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27 min read

Research Series | 2023 State of Marketing to Engineers

Gain insights on how engineers and technical buyers find and consume content to make purchase decisions.


 

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Christian Haight (a.k.a. CJ), Content Marketing Manager at GlobalSpec, joins me on this episode to walk through key findings from the 6th annual research study conducted by TREW Marketing and GlobalSpec. 

The 2023 State of Marketing to Engineers Report includes a set of consistent questions we ask to monitor trends, such as preferred information sources and content types. We also take a deep dive into search behaviors, influencers, podcasts, and in-person events.

In this episode we walk through key findings, industry feedback and our own opinions in areas such as:

  • Search behaviors
  • Channel preferences
  • Industry influencers
  • Social media preferences
  • Valued content
  • Sales interactions

For more in-depth research information, check out the resources link below. Also be on the lookout for event MORE research to be released this year. In June 2023 GlobalSpec has a report coming out on engineers' work challenges and where they seek training and education. In Fall 2023 TREW Marketing and Elektor will release a European-focused report with many overlapping areas of focus as the State of Marketing to Engineers research.


Resources

Transcript:

 

I'm kicking off a two episode series on research. This research is designed for marketers in industrial and technical industries such as engineering and manufacturing who need data to help guide your decisions. The first in this series is my buddy CJ Haight over at GlobalSpec and we'll be walking through the 2023 State of Marketing to Engineers report. Then I'll be joined the following week by Lisa Beets from the Content Marketing Institute, and she'll be walking through her Content Marketing Report for manufacturing. Both will give you great amounts of information and data points that you can use to make budgetary trade offs and educate leadership on how to reach highly technical buyers. Let's do this.

 

Welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. Your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey.

 

Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend, challenge, or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You'll meet colleagues, friends and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories. And I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, TREW Marketing. TREW is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information, visit trewmarketing.com. And now on with our podcast. Hey everyone, and welcome to another episode of Content Marketing Engineered. I'm joined today by Christian Hayes or also known as CJ, and he is the Content Manager at GlobalSpec and my partner in prime when it comes to all things research. Welcome to the show, CJ.

 

Hi, Wendy, thanks for having me.

 

So happy to see you again. It's been a few months since we released our 6th annual research report, the State of Marketing to Engineers, and it was time for us to kind of get back together. And now that the research report has been in the wild a few months, just kind of talk about the feedback we're getting and what observations we have now. So I think this will be a fun episode. I'm looking forward to it.

 

Yeah, absolutely. It hasn't been too long since we've released the report, but at the same time, I feel like so much has happened that the thoughts I've had when we released it versus what I'm having now, some of that is even different. Feels like so much time has passed.

 

Right? Great. Well, before we dive in, why don't you tell our listeners and watchers a little bit about yourself and about Global Spec.

 

Yes. So, as you said, I'm the Content Marketing Manager at Global Spec. At Global Spec, we are a provider of data driven industrial marketing solutions that we design to help companies promote their products and grow their business. As I said, I'm the Content Marketing Manager there. So I am in charge of creating a lot of the content that we're using on our marketing team to promote our products and our business. That includes blog posts, white papers, research reports like the one that we worked on together, and other content such as that.

 

Okay, so you love this report because it helps you do your job better, I'm sure. And that's definitely how we feel about it at TREW Marketing. So that's one of the wise we do this research is selfishly so we can be as informed as possible when we at TREW Marketing are advising clients and making different budgetary trade offs in what we do with our engineering clients. What are some other reasons we conduct the research?

 

CJ well, both of us are working with so many marketers that's, like, what our job is focused on is trying to make the day to day lives of marketers easier. And when it comes to marketing, all we really want to know is more about our audience. So we like to put this report together and ask a bunch of engineers about their content preferences, how they like to find information, all sorts of data points that we think marketers would love to have. And every single year, we're able to build on the trends that we're finding and also dive deeper into areas that we've asked about in the past or sometimes new areas. So it's a great report for us to be able to put together every year.

