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Bert22306
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Lead forms
Bert22306   7/2/2014 5:27:38 PM
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Dunno. If someone asked me whether I ever signed lead forms, I wouldn't even know what they were asking. So if I wasn't given the opportunity to ask what this is, hard to say how I'd respond. Were the engineers in the audience given the option to not know, of was this merely a yes/no question?

Maybe it's just me, but could it be that "lead form" is marketing lingo?

I've been to countless conferences or symposiums where people are offered more information on some product or other, if they leave their business card. Hard to believe there's anything odd about this?

betajet
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Re: Lead forms
betajet   7/2/2014 8:04:03 PM
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Aren't lead forms prohibited by RoHS?  :-)

David Ashton
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Re: Lead forms
David Ashton   7/2/2014 8:11:30 PM
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That went down like a lead balloon :-)

David Ashton
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Lead forms
David Ashton   7/2/2014 6:15:35 PM
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I occasionally think I'll enter a competition and the form (on the net or on paper) wants all your personal info down to your grandmother's maiden name.  At this point I hit cancel or use the waste basket.

But registering and signing up to newletters from reputable companies like semi manufacturers (or EET) is a different thing - you get some good info out of it, and they will normally let you easily unsubscribe or change your preferences.  I've never been wary of doing this.

elizabethsimon
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Re: Lead forms
elizabethsimon   7/2/2014 7:30:29 PM
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I'm with you, there's certain information that I generally don't give out but I don't have a problem registering at a repuitable company. Of course, I've got a special email address that I use for that so all the adverts don't clutter my regular inbox. I also don't give out my cell phone number except to people I really want to talk to. Fortunately I still have a landline phone number that I can give out (not that I 'll  answer the phone unless it's my mom)

The biggest problem with all these registrations is that you have to have a different password for each one and have to remember what was used for each one. The other problem is remembering that I already registered if I haven't visited the site in a while.

 

betajet
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Re: Lead forms
betajet   7/2/2014 8:07:21 PM
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Elizabeth wrote: I also don't give out my cell phone number except to people I really want to talk to.  Fortunately I still have a landline phone number that I can give out (not that I'll  answer the phone unless it's my mom).

So, should we to conclude from this that you didn't give your cell phone number to your mom?  :-)

elizabethsimon
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CEO
Re: Lead forms
elizabethsimon   7/3/2014 11:27:57 AM
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Mom has unfortunately gotten to the point where she has trouble remembering things (like how to program her speed dial). The landline phone is the one that's already on her speed dial so that's the one she calls. My brother and sister both have my cell phone number a well as my landline. I've been known to forget to turn my cell phone on for days so it's not always a reliable way to get ahold of me....

David Ashton
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Re: Lead forms
David Ashton   7/2/2014 8:18:12 PM
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@Elizabeth...passwords.....I tend to use a basic one for things like info sites (manufacturers etc) that hackers would not want to impersonate you on.   For sites where I want to be more secure I use the same password with either a date-related suffix (if it has to or should be changed regularly) or else something related to the site as a suffix.  Tha way I don't have tooo much to remember, and if I get into something where my basic password does not work, I can usually guess at what I used.

Probably not the most secure way to do things, but it has worked most of the time.  My email account did get hacked a few years ago, since then I converted that password to one of the "change regularly" schemes. 

I did get tripped up recently, I changed my date-related suffix to something including a $ character, but my bank won't accept $ characters.   GRRRRRR....

elizabethsimon
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Re: Lead forms
elizabethsimon   7/3/2014 12:00:17 PM
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@David I did get tripped up recently, I changed my date-related suffix to something including a $ character, but my bank won't accept $ characters.   GRRRRRR....

I hate when that kind of thing happens and it seems that different sites have different rules so it's very hard to come up with a universal scheme. I finally gave up and use Keepass to keep track of the oddball passwords. Now I just need to remember one password that's completely different from all the others and keep backup copies fo the data file on multiple computers.. Still not an ideal solution though.

 

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Lead forms
MeasurementBlues   7/7/2014 11:30:18 AM
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@David,

Yes simple passwords for things you care about, long passwords with all kinds of characters for important things.

Bert22306
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CEO
Re: Lead forms
Bert22306   7/2/2014 8:24:02 PM
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I'm also with you on the online forms, David. When they get too long, I cancel out.

For the most part, if "lead forms" are forms where you're meant to sign up for an everlasting stream of updates from some particular vendor, I'd almost certainly not do so. If it's just a one time thing, that's different.

For the long term, I'd much rather go search out the information myself. It would be surprising to me if people in general, never mind engineers, didn't feel the same way.

