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The Marketing shift: Targeting technical prospects in Manufacturing and Engineering

13/04/18 David Collins Business/Customer Development Manager

According to’s report: Budget Trends in Industrial & Technology Marketing, 2018 is a breakthrough year for marketing budgets. 2018 has the highest levels of growth (45%) and the lowest reported levels of shrinking budgets (4%), of any of the last five years.

Data published by Forrester Group also suggested that the annual digital marketing budget will increase by 10% in 2018 and will represent 33% of original equipment (OEM) manufacturing company's total marketing spend. Overall marketing spend for all channels is expected to increase by approximately 5%.

The report looks at how marketers are targeting technical prospects in manufacturing, software, electronics and engineering. Major findings from the report included:

  • For the first time ever, content creation stands alone at the top of the list of challenges facing marketers.
  • Marketers are being evaluated on more metrics than in any previous year, but sales leads remain the most popular measure.
  • Video has arrived in the engineering and technology marketing world – it is consuming the most budget and saw the highest net growth in investment amongst marketing tactics.
  • Marketers have clued into the fact that content distribution is equally as important as content creation, investing close to 1:1 on these activities.
  • The ability to gain further market share through investing in online forums, seminars and online product demonstrations. 

To give greater context to the findings, we spoke with David Collins, Redline’s Customer Development Manager. David organises support and recruitment in a variety of business sectors including Electronic Components, Instrumentation, Broadcast, Automation and Telecoms for the UK and mainland Europe.

‘If you take the electronics component industry as a barometer of the health of the UK high-tech industry we have seen from a variety of forecasts such as the Manufacturers’ authorised distributor (afdec) group prediction that the UK & Ireland electronic component market will grow in the range 6.5%-to-10.5% in 2018, achieving a mid-point of 8.5%.

Market analyst predicted that 2017 would finish at the higher end of expectations and though 2018 is forecasted to slow, industry groups are already seeing a period of sustained ‘quarter-on-quarter growth something the industry has not seen since the 1990s, and the growth experienced over the last six quarters is the longest period of sustained growth since 2000”. The change in electronics markets has enabled more competitive pricing of manufactured goods in export markets and UK companies have been able to fully participate in that change.”

As electronic systems continue to expand into ever more areas of daily life global investment into these areas has rapidly increased: “UK companies find themselves in an ideal position to capitalise on the opportunities presented. With ever growing sales budgets and the constant consolidation of the market via acquisition and merger marketing has been displacing sales as a way to win new customers and generate more revenue. Digital marketing has been a proven winner. Marketing, once a black box, is now much more capable of demonstrating its ability to drive revenue. As such, we are likely to see marketing investment continue to grow over the next few years until such time that the ROI plateaus.

For example, we have noticed a shift in thinking the past few years. Those traditional B2B lead generation processes are less effective, more costly and time consuming, and the sales teams continue to complain about how their companies have a poor online presence. They have limited electronic media to share, and their website (if they have one) is outdated and generates zero leads.

Marketers in manufacturing reported the highest levels of growth, 55% of manufacturing / OEM businesses demonstrated that they would have more budget moving forward. Just a few years ago many manufacturers had websites that were out dated which did not offer a clear way to engage visitors nor nurture them, and they lagged in content marketing. Now in 2018, manufacturing marketers are rapidly catching up.

Software marketing budgets are growing more slowly with only 33% of all software companies reporting rising budgets. Software companies were among the first to invest more in digital marketing. These more mature organisations are reporting slower growth compared to organisations who are only now embracing newer marketing tactics.

We have seen a shift in manufacturing/oem marketing whereby the more traditional product-centric marketing has become more customer-centric with the use of content marketing. Also, engineering companies are becoming proactive marketers due to the scope of their businesses having more of a global audience.

As industrial content marketing has matured, manufacturers and engineering companies have seen its tangible and lasting benefits. They are more willing to allocate a bigger share of their marketing budget to content marketing. Accurately measuring Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) and overcoming the challenges of improper attribution will require more investments in marketing technology. Inaccurately throwing more money at marketing is not going to solve the problem.

Engineering and high-tech companies must allocate their spend carefully between various marketing channels, tactics and more importantly have the skilled people to execute and manage their marketing program efficiently. It all starts with spending enough time up front to come up with a plan that aligns well with the businesses sales process.

Redline Group has over 35 years’ experience in technical sales and marketing recruitment. By combining this understanding in a knowledge-led approach with our excellent technical sector connections, an extensive database and search techniques, we quickly and accurately identify the most talented candidates, screen them for suitability and recommend only the best.

For more information on Redline’s current Technical Sales & Marketing jobs click here or Marketing & Product Management jobs. Alternatively, you can contact David Collins on 01582 450054 or email