Welcome to our next installment of Industry Spotlights, where we delve into trends in the specific industries we serve and share what B2B marketers need to know about how trends could impact marketing strategies.
As director of strategy at Godfrey, I spend part of my day diving into the trends and challenges that affect our clients—their products, markets and audiences. In this post, I share how digital transformation and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) affect companies and key decision makers in the automation space.
WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES WITHIN THE AUTOMATION AND INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURING MARKETS?
Challenges in automation and industrial manufacturing have been consistent over the past few years, yet the urgency to solve those challenges has become more intense. These include the aging manufacturing facilities and the workforce that serves them, increased customer demands and digital transformation driving company roadmaps.
Goals in automation have consistently centered around cost reduction, improved productivity, efficiency and uptime, which is now being driven by digital transformation. But as the workforce evolves and technology becomes the foundation for operational strategy, the technology is often outpacing the skills of the workforce, requiring a dedication to training and skills development. It also brings new players to the decision-making process. Back in 2017, Godfrey conducted research with partner AMG Research to evaluate how the role of IT was working its way into operations conversations, along with challenges around internal structure, security and scale.
Expectations around the implementation of connected devices and the Internet of Things driving business value is high. But change is hard. Team dynamics are changing; business models are even changing. Traditional manufacturers are exploring SaaS models, performance-based contracts and other methods to generate revenue from more than just products and systems, in order to position themselves as a long-term partner and tap into additional revenue streams. So as marketers, we are being asked to evolve the industry perception of some companies, align their brand with a digital future and to encourage creating user experiences that let their customers know they get it and are investing in it themselves.
WHAT ARE SOME TRENDS IN THIS MARKET, AND HOW MIGHT THEY AFFECT BUSINESSES THIS YEAR?
Trends are certainly centered around how technology can show real value for manufacturers and their customers. As a marketer, I’m seeing the phrase “digital transformation” in trade publications, company communications and third-party research as much as the phrase “innovative solutions” in years past. It is a buzz word that is losing impact due to overuse, as manufacturers understand they need to be part of the conversation. An Automation World article, Industrials Must Shift Gears on IIoT, explains that industrial transformation is a more accurate phrase, meaning “the proactive and coordinated approach companies use to leverage digital technologies to create step-change improvement industrial operations.” This translates to a manufacturer’s ability to deliver connectivity, flexibility and increased customization for its customers.
Customer-buying behavior, distribution and business models are also changing. Manufacturers need to be able to deliver a digital experience that serves their customers outside of the sales call. As stated in a recent report by Gartner, “most B2B manufacturers are struggling to build the digital marketing strategies and purchase guidance needed to help buyers make the most informed decisions.”
In a ranking of digital performance among B2B manufacturing brands, the analysis reported that 62 percent of these brands fell below average. “If B2B marketers can’t get digital marketing right, they could seriously jeopardize the success of their company’s future digital business strategies, or worse, fail to protect themselves against looming competitive threats.”
To read the entire post, visit: https://www.godfrey.com/insights/industry-and-research/digital-transformation-in-automation
One of the largest B2B marketing agencies in the United States and a member of Worldwide Partners Inc., Godfrey is committed to helping industrial manufacturers market themselves better. With customer insight, strategic consulting, brand management, advertising, public relations, digital strategy and full program execution, Godfrey extends the client’s own operation and deliver B2B marketing perfected for a complex industry. Get to know Godfrey at www.godfrey.com.