Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Semicon/EDA industry needs to figure out how to use the social media!

At the fag end of day 1 of CDNLive India 2010, I had the opportunity to interact with John Bruggeman, CMO, Cadence Design Systems and Rahul Arya, director, marketing and technology sales, Cadence Design Systems (I) Pvt Ltd.A week ago, I’d written a post: Is social media really helping semicon/VLSI firms? Of course, there was a session organized by EDA Consortium (EDAC), titled: Does Social Media Reach the Engineers You Want or Waste Your Time?

Having earlier had a chat with Karen Bartleson, a panelist at the EDAC event, I thought it best to get John’s views on some of the issues, since the EDAC panel had representation from Cadence (it wasn’t John) as well!

Lot more needs to be done on social sites
First, it is well known that the adoption of social media is at its infancy in the semicon.VLSI industry. In some other industries, the adoption is much faster. Why has it been this way, so far?

Bruggeman said: “We have an ageing population in our design community, more so than the other technology industries. So, we have been slower in adopting. The pickup on Twiter has been slow.

“We need to do whatever we can do to accelerate. We have heavily invested in bloggers and are also into driving social media. Cadence has two bloggers on staff. The blogs are promising. However, in some of the social sites, a lot more needs to be done.” That’s quite honest!

Are you building communities?
So, how are semicon/VLSI firms using the social media to build communities? Are you building or attempting to build communities? What is that particular community doing?

He added: “We need to figure out how, as an industry, should we use social media. How do you get a community of users to engage in an open dialog? We haven’t got anywhere near at developing a community. We also have to expand beyond blogging.”

Is the social media really helping reach out to design engineers? Are companies hiring via social media sites?

According to Bruggeman, every recruiter of note is now involved in LinkedIn. “Hirings are happening there. Design engineers are also going there to get hired, and not merely for free exchange of information. This is where engineers can talk to engineers,” he noted. “However, it will be interesting to see whether a commuity can be developed. So far, social media has managed to reach out to design engineers only a little bit.”

Social media managers
What about the social media managers themselves? What are companies doing about that?

Bruggeman added that Cadence has hired a manager who is ‘engrained’ into the social media. ”Social media is fascinating. We need younger guys to handle social media.There have to be new ideas and new thoughts.”

Why so many press releases?
Now, having been a tech journalist all my life, I know very well that companies bombard folks like us with press releases!

Are such companies really able to achieve whatever they have set out to achieve? Is it the quality or quantity of coverage? Why are press releases also appearing as links on social media?

Bruggeman said: “EDA companies continue to follow traditional, old school marketing. Lsst year, we (Cadence) had 325 press releases. This year, in H1, we had 44. We are starting to identify that certain marketing things should be used to do certain marketing things! As an industry we under appreciate the value of marketing.”

There you have it! Why is marketing still under appreciated? Semicon/VLSI/EDA is really a tough industry. However, if you make the effort to build a community, they will come! Here, some level of marketing is definitely in order, to make that happen.

“We use the social media to offload all of the things that used to be press releases. We track all coverage. Otherwise, we do seven different kinds of press releases,” he continued.

Get others (bloggers, etc.) to blow your trumpet!
Finally, what about blogs themselves? Why are corporate blogs still not viewed with some trust? What if others blogged for you?

Bruggeman agreed: “Why don’t we allow the customer, or the product manager, or someone else to blog? Customers can ask questions and get answers! We made a major shift. We are creating an environment that’s supportive and open for engineers to share.

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