Industrial Email Marketing for Targeting Engineers in Long and Complex Sales Cycles

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Industrial email marketing doesn’t get as much respect as it deserves. I’ve read articles where people have claimed that email marketing is dead thanks to social media. That is simply not true when it comes to industrial marketing.

Let’s say you are a provider of engineering services and you sell to the Medical Device industry. Typically, sales cycles are 12 to 18 months or longer and there are many stakeholders involved from engineering, manufacturing, R&D, compliance and management. Many of these stakeholders do not interact directly with your website or content. Email marketing is probably the only way you’ll reach some of these invisible decision makers. How, you ask?

By using email marketing to deliver “champion content” directly into the Inbox of your primary contact who is probably a young engineer tasked with doing the research in finding an engineering solution. Sure, you can post the same content on your website and pray that your target audience will find it. Why not make it easier for your internal evangelist to forward your message and sell your solution internally?



Craig Rosenberg, a co-founder of TOPO and the author of the sales and marketing blog Funnelholic, defined this concept as, “Champion content is content designed specifically for your internal champion who is interested in your solution but must navigate his/her own organization to help advance the deal.”

For more on this, read my post “Industrial Content Marketing for Accelerating Sales Pipelines.”

Email marketing’s impact on the sales cycle

A recent survey on email marketing strategy done by Act-On and Ascend2 reported that “Email marketing is a prolific channel used in all types of sales scenarios, but is an essential channel when it comes to cycles that are long and complex, involving multiple influencers that require personalized nurturing during the purchase decision process.”

That doesn’t mean you can just do a “batch and blast” email campaign to a bought or rented email list. You know by now that just won’t work if you’ve done exactly that. This chart from IHS Engineering360 (now known as IEEE GlobalSpec) shows the various marketing channels used by engineering and industrial companies. I’ve highlighted the wide difference in usage of email marketing to in-house lists versus rented/purchased lists (60% vs. 20%).

Notice how trade magazine ads and direct mail using in-house lists ranks higher than email marketing to rented/purchased lists. And you thought traditional industrial marketing was dead!

Industrial email marketing to in-house lists is very effective

Do engineers respond to content delivered to their Inbox?

The short answer is a resounding YES! Here’s the latest finding from ENGINEERING.com when they surveyed over 1,000 engineers representing every major industry and job role to learn how today’s engineer searches for and consumes engineering information.

They found that 97% of engineers will consider an email in their inbox. Engineers still pay attention to content delivered to their inbox, with most being willing to either scan a subject line or open and skim for interesting content. There is one catch though – 83% of all engineers use a spam filter, so optimizing your email content is paramount to its success.



How engineers respond to industrial email marketing

So, there you have it. Industrial email marketing is very effective in reaching engineers and other stakeholders in long sales cycles. The key is to use carefully segmented in-house email lists and provide relevant content that will help your audience make an informed buy decision.

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