TonyTib
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CEO
It's two different areas
TonyTib   7/2/2014 8:03:42 PM
I, and many other designers, do not like having to register to do basic product research like download data sheets and 3D models.  At this stage, my interest might be very tenuous (something I might use if the right requirements arise) or exploratory (I'm considering a whole bunch of different options), and I don't want to be bothered by any sales dudes.


Also, I'm much less likely to download a "white paper" if it requires registration (unless I'm very interested) - and I'm a bit of a cynic about all that stuff in general.

There's also a difference between handing someone a person card in person, and signing up for a login -- and then having to remember that darned login everytime you need info, GRRR!!!

technos
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Rookie
Re: It's two different areas
technos   7/3/2014 7:57:42 AM
This is my point exactly. I much rather not jerk some salesman around about their product because I happen to want to read their datasheet. If your datasheet or whitepaper requires that I have to fill in multiple fields, the chances are excellent that I will walk away. As I most likely do not need their product immediately.

But on the other hand, if I can download a datasheet and save it to my hard drive, it is there for when I really do need to consider your product, and the chances are good that I might would use uit.

So, in my case, the lead forms prevent sales, while quick access to the data sheets is just the opposite.

j_b_
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Manager
Re: It's two different areas
j_b_   7/3/2014 7:07:21 PM
Totally agree. Whenever I hit a form instead of direct access to the information I go through a certain process ... 1. I imediately dislike the company for wasting my lifetime ... 2. I rethink my need for the access ... if I can make myself believe that I can do without it I leave, even if reluctant ... 3. I fill in bulls*** information ... wrong info as much as possible while leaving everything blank that doesn't require an entry ... for the eMail I use mailinator or substitute ... when that fails I may invest the time to hassle the webmaster or seek another way to waste the time of somebody at that company by complaining about the not-working dialog ... in the end I remember the company for all this - and I also remember nice companies which give information freely and ask nicely if I would like to volonteer some info about me. In that case I happen to put some info in which might help them, but not working contact info 'cause I don't need spam.

 

So now ... am I a bad person ? If I go into a shop and have a look at some TV sets and want to get some tech specs from a salesman ... what am I supposed to do if that guy says "Before I give you any info please let me have your conact details, job description and why you are in this town anyway" ? I believe that shopping may very well remain annonymous as it ever was. I'll fight the data-mining where ever I can as hard as I can.

matthew_mercury
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Re: It's two different areas
matthew_mercury   7/3/2014 9:25:11 PM
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Agree. When I am in need of some information but I hit a form instead of direct access, it gives me a bad impression of being forced. If it even blocks my access and tries to force me to fill it before access, I feel like being ransomed. If it is just like a banner in the webpage, it looks better. I may even click inside to take a look if it looks interesting. Just like some ads which allow one to skip, I normally take a look if I am not in a hurry. For some forms popping up prior to access, I normally visit other webpages.

I believe human beings like being given choices and they do favours to others when they are offered some favours.

Sheetal.Pandey
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Manager
Re: It's two different areas
Sheetal.Pandey   7/4/2014 2:08:46 AM
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I quite agree with the statement that engineers do not like giving too much of personal details. One reason can be they know very well how this personal information can be misused without taking permission. I personally think twice before giving any personal information. I remember once I was very active on social networkign site, linkedin, skype and writing on many websites, i was surprised one of my friend who is a techie showed me on his laptop that he could get my photo, my facebook profile, my office details my email id, people i tallk to and so on...there are so many apps available who can filter all these data from internet and get a compiled summary.

But then when technical companies ask for registration, its safe and its ok to give data, they wont misuse it or misplace it. Only thing is you keep getting newsletters...that's ok i guess :-)

anon9303122
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Freelancer
Re: It's two different areas
anon9303122   7/3/2014 11:53:47 AM
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I'm totally agree with you. I find it highly annoying to have to log in to get datasheets. I have chosen parts on the basis of how obnoxious or easy it was to research parts on-line. When you have to log in to get a datasheet so some marketer can track your interests, I start looking elesewhere. Are you listening TE Connectivity?

bk11
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Re: It's two different areas
bk11   7/3/2014 12:59:52 PM
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Some companies take it to extreme levels.  One test equipment company will call me on the phone within an hour after visiting their website for any reason, even if I just accidentally clicked on one of their ads!.  I avoid going to their site as best I can.

