To keep abreast of new developments within their field, civil engineers often join professional associations. Engineering is one of a handful of professions in which the majority of practitioners remain in the field for life, explains Michael Schoenbach of Edith Roman, who manages the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) file. As such, many civil engineers remain active in professional associations after retirement.
For marketers targeting the civil engineering market, direct mail is the vehicle of choice.
"Engineers are tactile people. It's a hands-on profession. They can hold direct mail in their hands, read it, file it or pass it on with notes to a colleague," says ASCE spokesperson David Rosenblum. He adds that it's not uncommon for ASCE to receive a membership application that is several years old. What's more, ASCE knows its members read through the materials it sends, he explains, because it has received responses with highlighted copy and proofreading or editing comments.
Electronic media also are gaining popularity with this tech-savvy market. ASCE is "seeing success in broadcast e-mail to its newer members, as well as a good return on lapsed members," Rosenblum notes. If someone's membership has expired, for example, he may receive an e-mail announcing the addition of content and resources relevant to his specialty as an incentive to renew.
Rosenblum advises direct marketers to keep their mail packages and e-mail messages simple: "Civil engineers are a practical lot, and don't care as much about bells and whistles. They want information."
Specialize and Drill Down
Because civil engineers design and supervise the construction of infrastructures, the lists and databases containing their names often are segmented by specialty, including structural, water resources, environmental, construction, transportation and geotechnical engineering.
Specialty selects, observes Schoenbach, are "important because often an offer doesn't work across the whole file."