Digital Transformation is a term and concept that has touched nearly every industry in the last 10 years, and manufacturing is no exception.
From research and development, supply chain and factory operations to marketing, sales, and service, manufacturing companies are unlocking incredible value as they leverage the power of technology to completely change the way they work and serve their customers.
Disruptive technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and machine learning get a lot of press and attention today. Yet marketers across the manufacturing sector have one of the most powerful digital transformation technologies right at their fingertips already:
Their company websites.
The Website as Customer Experience Cornerstone
Marketers have led the charge in digital transformation for several decades.
They were the earliest adopters of technologies like the web and email, bringing them into mainstream business practices, and creating large-scale changes that saved companies time and money. They made communicating and connecting with their customers easier than ever, too.
And that’s not just the case for B2C companies. Websites and digital communication have become absolutely irreplaceable for B2B companies—especially across the manufacturing sector—for both informing customers and differentiating their brands, products and services.
Today, the website is the cornerstone of any company’s digital footprint. The acceleration and proliferation of social media, interactive media and digital marketing have made it much more important for the website to be a “home base” for any company’s marketing efforts.
This is especially true for global and international companies. If you’re talking to businesses across the globe, your website becomes a central, unifying presence and an important touchpoint for their overall experience with your brand.
Investing in Digital Transformation With Your Website
Smart manufacturing companies keep their marketing teams as lean and efficient as their production lines or supply chains. That means only investing in digital transformation practices that can return on cost savings, time savings and ultimately the most important metric: customer value.
Here are a few ways to start using your website as a lever for digital transformation that maximizes your marketing effort and investment:
- Create A Center of Excellence: This helps to understand how and why it’s critical to evolve your website to meet the needs of your global business. Assembling a cross-functional team that includes technical experts, marketing experts and production experts ensures that your digital footprint is not just showcasing your brand, but delivering compelling value to your customers with every click.
- Design a Global Experience: Many companies offer great websites for their flagship markets, but international customers struggle to find what they need in a familiar language. Consider investing in localization of your website and its content, so you can get your global customers the valuable information they need, creating a personalized experience that keeps them engaged.
- Treat Your Website Like Business Intelligence: Data and analytics drive today’s most advanced businesses. Manufacturers are finding more and better information about how to optimize their supply chains and serve their customers simply through the inputs they have across the business, like sales, logistics and customer account insights. Your website is no exception. By understanding what content visitors search for, engage with and spend time consuming, you can understand what information they need most. This insight helps optimize your digital channels to become their go-to resource.
- Get a Speed Advantage: More than ever, manufacturers must consistently stay a step ahead of the competition. Creating a powerful and personalized digital experience can be a distinctive factor—from attracting talent, creating brand authority, and adapting market positioning in near real-time.
Because of its digital nature, websites are some of the most scalable, efficient ways to bring your company to market, both locally and globally.
But the benefits go beyond marketing in the manufacturing world.
Your sales teams will benefit from a more prominent, notable brand presence. Your HR teams will benefit with access to a broader pool of talent (who are increasingly digitally savvy, which only compounds the benefits over time). Your suppliers can build strong relationships with you online as well as off. And your research and development teams will have even more data at their fingertips to drive innovation and advancement.
It’s worth the investment to not only build a flagship website, but to build a comprehensive, technologically-advanced website that works for all of your global markets, creates a distinctive experience for your suppliers and customers, and can serve as the heart of your company’s digital transformation efforts.
About the Author
Craig Witt is the Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at MotionPoint, a company that solves the operational complexity and cost of website localization. He has 28 years’ experience in building, leading and scaling high performing Go-To-Market teams at global enterprises.
By Craig Witt, Executive Vice President: Global Sales, Marketing and Go-To-Market, MotionPoint