 

Yeah. And, you know, it's so funny because we're always like, okay, we can't make this research too long because we want everyone to complete every question. And so we always have to make these trade offs right, and which questions make it in and which don't. And when we drop something out, people are like, what happened to that question and what's the trend on that? And then we'll add it back in. It's fun figuring out what makes it and what doesn't and why. So this year was no different than previous year, so we had to make some trade offs, but we wanted to also explore some new areas and dive in a little deeper. So what were some of the new areas we explored that we hadn't done in the past?

 

Yeah, one of the biggest areas, I would say, would be industry experts asking about where engineers are finding industry experts, the reasons why they're following them. That was a completely new area that we dove into. We also dove deeper into asking about search and asking about in person events. That was something that we've kind of foregone a little bit the past few years, especially with COVID And this year, we kind of brought that back full throttle and asked people to compare how they're attending industry events this year compared to what they've done pre COVID to kind of get a little bit an idea of that. We also dove a little bit into content preferences, but asked a little deeper in terms of how engineers like their content to be organized when they're going to a vendor website and different things like that.

 

Yeah. One of my favorites that was new this year was what type of content causes you to stop scrolling when you're on LinkedIn? And I was at an industry conference not long ago, and someone actually shared that very research slide as part of a social media presentation. And there was a great discussion around the room because we'll get to that when we talk about that finding. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

 

Yeah. It's a good question, though. I get it.

 

Yeah. So one of the things that we work hard to do is have this report have a high degree of integrity and accuracy. And so we really sweat over the sample size and the demographics of who we're surveying to make sure it's the right people, and we have enough of them to have a meaningful in sample. So our results, like I said, are meaningful and accurate. So could you walk through just a little bit of that demographic information to set the stage here?

 

Yeah, of course. So we saw just over 850 total respondents that we qualified to move on throughout the survey. What considered that qualification was what job function they were in. So we were looking specifically at engineers, research and development, manufacturing staff and product management engineers took up the majority of that. There was like just over 80% of respondents marked themselves as engineers or research and development. And then we also looked at industries. So we have quite a long list of industry options in the survey, and that's a great thing. We like to keep our respondents diverse throughout the engineering industry. And so some of the top ones that I can remember, there was like, aerospace and defense, electronics, energy and natural resources. A lot of them had like, right around 10% or so. Some a little bit over, some a little bit under. So we like to see that split fairly evenly.

 

Yeah, it was really diverse. I love that people often ask me about our when they look at the results of the survey, they say it looks like a bunch of engineers that are only buying hardware or only buying software. But when I think about the jobs that these engineers are doing that are answering, they're buying both, right? They're buying services, they're buying hardware, software, turnkey solutions. And so that's something that we don't qualify when we ask questions. Right. We leave it pretty open ended to say, when you're making a major purchase, what are some factors and leaving it to them to answer. So that's something that sometimes is lost when we talk about the demographics. Yeah. Okay, so CJ, so open up the report. I'm going to do the same thing. We'll have it up on our desktop here. And what I thought we would do, because of course, we have a whole webinar where we present this data and we talk about it it's very formal. But today what I thought we'd do is just scroll through the report and just talk about some of the data that surprised us or data that we like and maybe some feedback that we've gotten from other people that have since seen the research.

 

So let's start with the first section, which is called Seeking Answers. And just talk to me about this. This is about search behavior in Google.

 

Yeah. So when it comes to search, I think that this is actually, in my opinion, some of the most interesting data points that we found this year. Engineers love to search deeply. It's something that we saw a few years ago with a trend that they're willing to go past page five on Google to find the information that they're looking for. And this was something that we brought back this year thinking maybe this would change due to Google making some changes in their algorithm, trying to make that answer available on the first page. But still, we saw that engineers are willing to go as far as they need to in order to find the information that they are specifically looking for, which I thought was extremely interesting that that stayed the same. And to go with that, we also asked them about paid search and how they feel about companies who are using paid search in order to get listed on the top of Google search. And the majority, it was 51%, said that they actively avoid clicking on paid search, which I also thought was interesting because we have companies who are paying to be higher on the list, even though engineers are willing to go further down the list to look for that answer that they're looking for.

