Aspencore’s annual Supplier Interface Study is an important piece of research that provides insight into what drives the decisions their readers and subscribers – i.e. the electronics design industry. The results, as always, provide some great insights for marketing professionals in the electronics industry, and as an agency that believes in using research to make data-driven decisions, we’ve been analyzing the numbers.

Websites are more important than ever, with more respondents using almost every form of online content than last year (although last year did see some decrease in interest about some forms of content). As usual (and this really shouldn’t be a surprise), the data sheets, followed by application notes are the type of information accessed most often. There are, however, some interesting findings. This year, circuit block diagrams were marginally more popular than reference designs, perhaps suggesting that as components continue to get more complex, it’s the context in which they are used that matters, rather than the nitty-gritty of how to actually deploy them.

Some of the less popular items were a little surprising. There wasn’t much interest in market analysis, with over 90% saying they don’t access this information on electronic engineering websites very often. Webinars and virtual events also ranked towards the bottom. As nine out of 10 engineers are not frequently accessing webinars, it suggests this lead generation tactic of choice has an Achilles heel due to its limited reach across the engineering population.

SI_Info_Willing_To_GiveSo if webinars aren’t the solution, what is the content that will persuade engineers to give up their contact details? The Supplier Interface Study highlights several possibilities. Application notes were most likely generate a form-fill, with 40% of respondents saying they would register, while 38% said they’d give up details for data sheets. With most application notes and data sheets freely available without registration, perhaps it’s time for a re-think, although marketers need to be careful, particularly with data sheets, as they will be excluding 60% of the potential customers if they do require registration for this content.

Perhaps most interesting was the inclusion of eBooks. Although eBooks are widely used lead generation tools in many industries, electronics has tended to focus on application notes and white papers. Perhaps that’s the wrong approach, and we should be putting more effort into this form of content: more engineers would register to get an eBook than would do so to gain access to online design tools, view circuit diagrams, read a white paper, receive a newsletter or access a forum. [aside: Napier has been generation eBooks for clients for years, and they have proved to be amazing lead generation tools, so we certainly believe the survey findings].

There is some really good news: the percentage of respondents who say they won’t provide their contact details for anything has fallen sharply this year, from 25%, to 15%. So keep working on those lead generation and content marketing campaigns: they should be generating more form-fills than ever!

Finally there was one strange result. Less than 45% of the respondents would provide contact details in exchange for samples. We assume this means that the majority of engineers prefer to buy samples, rather than receiving them for free: something that will surprise everyone who has ever dealt with an engineer who is demanding samples free-of-charge. If not, we’re struggling to work out how suppliers know where to send the samples!

To get a full copy of the report, contact Steve Cholas, global sales director at Aspencore.