TE Connectivity
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Re: It's two different areas
TE Connectivity   7/8/2014 9:14:55 AM
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TE here, we're listening. Thanks for your feedback regarding our site. Generally, our documents are available without registering or signing in – simply click "no thanks". However, there are some products whose documents do have registration requirement around them. We're in the process of improving our site and we'd sure like to hear from you if you have more feedback for us.  Please contact us at brand@te.com. - ES

Frank Tu
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Why Sling Mud?
Frank Tu   7/2/2014 8:22:11 PM
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I am dismayed that articles like this are encouraged and the recent "Business for Engineers: Marketers Lie", that want to polarize engineers and marketers and act like one is better than the other.  Next maybe we can trash the bankers - and then the customers and consumers.  It's bad enough that we have to listen to Max tell us daily about his sprouts and other non-sense. 

Yes, you go to EELive and by signing up you apparently give every company that buys a booth or sends a speaker permission to send you sales material, good and bad.  This article seems to just want to say "ha, ha, we tricked you engineers into giving marketers your info by handing out business cards".

Why not stick to real electronics and business issues.  It's clear that EEtimes is just trying to whip up reader involvement with comments.  Stick to real information, real issues, fair comparisons, and real solutions.  Skip the tabloid garbage and get back to being a professional industry periodical. 

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Why Sling Mud?
MeasurementBlues   7/7/2014 11:40:11 AM
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@Frank,

Yes, you go to EELive and by signing up you apparently give every company that buys a booth or sends a speaker permission to send you sales material, good and bad.  This article seems to just want to say "ha, ha, we tricked you engineers into giving marketers your info by handing out business cards".

You think that's bad, try pre-registering as a member of the press. The press list goes to every PR person on the planet. Most of them don't bother to research what the editor does before e-mailing or even worse, calling.

I went to IMS (Microwave Symposium) last month. Now I cover test & measurement but I got plenty of requests for product meetings from non-T&M companies. I turned them all down but still had to take the time to tenderly reply. Sometimes, I don't register until I get there, just to avoid the PR barrage. The companies that I want to see already know me an I do make appointments with them. Some editors feel that they have to make every appointment. They book their entire day and have no time for technical sessions or even walking around the exhibit floor.

kfield
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Re: Why Sling Mud?
kfield   7/9/2014 4:25:25 PM
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@Frank Tu "Yes, you go to EELive and by signing up you apparently give every company that buys a booth or sends a speaker permission to send you sales material, good and bad.

I manage EE LIVE! and I can confirm that we do not give out attendee information other than badge scans to any companies that exhibit or speak at our events.

Thanks for sharing your perspectives on this type of content on EE Times - the audience for this blog is intended to be technical marketers, which are part of the EE Times community. "Whipping up" our engineering audience was not the intention here.

dougwithau
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Manager
Engineers are human!
dougwithau   7/3/2014 11:52:01 AM
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This topic has been well hashed out by the marketers of information products. The answer is simple, don't ask for too much information up front.

Anything more than and email and one check box is too much. Why do you need to know my five year project budjet, company size, income, and underwear size for a resistor datasheet?

Yes, some technical companies web sites are actively hostile, and that is a shame for them. The market will show that open, honest communication wins. That is why things like the Beaglebone are a success. There are, I am sure much better projects, boards and processors out there, but not as easy to get, so they don't get the design win.

Engineers are not special. We are actually human beings. If there is trust, based on you, the marketers, web site being informative and helpful, we will give up our email address. Is all this really so complicated someone in marketing can not figure it out?

rgeier
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Re: Engineers are human!
rgeier   7/3/2014 12:19:26 PM
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Thanks for the comment. The key for me in what you said is "The answer is simple, don't ask for too much information up front." There is an indirect correlation between number of required fields and completed forms. There's also great tools out there now in marketing automation software for smart forms, where the first form completed only asks a few quetions (first name, last name, email for example) but the next time the person comes back you ask company name, or product interest, for example. So you gather information over time as the person shows their interest in the content you're offering. 

pseudoid
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Manager
Re: Engineers are human (but are they 2 faced?)
pseudoid   7/3/2014 12:39:32 PM
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Hi, Rebecca Geier,

The title of your original post seems a bit like a flame against engineers but I may be mistaken.  At a minimum, I found the title to be somewhat misleading.

I may also be the odd engineer out (or not) by stating that I try to separate my personal life from my professional/career life.  As such, I try to reveal as little as possible about my personal vital stats, by nature.  This protectionism nature of mine (as an engineer) may rightfully bleed over to my professional life, hence my initial aversion to release such information when asked.  Regardless if a marketeer is asking it or a website is requiring credentials.