 

So I think that all of that kind of wrapped up together is really interesting.

 

Yeah, and I think there's this assumption that page one and probably page two are mostly ads. Anyway, TREW or not, that's some anecdotal feedback I've gotten. And that's why engineers do jump straight into page three and beyond. Since we asked this question, two changes. One a bit on the small side and one pretty massive. So the small change is that the idea of page one and page two and page three really isn't a thing on Google. You just keep scrolling down and scrolling and scrolling. And so you have to think of it as scroll sections instead of so that's a bit of a twist that happened. But the bigger twist, obviously, is Chat GPT and other tools that are coming out like that, where you're using more prompts and voice search. And voice search was always here. But the idea of searching in this new AI driven way, I think is going to change the landscape. So I definitely think we'll be talking more about search, but also about how these new tools impact behavior.

 

Yeah, it's interesting because Chat GPT was launched in November of 2022, which is right around the time that we were putting this survey together. And it's just crazy to see the impact that it has already had on these search engines and the impact it's had on that entire industry and how every search engine is looking to now incorporate their own AI software into their search. And I've heard people who talk about they don't go to Google anymore, they go to Chat GPT and they will search there and try to find their answers. So it is interesting how it's going to change search. And I'd also love to know if it's reached the engineering market like it's reached other industries, and if engineers are using Chat GPT or if they're still relying on Google for their search.

 

Yeah, I've definitely heard a lot of skepticism anecdotally from engineers that don't trust Chat GPT, but we'll see how that changes as we look to create our 2024 report. It should be very interesting. And also one other thing on this is in the early days of asking this question, we used to say search engines, we wouldn't call out Google, but then Google had the lion's share of the market on search. It was like over 95% global market share. And now all of a sudden you hear that Samsung is going to put Bing on their phones as opposed to Google as the search engine. So wow, things are changing.

 

Yeah, they really are.

 

Okay, well, let's move on to channels and site organizations. So this channels question we ask every year is probably the most popular benchmark finding that we have.

 

Yeah. And the supplier and vendor websites, that is the top again for channels and seeking information. And that's not a surprise because it has been there. I feel like it's kind of the king of where engineers go to find content. And last year it was the top and this year it was the top and this year it had even more respondents choosing that answer too. So it's even just grown in the past year from where we saw last year.

 

Yeah. And then if you look to other really popular answers, trade publications, the online version of trade publications is number two and industry directory website is number three. So you have websites, websites and websites and all trending, like you said, growth year over year. Yeah, this is a great one and I think that like you said, there's nothing very surprising on it. We also asked a question to help marketers think about how to organize their website and this one didn't feel very earth shattering to me. But CJ, what do you think?

 

Yeah, I agree. I think that this answer was kind of what I think we were expecting when we were putting the question together. When I think about myself and going to websites, whether I'm searching for something that's related to what an engineer would be searching for or not, I think that I have a similar thought process of wanting to go somewhere and be able to search by the product itself and see what kind of options lay there. So I think that answer makes sense for that to be the top.

 

Yeah. So most wanted products and solution, but a fair amount also fit industry and application area. And that may depend on how familiar someone is with a company's brand and the offerings that they have. So I could see them coming in in two different paths.

 

Yeah, I agree with that.

 

Let's move on to the type of content that engineers find most valuable when they're researching. So this is another one we ask every single year. And data sheets are always sort of at the top here. I feel like data sheets are sorts of table stake. Like you have to have a data sheet if you have a product. I almost want to throw that out, you know what I mean? Of like yeah, have your specs. But after that, maybe walk us through some of the most popular content that engineers value.

 

Yeah. We have CAD drawings, which would be second at 44%, product demo videos at 34% or 37%, and then product reviews at 34%. So definitely liking to see we're talking about engineers, so obviously we know that they want their technical information, so we're going to see data sheets at the top, but then CAD drawings, product demo videos and product reviews are also just other sources of specifications and different information and data points that they're going to want to see about their products. I love seeing the video as high as it is. We've always been seeing a growth in video with engineers. And seeing a product demo video there at third place I think is pretty exciting.

