Something that has been a hot topic recently at my engineering society has been MARKETING. I’ve posted before about the fact that engineers are particularly bad at this, but I think its worth mentioning again. A common misconception made by engineers is that an idea itself being really good should be reason enough for others to buy into it. We completely fail to understand why the way we package that idea can be sometimes be even more important than the information itself…
Just take a look at this website:
That was ASME’s website a year ago. Now, if you had no idea about who or what ASME was all about, what would your impression of the society be? Having been introduced to ASME about a year ago, being the engineer I am, I decided to go check it out online. What I found was an un-navigatable mess of data and text that gave me no clear indication of what they actually did! And boy, was it ugly!
(Note: if anyone from ASME is reading this and think I’m being harsh-don’t hate, you know I’m right!)
Now I know a lot of engineers out there are sitting there saying, ‘Hey now, whats the matter if its unattractive? Its meant to communicate information, and thats what it does-all the information is there!” But you have to also realise that engineers are naturally programmed to be adverse to marketing. Just type in Engineers and Marketing in Google and see what pops up! This blog post put it particularly well:
I just love the writer’s ten reason’s engineers don’t respond to regular marketing ploys.
1.Engineers just want the facts
2.Engineers are trained to question the “benefits” that you present
3.Engineers hate being marketed or sold to
4.Engineers like to find you through their own research (this should be a clue for marketers!) This is an incredibly interesting point. And a major difference between engineers and plant managers, I’ve noticed.
5.Engineers don’t buy on emotion Ok, I admit. Books and shoes are my one guilty weakness! I just cant help myself at a book sale…but I suppose I don’t buy because of marketing. I buy because I just HAVE to have them!!
6.Engineers won’t read direct mail (to them it is junk)
7.Engineers despise telemarketing (even more than you do!) You would not believe how true this is!!!
8.Engineers hate hyped up ad copy (even though it works on the masses)
9.Engineers don’t respond to flashy websites – bells and whistles just annoy them
10.Engineers have a sense of humor (but it does not overlap well with the human race)
Which reminds me, I think it may be time for another Engineer Joke of the Week!
Basically, we’re trained to quickly weade through a lot of information and extract only what is absolutely necessary. We dont see that outside technical and academic engineers circles-the real world-where selling your product/ service/ idea is the only way to succeed, the stuff that we’re programmed to see as unimportant, is actually VERY important. “In marketing we are taught to sell the ‘sizzle’-not the steak. Its what consumers respond to, its how we grab and hold their attention!
I can attest to this. The Engineer-Chic blog used to be green and had random articles that had no real theme. Once I realise who my target audience was and formed an ‘image’ suited to that, my readership increased…a lot!
Now, just take a look at ASME’s new website:
And? What do you think now about the society? Would you believe now that this is the largest mechanical engineering society in the world? With 120, 000 members in 150 countries worldwide?
Its clean, easy to navigate and attractive without being unnecessarily flashy or fancy. Its epitomises functionality without being boring. I have to say, I love it. Wll done ASME!
(See-I wasn’t being that harsh after all-right?)
Take a look at another website I absolutely love. Notice how well-suited the colour-scheme is, and the use of emotive imagery and wording. What we don’t realise is the effect all of this has on us without us even realising it!
This is one area that WOMEN are naturally very strong in. Even us engineering ladies have an eye for design, colour and form. But more on this in my next post *wink*!