No:  My first name is not Pseudo and last name Id ;)

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Engineers are human!
MeasurementBlues   7/7/2014 10:45:40 AM
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Hi Rebecca,

I've heard from several people that they don't like the EET registration process, that it asks for too much if you just want to quickly register and chome in. Still, we get many new registrations every day. There will always be a few who don't want to give out information. Some use a separate e-mail address for signing up so they won't get e-mails at work where the inbox is open all day.

Having an easy unsubscribe not only helps get people to give info but it gets through spam filters. That's the frist thing spam filters look for. No unsubscribe link and you get blocked.

EDN.com doesn't ask for much info to get you started. You can add info later if you like.

 

AZskibum
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CEO
Re: Engineers are human!
AZskibum   7/3/2014 1:38:39 PM
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1 saves
"Anything more than and email and one check box is too much. Why do you need to know my five year project budjet, company size, income, and underwear size for a resistor datasheet?"

I have often asked myself that question when it comes to subscribing to online publications. It is in their best interest to increase legitimate subscriber numbers, so if an interested engineer is in the industry, why do they need to know the annual budget for products he or she recommends or specifies?

rgeier
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Thanks for the comments
rgeier   7/3/2014 12:27:44 PM
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This is a really good discussion - thanks all for the comments.

David, you said "But registering and signing up to newletters from reputable companies like semi manufacturers (or EET) is a different thing - you get some good info out of it, and they will normally let you easily unsubscribe or change your preferences.  I've never been wary of doing this." I think this is a really important point - you will "sign up" with companies who are reputable. Trust is the key - and it develops over time. Marketers who have their eye on this will succeed.

Tony said it a different way: "I'm much less likely to download a "white paper" if it requires registration (unless I'm very interested)". There they key is that the information that's being offered is perceived as valuable enough that you're willing to share your information. It's a give to get exchange.

Several also commented about being able to download datasheets for reference and not agreeing you should have to fill out a lead form for this type of information. I totally agree. What information marketers make "free and available" vs. what they require information from you in order to access is a gray area and an important one to tread carefully so that Technos said doesn't happen:"Lead forms prevent sales."

David, thanks also for the tips on coming up with password schemes that are secure but not so hard to remember.

 

David Ashton
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Re: Thanks for the comments
David Ashton   7/3/2014 8:36:33 PM
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@Rgeier I am sure you have lots of useful info about the psychology of engineers now!  But most people seem, like me, to be wary of companies that ask for a lot of info up front.  Your post about the marketing info tools that only ask for a small amount of info on first contact, then more as time goes on, was interesting, I will look out for that, though it is fair enough, if you visit the site a lot then they can find out more about your needs and wants.

A good thing for marketers to remember would be "If I was the customer, I'd be thinking about why the marketer would want this piece of information".    As another poster said, anything beyond name and email is not really necessary initially.  And compaines like EEtimes and (to a lesser extent) ZDnet have tools to let you change your own preferences as to what you receive from them.  This always gets my respect and cooperation - the company knows about me but I can stop it deluging me with pointless emails.

Thanks for an interesting post.

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Thanks for the comments
MeasurementBlues   7/8/2014 2:43:13 PM
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anything beyond name and email is not really necessary initially.

You can always give a fake e-mail of get up an address that you never look at, just to keep the junk out fo sight.

Duane Benson
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Blogger
The other side
Duane Benson   7/9/2014 6:10:05 PM
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In my professional life, I'm mostly on the marketing side of this equation. Outside of that, I build MCU things, I experiment with FPGAs, I code here and there, and I write about it. I hope that gives me perspective to be more helpful than invasive.

In my mind, marketing is primarily about understanding a potential customer's dialect so that I can better give information. I don't want to force information on anyone, and I don't want to mislead anyone. The better I understand the people I am marketing to, the better I can present information is such a way that they can make an informed decision.

The better I understand what they need, the better I can try to make my service cover those needs. That's the reasoning behind requests for demographic information. Some mareting folks go way overboard in the information they try and get.

I also think it's pretty important to share. I learn a tremendous amount from the prototype jobs we run through our shop. I take what I learn, make sure it's not identifiable or proprietary in any way, and write about it on our company blog, no strings attached, no registration required.

The quandary comes in when, in my zeal, I want to tell as many people as possible about what we do. I really believe that my company does something very valuable. If I didn't believe in it, I wouldn't be here. But, I also know that it's not valuable to everyone.

The marketing challenge is to get clear, accurate information to people that need it and want it, without wasting the time of anyone who doesn't need or want it.

I would say that a pretty good mantra for anyone in technical marketing is: "Don't waste anyone's time."



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