Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

A modest proposal for a new resource in electronics B:B

Posted on | April 1, 2010 | 1 Comment

In my communications and community job at Numetrics, I’m learning lots of new things about how to market and communicate in the electronics B:B space. The main thing I’m learning is that we have few resources in this industry to do our job well.

Ours is a unique audience (engineers) and niches within that audience (think about the black magicians in the analog domain or the wildly diverse embedded design world). EE Times and McBru (to name two) have done behavioral/media-consumption studies of the audience over the years, and these are very helpful. (Click here to download McBru’s study of Chinese technology innovators). There are other point sources for certain information (Sean Murphy’s comprehensive list of industry bloggers is one), but industry-specific resources are few and far between.

On the flip side, tons of information exists on the Web about how to do email/digital/integrated/social marketing—virtually none of it relevant or targeted for our audience. So we try to adapt those techniques to lure more engineers into our sphere of influence but applying the “right” tactics is largely guesswork.

Paul Miller, head of EE Times Group, is offering the industry a chance to help solve this educational dilemma. He proposed at the recent “Ad Hoc” dinner in San Jose that he’d drive the creation of a e-B:B marketing summit if there was enough interest. There was. (Ad Hoc, which is run by longtime industry publishing luminary Frank Burge serves this purpose on a small scale).

Taking it a step further

Miller’s offer is great, but I think this industry needs to really get communal about this issue. Events such as the one he’s proposing are supported by large companies with big budgets and lots of experience. We need to expand the tent to small and medium-sized companies, with smaller staffs, tighter budgets but just as much (perhaps more) need to market successfully to this unique audience. And let’s face it: Most of the companies in our industry today fall into this small/medium category.

One way to do that, I suggested, is to a subdomain within—call it Resources—where information EET has collected and that companies have collected resides in wiki form. It doesn’t have to be EET, but this organization has been most active in recent years in serving as a marketing bridge for companies.

We all contribute as we learn in our own experience. No longer will we have to

  • Guess whether using dollar signs in email subject lines works with engineers or not
  • Agonize over whether it’s smarter to create a Facebook page for our companies rather than a LinkedIn page
  • Stumble around figuring out how to start a social media program
  • Spin cycles figuring out which mobile campaign approaches might work best for engineers
  • Guess what’s working and what’s not

The wiki could house a social media handbook (strategizing, creating, implementing and monitoring social channels) that evolves over time based on inputs from the community. There would be a useful links page for analytics and other tools that can and should be used by marketers to get better insights into their decisions. It may not always provide answers, but, done right, it would enable better-informed decision making.

Communal effort

Let’s be honest: the digital marketing world is moving so fast today that whatever “inside dope” you might have about digital strategies is public within weeks anyway, so it’s not competitive intelligence for very long. It’s better, I’d submit, for us to collectively learn how to market more effectively in the digital world to our unique audience because that success translates back to us in the form of a more engaged (and fulfilled) customer base.

These types of things are done in many other industries, and there’s no reason we can’t do it here. In the end, we’d have a multi-tiered information exchange, from our online wiki, Frank’s quarterly Ad Hocs and Miller’s annual marketing summit.

Who’s in?

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One Response to “A modest proposal for a new resource in electronics B:B”

  1. Lou Covey
    April 4th, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

    I’m actually working on something that might work. So I’m in.

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