 

Yeah. And if any of you download the research report, you'll see that we asked about video in several ways. So we asked product demo videos versus overview videos versus videos about the company. And so you can see where each of those videos ranks. But certainly that demo video is very popular.

 

Yes.

 

Okay, so then we asked who should author content? And we phrased in a way of saying, which type of author do you trust the most? And this one, again, really not surprising to see that what engineer experts at a vendor company and technical product managers came out on top.

 

Yeah. So going back to what you said about Chat GPT and gaining trust within the engineering community, it can be hard to do that they don't trust very easily. So when we're looking at people that they're going to trust to create content for them that they're going to then read and looking at an engineering expert at a vendor company, that makes sense to me. That is really where a lot of that trust would lie. Whereas an engineer is looking at one of their own, essentially.

 

Yeah. And we are starting to think that not only that person, so that engineering expert, but also hearing them unscripted, kind of like we are today, where you know that it's actually them and it wasn't a robot writing something with their name on it. It's their brand, it's their face, their voice, so even makes a bigger case for audio and video than in the past. And having expert spokespeople that you put in front of your brand.

 

Yeah, absolutely. And then also, just one thing I want to add to that too, is I think that that also kind of points towards the importance of actually listing the author of the piece. Because I know some websites or some companies, they won't list the author of every piece that they're submitting. And we're entering a world now where people might assume that that was created by some sort of AI technology rather than a human. So if you have a human writing those pieces, making sure that you have the author listed, I think is going to be very important going forward, especially with this community.

 

I'm so glad you brought that up. Very TREW. And so not only does it help to reinforce trust, build trust, but also there's an SEO play there. Because if you have an author talking about, say, 5g on your company's blog, and then that same author writes an article that's published by, say, Microwave Journal on 5g, now you have the same company and the same author in different places, and that helps build credibility with search engines and with people, obviously. Yeah.

 

Awesome.

 

Well, let's talk about one of your favorite subjects, which is newsletters.

 

So what I love what we did with the report this year is we kind of showed the trend of newsletters as well, going from 2021, 2022, and 2023. Specifically, when we're looking at the subscriber rate of newsletters, we've seen a little bit of a dip on newsletter subscription rates. Especially. Last year, we saw a little bit of a dip in terms of how many newsletters engineers were subscribing to. This year, I feel like that's kind of flattened out a little bit. We're not seeing it dip anymore, which is definitely a good sign. It hasn't necessarily increased yet either, but hopefully we'll see that in the near future. But it's good to see that that's at least plateaued for now. Doesn't look like engineers are as sick of emails as maybe they were a year or a two year, two years ago.

 

The COVID fatigue, right?

 

Yeah, we definitely saw a little bit of that the past few years in reflection to what COVID did and how many people started to send emails at that time. So it's nice to see that it looks like engineers are starting to rely on those emails again. And they're not unsubscribing to newsletters anymore.

 

Right. And then for the newsletters they do subscribe to, the most popular delivery, cadence was weekly, followed by monthly. And that surprised me because weekly, I mean, that's frequent. So if I'm saying yes, I want to subscribe. I really do keenly want to hear from that company and often. And so that's a great nod to marketers thinking about how to have relevant content, how to segment, but also to just follow your open and click through rates and see if your audience is giving you permission to communicate more often, you may have an opportunity there.

 

Yeah, that's a great point because if someone is currently releasing a newsletter on a monthly basis, but they have enough content to send more newsletters and their subscriber rates are showing that they're receiving great opening numbers, it's a great opportunity to look at to see if you could possibly release a newsletter more often.

 

Yeah. Now we asked what elements of a newsletter make it a winner, like what people like, what types of content, and they liked everything practically that we listed out, which is kind of cool. So anyway, you all go look at the research report to see that. We're not going to list them all, but there's a bunch there. Okay. Another really popular one, and often controversial because people are like, are you sure? Is our findings on social media. I think this is controversial, at least it used to be because people thought that engineers were more socially active than they actually are when it comes to their work lives. Right. So CJ, which platforms are engineers most likely to use? And again, this is how we ask let me just set this up. How valuable are each of these social media platforms when seeking information on engineering technologies, trends and products?

 

So we saw YouTube and LinkedIn as the top two social media platforms for this question. For YouTube, we had, I believe it was over 80%, right. Who said yeah, that they found value in YouTube and LinkedIn was very similar to that. More closer to 80% or wait, am I looking at that wrong?

 

No, you are.

 

Okay. Both of those platforms are definitely high up there in terms of industrial marketers need to be on those platforms and sharing content to engineers, especially if they want to reach that audience. Those are going to be the two platforms to go to. One other thing I want to shout out too, is that we added TikTok this year. We removed Clubhouse because we found that year after year, nobody was really using Clubhouse. And so we thought, well, let's throw TikTok in and see how that does. It's a popular social media platform, so we thought maybe we'd get some responses. But we essentially saw the same exact response that we've seen on Clubhouse the past few years, where no one is saying that they're using TikTok, which isn't too shocking to me for the engineering community, but I thought that maybe we'd see a little bit more that said that they use TikTok. I also wonder if you were to change up the wording of this question and we weren't specifically asking about when they're researching for products or using social media for business purposes in general. If we ask more about personally what social media platforms are using, I wonder if this list would change at all.

 

And I wonder if that's important for brands to consider. Because if an engineer is on TikTok or if they're on Instagram, they're not necessarily using it for their professional lives, they're using it for their personal lives. That's still a great place that a brand would be able to grow and reach their audience, just not necessarily while they might be thinking about work. So I think that that is an interesting thought and I wonder if this list would have any chance of changing. It was differently.

 

I definitely could see it. I bet YouTube would go even higher.

 

It probably would.

 

Things like Instagram and Facebook would probably climb as well. Yeah, I like that. Let's think about that for next year. Also, I've gotten feedback that perhaps discord should be added to our list next year. And then I got on this great philosophical debate about, okay, well, is Discord more like slack? Is it more a private communication? And if you're doing that, why wouldn't you do WhatsApp and where's the line? And so the lines are blurring with social media tools and communication tools, how to bucket them, I guess you could say.

 

Yeah, yeah, that's that's that's a great point to make as well. Just trying to find the line and the balance between the two, being able to make sure we're covering as much as we can, but obviously not just throwing on anything that is a communication app.

 

Yeah. With every question that we ask, we will dissect things by age, by industry. We're always looking for big swings or big changes. And so with social, we did break down and publish by age because there was a bit of a difference compared to other questions. Not earth shattering here though, right? As you might imagine, younger engineers are bigger social users than their older counterparts.

 

As expected.

 

Digital natives and all that. Okay, here's the fun one that I liked. We asked when visiting LinkedIn, what makes you stop scrolling? And the number one answer is research data CJ. We're like, yay for us. But there was a lot of here too. I mean, product information and industry news, company news, visual things, industry discussions, like a lot of things. People said they would stop on conference. I was at, this is what cracked me up. Everybody was like, oh, you all should all do polls. It's so easy to do on LinkedIn. You can ask questions, blah, blah, blah. That was like one of the worst performing pieces of content that you could post on LinkedIn, our industry.

 

Yeah, it was listed as the last thing that engineers would stop scrolling for on LinkedIn was polls. And that's not to say that they're not good to use and to test out and try to use with strategy, but engineers might not stop to look at them. We can definitely say that. Yeah. I also find it interesting with this. I mean, talking about engineers and loving technical data and loving their information that they can trust, it makes sense that they're going to stop for something like research data and product service information. I also feel like quite often when we're talking about social media and we're talking about marketing, we talk about creating a personal element to what you're doing with your social media account. And if you're a business, like sharing something like employee shoutouts and different things like that in order to create a personal element from your brand and a personal connection with your audience. But engineers don't seem to care as much about that information as they care about the technical information. It's nothing that's going to make them necessarily stop scrolling.

