Monday, November 18, 2013

Start Thinking About How Your Clients Really Learn and View Information

Engineers and engineering consulting firms need to embrace the new reality of how people (especially future leaders and clients) consume and view information.  Provided below is a brief summary of this changing world in the context of college students (from a national survey for the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication):
  • Slightly more than 1/3 read a newspaper - down from 81.7% in 1994.
  • Three-quarters consumed news online and 2/3 read it on a mobile device.
  • More than half read at least one blog.
  • Nine of 10 checked at least one social-networking site.
  • About 75% used video-sharing sites.
This might be a stretch, but Gen Xers and millennials appear to follow the news (any news) about half as much as your current baby boom client base.  When they do consume information, they are probably twice as likely to consume it on a smartphone or tablet.

The journalism professions seem to have gotten the message (some more slowly than others) that in the age of disruptive technology, you either continually retool or die.  It isn't just about the latest bells and whistles of the digital age.  Content and context still matter - but the quality of the content and context are being measured more on screens and less with paper and ink.  Failure for engineers to retool runs the risk of information disconnect with a changing public and future client base.

Black & Veatch released a national study they completed on the natural gas industry.  This is a short video that introduces the written report.  The marketing of ideas via the printed word is not dead for B&V - it is just different.  It is still about the quality of our ideas, just in the form of video and sound.

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