How To Make Engineers Happy

Engineers -- a difficult audience to please -- will sign up for email newsletters. But email is hardly their favorite content delivery channel, according to 2020 Smart Marketing for Engineers, a study by TREW Marketing and IEEE GlobalSpec.

Supplier/vendor websites are the most popular vehicle, rated very highly by 56% and as somewhat effective by 38%.

In contrast, publication emails/newsletters are seen as very valuable by 32% and as somewhat so by 51%. Another 17% have no use for them.

Newsletters beat trade shows, trade publications, advertisements and social media. But they also fall behind industry directory websites, online trade publications and YouTube.

Still, marketers trying to reach this B2B audience should try email. Of the engineers polled, 47% subscribe to three to five newsletters, 27% to one or two, 18% to six or more, an 8% to none.

How do engineers read email newsletters? Many actually don’t — 33% scan for interesting subject lines, and delete or ignore the rest.



Another 22% will open most items, scan the content and delete what doesn’t interest them. And 20% will read every item for important content.

As with other forms of marketing, habits vary with age.

Engineers age 66 and over are most likely to scan for subject lines and delete everything else. But those younger than 35 tend to save email newsletters and read them at another time.

Almost 75% of engineers conduct more than half of their buying process online. And when they are ready to engage with a salesperson, 55% prefer to connect by email and 24% by phone. In addition, 8% choose in-person meetings and 5% favor online chat.

Engineers are a demanding audience. Their most popular form of content is data sheets — 98% say they’re valuable, and 78% say they are very valuable. 

Second is case studies, with 41% saying they are very valuable and 50% saying they are somewhat effective.

Print catalogs are down the list — 32% find them very valuable, and 21% say they are not valuable at all. 

Contrary to myth, how-to videos are deemed very valuable by 30% and not at all useful by 19%. In-depth bog posts are seen as very useful by 16%, and not at all useful by 32%.

Want to reach engineers? Here’s the information they are willing to share in return for access to top-drawer content:

  • Work email address — 84%
  • First name — 82%
  • Company name — 70%
  • Last name — 69%
  • Job title — 61%
  • Industry — 54%
  • Product/service interest — 48%
  • Work phone number — 35%
  • Company address — 34%
  • Company website — 26%
  • Mobile phone number — 20%
  • Purchase time frame — 17%
  • Other (please specify) — 6%

Trew Marketing and IEEE GlobalSpec surveyed 291 engineering professionals.


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