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Part 1: Connecting with Engineers Online -Insights & Advice from Marketing & Communications Leaders

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Do you market to or communicate with engineers? Me too, and I have for 15 years now in various PR and editorial roles, including here at Gladius, where communicating with manufacturing and engineering stakeholders is just one of our specialties. So, I had heard about and worked with CFE Media and Technology before. But this year was the first time I attended the annual CFE Media and Technology Marketing to Engineers event, and I doubt it’ll be my last.


The event lineup featured five passionate industry thought leaders, a panel of three rockstar marcom professionals, and a panel of three highly experienced engineers — all of whom shared a wealth of insightful and actionable information. A comprehensive account would result in a painfully lengthy scroll that even the most zealous marcom professionals would click away from before completing. But the insights I gained are far too advantageous to keep to myself. So, I’ve drafted a two-part summary that shares some key takeaways from a few of my favorite presenters, along with embedded links to their LinkedIn profiles so you can follow them for more valuable insights and advice.


Jeff Winter, the Senior Director of Industry Strategy – Manufacturing at Hitachi Solutions America and a premier thought leader on industry 4.0 and IoT technologies, discussed personal branding and thought leadership in the context of LinkedIn. Key takeaways from his presentation include:


LinkedIn features 65 million decision-makers and is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter.

  • 73% of professionals trust LinkedIn for information.

  • 96% of executives say that LinkedIn is their preferred content source.


To build your brand on LinkedIn:

  • Make your tagline about your subject matter expertise vs. your job title.

  • List impact statements vs. job responsibilities.

  • Comment on the posts of other influencers in your subject area, including CEOs in your sphere, since all their employees follow them and can all see your comment.

  • Post often. A good mix is 80% informative posts relevant to brand topics (comprised of 80% new posts + 20% reposts, half of which should be original and half of which can be shared) + 20% personal posts. Asking a question is a very practical post.

  • Build your network via connections and messages.


To build your corporate brand on LinkedIn:

  • Build a culture of thought leadership in the company. Don’t limit your selections to the most intelligent, most experienced people. Pick the people who love to share what they do, like the topic, and are good at storytelling — even if they’re fresh out of college — and give them the guidance and tools to succeed. Then encourage employees to like, comment on, and share these posts.

    • Jake Hall, the Manufacturing Millennial, who also presented at the Marketing to Engineers event, said that people are interested in people, so company posts are likely to get more engagement on personal pages than on the company page. Do both.

  • Leverage the personalities and unique skills, experience, and opinions of your thought leaders. Thought leadership is often too company-, product-, and service-centric, and while you can and should include that info, people relate to people.

    • Jake also advised companies to promote the culture and the people behind their products and how they bring their products to market instead of just promoting their products.


Thought Leadership Best Practices:

  • Be authentic. Engage with others. Stay curious. Stay focused. Find your style.

  • In a 2020 thought leadership report by Orbit Media and Mantis Research,

    • 70% of respondents said that brands are as capable of being thought leaders as individuals.

    • 54% of decision-makers and 48% of the C-Suite said they spend more than one hour a week reading thought leadership content.

    • 52% said they use thought leadership to understand best practices.

    • 47% said they engage with 3–5 pieces of content before talking to a salesperson.

    • 71% of decision-makers said that less than half of the thought leadership they consume gives them valuable insights. (But they’re not talking about my and my colleagues’ content. So, if you want to outperform your competition, holler.)

    • 63% said that they steer away from more generic thought leadership content. (We see it all the time, but we don’t develop it, and if we’re asked to, we’ll pitch a new, more effective angle informed by our unique industry experience.)

    • 65% of buyers said that thought leadership had significantly changed their perception of a company for the better. (Hey, they’re finally talking about us!)

    • 64% of buyers said that an organization’s thought leadership content is a more trustworthy basis for assessing its capabilities and competencies than its marketing materials and product sheets. (Absolutely! This is why thought leadership is one of our specialties.)

    • 63% of buyers said that thought leadership proves that an organization genuinely understands or can solve your challenges.

    • 71% said that educational content counts as thought leadership.

Jeff's combination of real-world experience and research data gave me some great ideas for revising my LinkedIn page, increasing my engagement on the platform, and advising clients about thought leadership content development and promotion, and I hope you found it helpful too.


If you think your organization could benefit from enacting this advice or achieving other marketing communications goals, please reach out for a free initial consultation.

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