Marketing to millennial engineers requires a deep understanding of the age differences among the engineering workforce. I have talked about this in the past and it was also a key talking point of my presentation at the Industrial Marketing Summit, Content Marketing World 2019. Yes there are many key differences in how you market to millennials vs. senior engineers, more importantly, how this age group responds.
I recently read a new research study, The 2019 Pulse of Engineering, published by IEEE GlobalSpec. I’ll cite some of the findings from this survey and a few others in this post.
Why are millennial engineers important in industrial marketing?
The IEEE GlobalSpec report defines millennial engineers as those with nine or fewer years of professional experience. Even though they make up only 15% of the 2,180 survey respondents, they are an up and coming new generation as more senior engineers near retirement age.
Millennial engineers have grown up in the digital age, so their preferences and expectations are different from their more senior colleagues. While they may be near the bottom of the value chain in the buying decision, they play a critical part.
40% of industrial companies are experiencing increased losses of senior employees due to retirement. Your industrial marketing must win the mindshare of these millennial engineers to build new relationships.
You may be marketing in the “past tense” if you have developed your buyer personas based on senior engineers and rely on old relationships that your sales team has built over the years. Ignore millennial engineers at your own peril!
Understanding age differences in marketing to engineers
Let’s look at some of the important differences among engineers when marketing to them.
Age and Mobile Phone Content Consumption (Source: How Engineers Find Information 2019, engineering.com)
Millennials and social media usage for work-related purposes (Source: 2019 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector, IEEE GlobalSpec)
- 36% of millennials regularly check their social media accounts for work-related purposes throughout the day, compared to 20% of those 35 and older.
- Millennials are equally likely as their older colleagues to have a LinkedIn account, but are much more likely to use that account for work-related activities.
- Millennials are more likely to use social media to find product reviews, expertise, and new jobs and employers.
Video usage in marketing to engineers (Source: 2019 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector, IEEE GlobalSpec)
- 59% of engineers use YouTube or other video-sharing websites for work-related purposes, up from 50% two years ago. 63% of millennials use such websites.
- 84% of engineers who use video sharing websites watch how-to videos and tutorials.
- 72% watch training videos and 64% watch product demos.
- Among millennials, 90% watch how-to videos/tutorials, 83% watch training videos and 71% watch product demos.
Knowledge gap and losses among engineers (Source: 2019 Pulse of Engineering Research Report, IEEE GlobalSpec)
- 40% of engineers stated that loss of senior employees to retirement has increased.
- 61% of engineers stated that knowledge and/or information loss as employees left the company was very or extremely important.
- Millennial engineers find it harder to tap into institutional knowledge without a mentor or network of contacts.
Content preferences and resistance to registration (Source: 2019 Pulse of Engineering Research Report, IEEE GlobalSpec)
Technically accurate content that engineers can rely on is invaluable in connecting with this audience. They are hungry for information and are not overwhelmed by content overload. However, there is some resistance to filling out long forms and gating all content. Demonstrate the value of the content that you will deliver if you want engineers, especially millennials to register.
First earn their trust and build a strong relationship before asking for too much information up front. You can always fill in the missing information from various online sources and/or with progressive profiling. Less than 25% of engineers are willing to pay for access to premium content.
I hope these research findings will help you create a more effective industrial marketing strategy for marketing to millennial engineers.