Premier Farnell’s online community site for electronics engineers, element14, is one of the distributor’s top sources of customer leads.

Feeding electronics engineers with plenty of information is paying off for electronics distributor Premier Farnell, whose social media site,, challenges and entertains as well as informs its technical audience.


We have 1.4 million followers in social channels.

Element14’s home-page today, for example, features content ranging from a detailed infographic on how to build a computerized machine on the Ultra96 development board, a video on how an engineer is rebuilding a better version of a 1980s-era Nintendo game-playing robot, and a series of contests that challenge engineers to design such things as autonomous vehicles and computer interfaces for physically handicapped people.

Dianne Kibbey

The community site also provides Premier Farnell, a unit of Avnet Inc., with one of its strongest source of customer leads, Dianne Kibbey, Premier Farnell’s global head and vice president of community and social media, said at last week’s B2B Next conference in Chicago. “We get 10-20% clickthrough” to our e-commerce site daily, she said. “It’s one of our top customer leads.”


Premier Farnell doesn’t charge for accessing element14, but requires visitors to register with their email address to access most content, Kibbey said.

The community site also provides important online real estate for Premier Farnell’s suppliers as its customers. “A lot of engineers and a lot of suppliers value it,” she said, adding: “Over 130 suppliers sponsor activities on the community. It’s an essential piece of our supplier marketing co-op.”

And with many electronics engineers frequenting social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, she added, element14 helps to generate extensive content that Premier Farnell distributes through these and other social sites. “We have 1.4 million followers in social channels,” she said.

Premier Farnell’s own community site gets its name from silicon, long used as a semiconductor in electronics and one of the most common nonmetallic elements in the earth’s crust. Since silicon is an element with the atomic number 14, it’s also referred to as Element 14.

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