SupplyFrame is a search engine for the global electronic components market, providing engineers information such as datasheets, applications, reference designs, educational videos and evaluation kits. BtoB recently spoke with Jeff Curie, VP-marketing, about industry trends and best practices for reaching this audience.
BtoB: What changes have you seen in this market in the past year?
Curie: In the last 12 months, we've seen huge changes. We've seen that marketers in the electronics industry have adapted to their lean budgets, and smaller staffs and the recognition that media habits of engineers have fundamentally changed. Everyone's back to business now. They're looking for media that's easy to execute and that produces results that matter upstairs on mahogany row. They're no longer doing fluff. They don't have the resources to do it, so they're sticking to things that are fast and easy and produce results. The other thing we're seeing is that marketers are becoming much savvier—especially the leading companies—in using their own Web sites. They're really working hard on their sites to measure conversions that are precursors to revenue. So the leaders understand now that the Web site is a marketing and sales funnel, and they can set it up to measure the conversions. They've mapped the conversions to different business values they equate to; they've set up their analytics systems and now are really driving their campaigns and business around filling that pipeline and measuring it. ... They're getting a lot smarter really very quickly.
BtoB: What should marketers keep in mind as they target electronics engineers?
Curie: [They should focus on] easy-to-execute advertising that they can measure. If you break that statement down, [that means asking]: “How much does it cost me to do this? How much does it cost me to change if it's not working right? What should I be measuring, and how do I do that?” And that's not a small point; a lot of companies really struggle with the measurement side of things. They do some simple stuff, and they get results that they can't really explain to their executive teams. Was this money well spent? What did I get for it? Their Web sites are the hub of where this is happening. Engineers trust the data that's on a manufacturer's Web site; so manufacturers need to get more people to their site, and they need to understand what those visitors did on their site. Did they move measurably toward a sale—even though that might be six months or a year out? Did [the marketer] help this person make a decision, and can they prove it? —M.E.M.