The Internet has made consumers impatient and demanding of instant information with maximum brevity. Whether catching up on the news, seeking product information or a review to help decide on a purchase, we are not prepared to wade through lots of information to get what we need. This ‘soundbite culture’ also extends to (and maybe originates from) our online social interactions – with ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and mostly brief posts or just pictures used to express our opinions and communicate with friends and relatives.
So the big question for the B2B technology and engineering sectors is: has this or will this mentality translate to marcoms where manufacturers and suppliers are aiming to influence engineers and procurement specialists to specify their device, component or system as opposed to that of the competition?
Well, the short answer at the moment would appear to be ‘yes’ and ‘no’. On the one hand, in order to make complex component selection decisions, engineers tend to need a lot of long-form detailed information, specifications and guidance. For marketers – often via marcoms agencies – the objective is to build profile, communicate and demonstrate knowledge of technologies and market sectors, and establish thought leadership status that can make them the ‘go to’ for products, services and support in particular areas. This requires content creation ranging from the written word of technical articles, white papers and comment and opinion pieces (and even the humble press release) to richer media including infographics and videos. So that’s the ‘no’ part.
Where the ‘yes’ comes in is in the social media strategies and tactics that now often form an important element of profile building, thought leadership and influencing of the technical marketing mix. Tweeting, posting, conversing in Groups on LinkedIn, sharing and liking can all help drive an overall, multi-faceted, content based marketing communications strategy.
One thing is for sure, in our personal lives when online shopping or interacting socially and our work lives when seeking design assistance or ideas, we expect quality information – whether in long-form or soundbite – to be served up quickly and easily.
It does make you wonder how we ever managed as engineers without laptops, CAD, supplier websites and all the other tech we take for granted today!