 

Right, but I do think you're on to something. Is the content published by a person, like a technical person of the company, or is it published by the brand? And I do think that matters. So if the same piece of content is posted by both, I definitely think the person would get a better performance in the brand.

 

Yeah. And I don't necessarily think that just because customer testimonials are ranked towards the bottom of this list that you shouldn't post customer testimonials. I think that you still need a mix of everything. But finding the balance of when you post something like research data versus a customer testimonial, that's where this question can really help you out with creating that balance of how to post. Not exactly what to post.

 

Yeah, very good point on that. Most valued content, customer testimonials are actually pretty high. So when we asked it and didn't apply it to social media, it did really well. So I think that's quite well taken.

 

That's really interesting. Yeah.

 

So this is a nice segue into industry experts. So, CJ, do you remember why we decided to add this? Like what the trend was that we were grabbing onto?

 

I'm not sure if I remember the specific trend, but I think it's an area that we've been kind of needing to tackle for a few years now. And I'm happy that we finally did this year just because industry experts, they're becoming more and more important, especially when it comes to marketing your brand and finding ways to partner with them is important. So tackling that this year in this report was a great opportunity for us.

 

Absolutely. And if you substitute the word influencer for industry expert, you'll see where I was going. Mentally is the idea of marketing through influencers is not a new concept by any means, but mostly one that we think about related. To B to C. And so as more and more technical companies are trying to figure out how to utilize that strategy, we wanted to help inform that, but we were not about to ask. Questions to an engineer with the word influencer in it. That conjure is probably a Kim Kardashian kind of thing.

 

Yeah, we felt like engineers would not be interested in that word at all. They wouldn't want to admit to themselves that maybe they follow some influencers in their space.

 

Right. So, CJ, what were a couple of the findings that you found interesting from this section?

 

I found that it was all fairly expected. It was nice to see how many engineers do look towards their industry experts. I wasn't sure exactly whether we take out the word influencer or not. I wasn't sure exactly how engineers were when it came to looking towards those experts, but we found that a good amount of them did follow experts, and a lot of them did follow them in terms of looking at the trends that they were talking about and the industry news that they were talking about following them for the same exact reasons that anyone follows an influencer. And I found all of that interesting and kind of a sign that maybe this industrial marketing space that you and I work towards should start looking at partnering with these influencers on their marketing programs.

 

Yeah. When we asked, where did you discover that industry expert? This was a place where technical publications really shined. And so then it's kind of full circle back to, oh, this is PR, and distributed articles and developing relationships with technical publications as one tactic. LinkedIn and YouTube and industry conferences were the next in line, but definitely technical publications won the day here.

 

Yeah.

 

Those of you if you haven't picked up the report, we have a list. We ask people to name names, and so we have a list of people that they considered industry experts that we threw in the report. And I tell you, I feel like we missed the boat on we didn't ask if academia was a place where they discovered an expert, but we should have had that on the list because many of the experts that people wrote in were from top engineering universities.

 

Yeah, that's a great point. Something that we'll have to keep in mind for 2024.

 

Yeah, cool. Okay, so podcasts, we've been watching podcasts. I think we added this. This is our third year to ask about podcasts, right?

 

Yeah. We very briefly mentioned on it three years ago, and then last year we went a little bit more in depth in it.

 

Yeah. And so the first year, I want to say it was maybe in the something percent of engineers listen to podcasts for work. So that was a few years ago. What is it today?

 

CJ, 73% of engineers listen to work related podcasts.

 

Okay. From the in a few years. That is a huge jump.

 

Yeah. We have seen a huge amount of growth with podcasts and engineers.

 

Yeah. Now they're still not listening super long. So 45%, the majority said they listen less than 1 hour a week. So I think there's room for improvement there. Go ahead.

