How the Trade Media is Adjusting to the “New Normal” of COVID-19: A Conversation with CFE Media

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CFE Media and Technology has provided engineers in manufacturing, commercial and industrial buildings and manufacturing control systems with the knowledge they need to improve their operational efficiency for the past 10 years. The company’s publishing brands include Consulting-Specifying Engineer, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering and Oil and Gas Engineering.

We spoke with Matt Waddell, vice president of sales at CFE Media and Technology, who oversees the entire sales organization and ensures CFE provides its marketing partners with direct access to targeted engineers, market intelligence and best practices to accomplish their marketing goals.

“We know that our engineering audience will remember those that have helped them during this difficult time, whether it was creating education or providing a free service,” said Waddell. “And, when companies find a way to help out, they definitely endear themselves to our audience.”

To address the changes that have occurred in the marketplace, not only with its subscribers, but also with its advertiser partners, CFE made several changes and created several new digital and virtual communication products.

Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic started, CFE launched a weekly e-newsletter titled, “COVID-19 Engineering Alert.” The e-newsletter was created in four versions, targeted with specific content to CFE’s four engineering markets, consulting specifying, control, plant and oil and gas. The newsletter provides engineers with up-to-date information about how this global pandemic is impacting the engineering community.

As more and more industry trade shows are cancelled or postponed, CFE found additional ways to keep its engineering audience up-to-date and allow its clients the opportunity to showcase their products.

CFE created its Virtual Booth Visit as a way for manufacturers to showcase their products to targeted engineering audiences, despite the cancellations of these trade shows and other events. The Virtual Booth Visit is hosted online and is available for engineers to access on demand. It includes a 15-minute product overview presentation, a 5-minute demonstration video for the product and options for the viewers to download spec sheets or contact the product manager directly.

“If you were planning on launching new products or product updates at a show, we’ve got a virtual event platform solution,” said Waddell. “Our partners aren’t going to shows, so they likely have some budget to work with to find alternate methods to get the word out to their audiences without having the big party and the booth expo.”

Regarding live events, CFE holds its annual Marketing to Engineers® educational seminar for its marketing partners. The seminar features industry experts presenting tips for successful integrated marketing campaigns and the latest marketing trends relevant to the engineering community.

“In the past, we’ve always held our Marketing to Engineers event live and in person,” said Waddell. “Unfortunately, this year we had to change it to a virtual live event. Now, more than ever, this event is extremely important because there are limited ways to communicate with engineers.”

CFE also recently launched CFE Edu to provide continuing education to engineering professionals. Whether enrolled students need a refresher course on a particular topic or need to know the latest issues going on in the engineering industry, CFE Edu offers courses that touch on various topics. CFE’s new Virtual Training Week, which will be held October 5-9, 2020, is an additional way to further educate engineer subscribers and offer CEU and PDH accreditation at the same time.

“We’re not letting COVID stop us,” declared Waddell. “We remain positive. And, we continue to keep the ideas coming, we keep learning how engineers are consuming content and we keep putting out the best vehicles to proactively help engineers during this time.”


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