In today’s varied landscape of marketing tactics, which ones are best positioned to communicate your message? And which channels will be the most effective at reaching your audience where they are? These are not easy questions. But you can put existing research and experience to work to help ensure your plan is based on the needs and interests of your audience.
A reasonable approach to developing an effective tactical plan is to consider three main factors: your marketing goals, how your audience engages with content and where they go for information – especially as you consider the demographic of older vs. younger engineers.
Do your company goals suggest a strategy to establish thought leadership? Or are you trying to build awareness around a major product launch? With your goal in mind, look at your messaging strategy and determine what you are trying to communicate – or what questions you are trying to answer for your audience – and align the tactics to those in the buying process.
Thought leadership, for example, can be cultivated during the awareness or discovery phase of the buying process, and most valuable tactics here would be white papers, articles, case studies or e-books. For a product launch, where the audience is looking to understand features and benefits and qualify the purchase, your focus could be on product information, reviews, webinars, product demos and how-to videos.
This is when you can’t take anything for granted. For example, let’s focus on the senior design engineer and the staff engineer (i.e., experienced vs. young). It’s easy to assume the older engineers will prefer traditional channels while the younger engineers would tend to skew digital. But the difference isn’t as great you might think. A recent study – commissioned primary research from Feedback, a Richmond, Virginia-based firm that specializes in ethnographic research into specific audience – found only minor variations (less than 5 percent in most cases) in social sharing among these groups.
That same study found that engineers under 40 were:
Once you have determined your message and created the appropriate content pieces, you need to determine what channels to use to get your message in the right hands. The options are seemingly endless. First, use the techniques we’ve discussed to learn where your audience goes for information. Second, approach planning with flexibility and agility. Be willing to try something and then monitor results. If it’s not working, move on to the next option. If it is working, think of how to expand your presence there.
You can reach your existing audience by leveraging your existing platforms – your website, social media, e-newsletters, etc. But to find a new audience, you’ll have to deploy your content wherever their journey takes them. Typically, engineers prefer supplier websites, search engines, trade publications, printed and online catalogs, e-newsletters and sales reps.
There’s a lot to consider. Here are a few of the ways that you can get started: