Engineers hold accuracy and precision as paramount. You are designing and solving critical applications to ensure the highest product quality, system safety, and performance. You are solving complex calculations to ensure the greatest likelihood of success. There’s little room for guesswork or contradictions.
Engineers say that other engineers don't fill out registration forms, but they do. What's up with that?
So when engineers first told me with certainty that other engineers will never give up their personal information on a website, and then they turned around and did exactly that, I was amazed. And I remain amazed, because it’s happened many more times since.
Case in point: My business partner and I were speaking to hundreds of engineering business leaders at a conference recently about marketing to a technical audience. The topic was lead generation on the web. During the Q&A, several people in the audience voiced their reluctance to place registration gates on areas of their website, out of fear that technically minded web visitors would go elsewhere.
When I asked for a show of hands on who would fill out a lead form themselves, very few hands went up. They made it clear: Engineers do not fill out lead forms.
Right after our talk, we offered a handout with more information about marketing to technical audiences in exchange for a business card. The offer was totally voluntary, it was there if they wanted it.
Do as I say, not as I do
Guess what? We had a line of engineers 75 deep waiting with business card in hand. The same engineers who said engineers will abscond when confronted with a registration wall actually waited in line to give us their information.
I have spent 25 years working in marketing with engineers and developing and executing campaigns targeting highly technical audiences. During my 14 years at National Instruments, and as CEO at TREW Marketing today, I’ve worked with business leaders to market their services, products, and companies to highly technical, skeptical audiences.
And they are generating leads every day from engineers who are filling out forms on their websites and through other channels. These are embedded engineers designing WiFi into medical device products that are surgically placed inside the bodies of humans; test engineers evaluating armament systems on mil/aero platforms to ensure they work properly for the warfighter on mission; scientists looking for new, disruptive technologies for marine fossil fuel exploration to lower costs and improve our energy resources.
Engineers will fill out lead forms. Day in and day out, it’s happening at big companies and very small ones alike.
These are real engineers, real scientists, solving real problems, and seeking real information to help them succeed. It’s about trust. Your customers are solving really big problems, and they need serious information that is accurate, technical, and trustworthy.
Why? They do it willingly when they perceive information is highly valuable, current, and accurate, and they develop trust. With the combination of established trust and a perception that the information you are providing is of high value, they will share their information to get yours. And they will expect that the trust they have placed in you with their information will be treated with respect.
So, the next time someone tells you engineers won’t fill out a lead form, remind them, sometimes even really smart, well-intentioned people will say one thing, but do another… when there is trust and perceived value.
What's your take on filling out lead forms? Do you have a good, bad, or funny experience to share? Please comment below -- I'd love to hear your story.
— Rebecca Geier is CEO and Co-Founder of TREW Marketing based in Austin, Texas. With over 20 years of global marketing experience primarily in the B2B science, engineering, and technology fields. She is passionate about creating marketing that engineers love, and teaching others how it can be done. When she is not working with TREW clients in the embedded, test, control, and life sciences fields, Rebecca regularly speaks on the topic, and has written and co-authored many blog posts, articles, and e-books, including TREW’s popular Smart Marketing for Engineers, covering topics such as website design, lead generation, and product launches.