and like to rely on trusted sources and quality information.

Spend money on marketing to “promote product, generate sales leads, create thought leadership, and awareness. All are valid reasons; each has challenges,” DuBay said.

Steve Krull, founder and CEO of Be Found Online, explained how valuable information posted often bolsters the value of websites. Any redesign should be analyzed, indexed, and optimized behind a firewall using Google webmaster tools prior to relaunch, Krull noted.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE MediaJoe Pulizzi, leading author, speaker, and strategist for content marketing and founder of the Content Marketing Institute, explained how giving away your secret sauce (quality content) can help you achieve your goals. Think again about reworking the norm, work with experts to get information you need, and cover new ground, he suggested.

“Get uncomfortable,” Pulizzi said. “If you don't feel like you're going to run off the road, you are not driving fast enough.”

- Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering,


See the videos and presentations for Marketing to Engineers 2013. 

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