5 Steps to Digital Maturity for Manufacturers

Manufacturers today realise that Customer Experience has to be their differentiation – it is no longer valid to rely on product-centric marketing. Clients and consumers want a solution, and a great experience along the way – and this applies to their digital interactions with your business.

Manufacturers produce a huge range of products from industrial machinery to cosmetics, food, drink, clothing, cars, construction products and medical equipment – and that barely scratches the surface. Their digital marketing efforts are generally more complicated by the fact that they have to cater for a wide range of target audiences – B2B channel partners, B2B customers and direct B2C end consumers – with some manufacturers addressing all of these markets, and an increasing trend for “Direct-to-Consumer” ecommerce.

Customer-facing websites have improved dramatically in recent years, especially in the B2C sector. As a result, web visitors have become accustomed to intuitive websites and mobile apps that are easy to navigate and use – and are quickly turned off by websites which fall short of the mark.

For manufacturer serving B2B or B2C markets, keeping up with these expectations requires a step-change in approach; no longer is it enough to have a simple brochure website or a basic ecommerce store. Instead, manufacturing brand websites must provide a customer experience parallel to leading online stores.

In our experience working with a range of manufactures from FMCG brands to building materials, we have identified 5 key steps to helping evolve their digital maturity.

Since the website typically sits at the heart of their digital marketing efforts, this is the area that warrants the most focus. But it cannot be transformed in isolation. There needs to be equal attention paid to the Customer Experience – which means investing in and acting upon customer research – and then providing a more streamlined digital environment with useful data – which means integrating internal systems.

There are 5 key steps to helping your business mature:

  1. Researching customer experience – fully developing your personas, customer journeys and buyer journey pain points to inform the website (UX) design and content strategy
  2. Choosing the right website content management system (CMS), and adding a great UX design
  3. Integrating the sales team’s CRM system to streamline lead distribution
  4. Integrating the product information management (PIM) system for better product promotion
  5. Using integrated purchase history or CRM data with on-site behaviour tracking for personalisation and better customer engagement.

So… does all this pay off? The short answer is yes – the ROI stories are out there but more importantly manufacturers cannot afford to stand still in the face of competitors who are racing to deliver this type customer experience. Those “B2B contacts” are B2C consumers when they are not at work – and their perception of the B2C customer experience is shaping their expectations in the B2B world. By adopting the 5-step approach outlined above, manufacturers will be better positioned to grow their digital maturity, improve their customer experience and ensure their business success. Learn more from our eBook for Manufacturers.

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