SAN JOSE, Calif. – Ralph Bonnell and Noah Kanovsky are in many ways at opposing poles in their use of the Web. When it comes to anyone with a potentially relevant engineering or technology message, Ralph says “bring it on,” while Noah tends to turn it off.
The two agree when it comes to the importance of using the Net to find stuff that helps them do their jobs. Both engineers have a healthy skepticism about marketers, and neither wants to share any information with electronics vendors if they can avoid it.
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Bonnell and Kanovsky were two of three panelists at a session on marketing to engineers at the Online Marketing Summit here. Their candid answers shined a light on a sometimes wide and painful gap between what the Web can do for engineers today and what some hope it could do in the future.
A security specialist at Fishnet Security (Pleasanton, Calif.), Ralph devours the Web. He estimates he tracks hundreds of email list services on a special account he set up. He watches as many as two Webinars a day—not just running in the background while he does other stuff, he actually watches them.
Ralph uses Facebook for work, often getting a sense of what’s new in his field and how well or poorly new products are working out. He uses LinkedIn to quickly find experts and ask them over LinkedIn mail his burning questions.
When Ralph attends industry events such as the RSA Conference he spends time with as many individual vendors as possible in one-on-one sessions where he quizzes them on his interest areas. He even clicks on paid ad results that come up in Google searches—and perhaps once a week finds something that’s actually relevant in them.
I'm in both camps, and I too don't want to respond to marketers. And the reason is so extremely obvious! I don't want to have to respond to endless questionnaires, either online or on the phone, and I don't want to be spammed! How is this a mystery?
I use the web all the time, to get access to all manner of information, including product spec sheets. Marketers should be able to notice whether their web sites are useful or not by the orders they get for their products.
And I also use the web to post my own work, so that everyone who needs to refer to it can access it. Of course, that part of the web is restricted only to those who need to know. But fundamentally, aside from the restricted access, this is no different from what product vendors should be doing. I don't send endless questionnaires to those who access my stuff on the web, nor do I spam them.