 

Sorry, I was just going to add that along with that, 55% said that they listen to podcasts that are 15 minutes or shorter, which is also that really surprised me because when I think of a podcast, I think of half an hour to an hour, sometimes even like two, two and a half hours. Podcasts can be very long forms of content. So to see 15 minutes or shorter, that's interesting. And I wonder if that's a trend that we see among podcasts in general, that it's very popular to have 15 minutes episodes or possibly shorter. And this is something that I just haven't been up to date with. It'd be a little surprising to me, but I was very shocked to see 15 minutes or shorter.

 

I know, I think of that as being more video snippets, like a quick how to on something, and I don't think of that as podcast either. So I agree with you, that was surprising. I've been talking to a lot of people about this finding in general. So if 73% of engineers are listening to work related podcasts weekly, should my company start a podcast? And I'm always telling people, oh my gosh, so much work, you really need to think through what your strategy is. Are you committed to this cadence of content? And if you're not keeping up with your blog and you not keeping up with the content on your website, you're not ready for a podcast. But perhaps you're ready to have your company spokesperson be on other people's podcasts and then you're getting in front of their communities and amplifying your brand. So that's a great low barrier way to be a part of this podcast phenomenon that's happening right now.

 

Yeah, and I think that's a great way to put it is to just involve yourself with podcasts in some way, whether that is you starting your own or being on other people's podcasts. You could also look at sponsoring podcasts too, within the space and get your brand in front of that person's audience by sponsoring different episodes of theirs. And also what I want to say to you as well is when you talk about should I start a podcast or not? And are you keeping up with your other content? If they're keeping up with a blog, if they're able to release white papers or pieces of content every once in a while and they have enough of that content, then they could also transform some of that into a podcast and create kind of audio versions of those white papers or some of those blog articles. If they're releasing a newsletter every week or on a monthly basis even, they could use some of that content within a podcast. So if they are actively creating content, then they might have something there in order to create a podcast.

 

Well, that's a very good point. And then of course, you could flip it the other way too. So, for example, with TREW Marketing, we used to blog every week and now because of our podcast, we blog every other week and the podcast becomes that replacement piece of content and then you have the transcripts that you could utilize and repurpose into blogs. So yeah, a lot of synergies there for sure. So CJ, have you heard a lot of buzz about in person events this year?

 

Yes, we have. And it looks like it's a little surprising how split on one of our questions we asked about if they plan to attend more, less or the same amount of industry events that they attended in 2019 and it was really interesting to see just how split that question was. 27% of people said more, 28% of people said about the same, 27% of people said that they don't attend industry in person events and then 17% said fewer. So it's crazy to see how almost evenly split that answer is between people going to more, going to less, or going to the same.

 

Yeah, well, Anecdotally, I've heard attendance is up, people are going back, they're excited, marketers are growing their budget in this area, the Content Marketing Institute, their research report showed, and I forget how many, what an increase was, but I think it was over 20% of more budget going towards events year over year. I'm excited to have the energy of events back, but I like that also. People are being pretty selective of what events they go to and as was pre pandemic, the presence of highly technical sessions and skill development helped to guide what to prioritize on a limited budget.

 

Yeah, absolutely. And that's kind of been the buzz around global spec as well. It's just that going to in person events has been such a nice feeling because so many people are there again and budgets are being created for industrial marketers and these in person events are looking to partner with companies again as well in mass capacity. So it's been really nice having that opportunity back as a marketer.

 

Yeah, it sure has. Well, our last section was about interaction with sales and we're focused on when the engineer is ready to talk to sales and what their behavior looks like just before that interaction and just after it. And so we asked how much of your buying process happens online before you choose to talk to someone at the company. This is another very popular benchmarking question. So CJ, what were the results on this one?

 

So we saw 41% of our respondents said that they spend 26% to 50% of that process online, which I think makes sense and goes towards the trend that we have seen in past years as well. The majority of time engineers like to spend online. And when it comes to speaking to a sales rep, they're essentially coming to speak to them because they either want to confirm the information that they've found online or what they're looking to do is just so complicated that they want to make sure that the company that they're working with has a good understanding of how to help them solve their problem. So even when they go to speak to the sales rep, that doesn't even necessarily mean that they're getting close to ready to purchase. They just need to get a few things ironed out or a few things confirmed so they can probably go back to doing some more research online.

 

All roads point back to online. Yeah, we had a funny response on this one. We said, maybe you're bored or you have extra time, do you want to talk to sales then? And a whole whopping 2% of people said, yeah, I'm bored. So I talked to that was fun. And then this is one that doesn't change much year over year, but we asked, okay, when you have that first interaction with sales, what form of communication do you prefer? And email far and away is the most popular. Distant second was phone and online chat. Boy, it just doesn't score very high, does it?

 

I know this year is the first year that we added LinkedIn Direct messages, thinking that that might be a form of online chat that maybe engineers would be a little bit more adept to using. But yeah, they were not. They just want to speak either over the email or over the phone, it seems like.

 

Yeah, well, CJ, that's it. We did it. We walked through the whole report. It was another great year, I think. Very insightful. Have you pretty soon we're going to need to start brainstorming on 2024 Report.

 

Yeah, and I feel like we already have so many ideas to get started with.

 

Maybe a little longer.

 

I also love the new design that we used in the 2023 Report. I thought the design was it just worked so well for what we were looking to do with the report. I think it really improved the journey that someone can take when going through this report and being able to kind of jump around through different sections. I really love the design as well.

 

Yeah, me too. So, as I mentioned before, you and I presented very formal webinar on the research and so in the show notes, I'll have a link for the research report and the webinar. And then we've got so many really good questions during the webinar that we have a whole blog post that you and I co authored that have just the Q and A. And guess what? That was the most popular blog post of the quarter. That TREW marketing published. So a lot of interest in that and there were some pretty cool questions. So all of those links there. But how else can our listeners and viewers connect with you and Global Spec? And what's coming up for you guys in the next, I don't know, six months or so.

 

Yeah. So you can connect with Global Spec on all social media platforms. We have a big presence on LinkedIn. You'll be able to find us just by searching for GlobalSpec there. You can also go to Globalspec.com Advertising. That's where we have a lot of our marketing content that we create. We have discussion about our products as well as discussion about our audience and the demographics on the people who are using our website. You can find me on LinkedIn at christianjHaight Haight is Haight and in the future, looking at the future for Global Spec. We love these research reports that we put together, especially this one that we do with you guys every year and we're going to be looking to do more of that this year. We're planning to release another one in June that'll be specifically on the day to day challenges that engineers are facing within their job. So we're really excited about that. We're going to be sending the survey out here shortly and collecting that data.

 

That sounds great. I can't wait to see that one. And then Tree Marketing is working with Elector on a European specific version of this report. So this one has a pretty North American cast to it. This other one will be strictly Europe so that'll be interesting to compare and contrast and I can't wait to talk to you more about that one too.

 

I can't wait to see that report. I'm really excited.

 

Yeah, well thank you so much for coming on today. CJ.

 

Thank you, Wendy. I love being here.

 

Thanks for joining me today on Content Marketing engineered for show notes including links to resources, visit TREWmarketing.com podcast. While there you can subscribe to our blog and our a newsletter and order a copy of my book Content Marketing Engineer. Also, I would love your reviews on this podcast so please, when you get a chance, subscribe and leave me your review on your favorite podcast subscription platform. Thanks and have a great day. Our channel.

 

Wendy Covey

Wendy Covey is a CEO, a technical marketing leader, author of Content Marketing, Engineered, one of The Wall Street Journal’s 10 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs in America, and she holds a Texas fishing record. She resides in a small Hill Country town southwest of Austin, Texas, where she enjoys outdoor adventures with her family.



About TREW Marketing

TREW Marketing is a strategy-first content marketing agency serving B2B companies that target highly technical buyers. With deep experience in the design, embedded, measurement and automation, and software industries, TREW Marketing provides branding, marketing strategy, content development, and digital marketing services to help customers efficiently and effectively achieve business goals.