Gordon Moore’s is a name that has become synonymous with the development of technology in general and the semiconductor industry in particular. His eponymously named law (as quoted by this technical PR agency innumerable times in the last 20 years) predicted – in 1965 – that the number of transistors per silicon chip would double every year. He revised it in 1975 when he observed that this development was likely to slow and that eventually this doubling would happen every two years. In addition, Moore didn’t predict that this phenomena would last forever and, while it may be under pressure right now, it has served us well for decades. As well as being an accomplished chemist and engineer, Moore used his business mind throughout his career and, undoubtedly, still puts it to good use in his philanthropic activities now.
There is good evidence to show that all electronic engineers, whatever their age or years in service, now also approach their jobs with more than just engineering solutions in mind. As physics has really started to challenge Moore’s Law, the industry has shifted from more integration at the transistor level, to more integration at the module and package level. This is sometimes referred to as ‘More than Moore’ thinking, indicating an evolutionary change that is founded on his law. But, as engineers start to think more like business-people, we could say they are going through a similar evolution, becoming ‘More like Moore’.
There is evidence to substantiate this. A recent survey of engineers shows that around 25% of engineers now believe there is a growing need for them to have some experience in business and finance. Over 75% are more concerned about costs now than they have been in the past.
What does this mean for those marketing professionals hoping to influence the electronic engineering community? We believe it means there is a need to acknowledge this shift by demonstrating more consideration for the economic implications of adopting a new solution and that this needs to carry over into your technical content marketing, your technical social media marketing and even your technical PR output.
This thinking goes beyond the unit price and extends way further than just technical features, important though they are. If we were to create a check-list of what you need to include in your technical content creation plan to address this, it might look something like this:
- Does the new solution offer greater function density?
- Is there a product roadmap?
- Would it require a lot of effort to migrate to this new solution?
You will note that there is no direct financial reference in the check-list but, breaking these points down: greater function density implies the new solution does more than the old/competitor’s solution in the same size. Here, size shouldn’t be taken literally, because it might mean power envelope, as well as PCB footprint. Why is this important? Because it helps justify the decision from an engineering point of view, for a start, but it should also provide a lower total cost, when considering things like the cost of PCB space, the cost of power, the cost of removing heat, the cost of…. Well, you probably get the idea.
A product roadmap can be critical when deciding to adopt a new technology. We talk about ecosystems a lot in the B2B world because they are important. Every single product is now part of an ecosystem in some way, it may not be your ecosystem, but it’s still there. A roadmap doesn’t need to mean a new version every two years, it implies a continuity of supply. This can be more important than the first point about function density.
If you want an engineer to adopt a new product, it helps if you can make that adoption as seamless as possible. The first two points will provide some idea of whether it’s actually worth the effort, the third point, ‘Would it require a lot of effort to migrate to this new solution?’, quantifies the amount of effort needed. Weighing these three factors up will help the engineering team decide if the new solution is viable, beyond being technically appropriate.
This all matters because the Mind of the Engineer survey indicates that engineers are willing to experiment with new technologies and vendors, and they are also willing to take risks, but they tend to be analytical in their decision making. Interestingly, younger engineers are more inclined to seek out evolutionary advances, while tenured engineers (those with more years under their belt) are more willing to look at revolutionary advances. In general, tenured engineers have more decision-making power than less experienced engineers. Almost all (96%) indicated they are willing to try new things.
One point, for those responsible for deep tech marketing, to consider is that around a third of all respondents to the survey said there wasn’t enough decent technical content being made available that covers emerging technologies. There were other points to bear in mind for those tasked with engaging engineers – one was that over 80% said the best part of their job was solving new problems, and a similar amount said they would recommend engineering as a career. The general conclusion was that engineers are still satisfied with their careers, but that the momentum driving them to acquire new, diverse skills and knowledge is building.
Knowing this will help marketers and their electronics marketing agency tune their content accordingly. Publitek’s Strategic Content Team, which contains engineers and technical journalists, understands these needs and approaches technical content creation with the aim of answering them.