Why Do Engineers Hate Marketing?

marketing to engineersIn marketing we are taught to sell the “sizzle” – not the steak. Works great when you are selling to ordinary mortals – people who have souls and emotions. That excludes Engineers of course. Being an Engineer myself, I can certainly relate to this and hopefully I can be excused for poking some fun at my own profession.

Engineers don’t care if Kentucky Fried Chicken is ‘finger lickin’ good.’ What they see is dead chicken parts coated in herbs, spices and flour and then fried in 350 degree oil until the skin is crispy.

Spot on! I loved that quote from an article in Marketing Sherpa – unfortunately you have to sign up for their service to read the full article (although they do offer a 7 day free trial). And of course that sort of marketing approach won’t work for Engineers – but worth the effort if you want to sell stuff to them.

Here are some of the reasons that traditional marketing (and also the more aggressive forms of direct marketing) usually fall on deaf ears when marketing to Engineers:

  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!)
  5. Engineers don’t buy on emotion
  6. Engineers won’t read direct mail (to them it is junk)
  7. Engineers despise telemarketing (even more than you do!)
  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)

However, if you do want to market to Engineers (or any technology professional for that matter) I have some powerful tactics for you. The clue was in Point 4 above.

  1. Grab a meaningful domain name that technically describes the product i.e www.RotaryWidget.com. Try to make it something that Engineers would be searching for rather than your company or brand name
  2. Create a “WordPress” blog on this domain. Why WordPress? – because it ranks well on Google.
  3. Post to your blog regularly so that you eventually become an “authority” site on your subject
  4. Use lots of bullet points on your blog – state the facts, the specifications etc
  5. Do not be afraid to use jargon – particularly if it is well known in the profession
  6. Write a “white paper” on the subject
  7. Have a strong “call to action” at the end of the document
  8. Give them good reasons to subscribe to your blog or service and “earn the right” to stay in communication via a good Autoresponder service.
  9. Always deliver value and they will keep coming back

You can get a lot more tips in How to Use the Internet as a Sales Weapon but the above 10 points will get you started.

Just remember, if marketing to Engineers were easy everyone would be doing it. And since they are not, you could finish up with a niche all to yourself.

Finally…good luck – you are going to need it.


  1. says

    If you want to sell to engineers, scientists, techies you need to know your stuf; while you are talking, their #1 thought is, where is the flaw?

    But they do have emotion, show them a neat or novel technique, product. process or formula which they can play with and they are enthusiastic.

    Present your offer as the low-risk choice; engineers are risk-averse.

    Permit them plenty of decision time, if pressured, they will take the safe option – do nothing.

    Show them how to make a positive case to the other parties involved in the decision. Their technical input is probably only one of the buying criteria, ROI is will be another, but is one that the engineer is less concerned about personally.

    Look at my book ‘Selling for Engineers’ for more tips like this.

  2. admin says

    Hi Chris. I totally agree. Engineers (like everyone else) do buy on emotion – although they probably would not admit this. However, I would argue that, in the case of Engineers, logic does stand a pretty good chance of overriding the emotion.

  3. David says

    I am an engineering student and I loathe marketers. The comments on this blog post give me all the reason to maintain this attitude. Your discussion of deceiving, manipulating, or flattering a particular group of people into buying a product is abhorrent. NO ONE likes being deceived. Engineers/Scientists just tend to be less tolerant of bullshit and being treated like a fool than the general population. You don’t have to lie. Just give customers the specs on your product

    • Aidan says

      David, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that you should lie or deceive in order to sell to Engineers (or anyone else for that matter) – quite the reverse. But thanks for your comment. Good luck with your studies.

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