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How Manufacturing Can Use Digital to Build Relationships

October 2nd, 2019 Ciera Nahale

A Deloitte study highlighted that manufacturing frontrunners – defined as organizations that “strongly believe in the business value of adopting new technology for digital transformation and are ready to use the new technologies” – exhibit a distinctive trait: they use the power of the broader ecosystem. They are 2.3 times more likely than stragglers, who are behind on adoption readiness, to seek out ecosystem relationships that create new value for customers.

In order to reap the benefits of their investment in digitization, manufacturing marketers and enablement teams can extend their reach through the new data-driven, engagement model to ensure that information is relayed to every part of the ecosystem instantly. Whenever new product insights are available, any point in the supply chain, product teams, sales, channel partners and clients can access the information and take appropriate action without delay. This shift to the information-based economy enables manufacturers to take collaboration with their partners to a whole new level.

ON24 Tip: Build a digital engagement program to set your distributors and channel partners up for success.

Provide ongoing support by creating a series of educational webinars that cover anything from technical documentation and training to current industry issues and best practices. Your partners (and your bottom line) will thank you.

ON24 Tip: Use webinars to strengthen your brand and establish credibility as a thought leader.

Instead of pitching products, share best practices and insights from subject matter experts in your webinars and use strong, cohesive and recognizable branding. Read our Webinar Console Branding Guide to learn how you can set up a fully branded, customized webinar console.

Roles within the traditional supply chain are also changing because more end users are purchasing directly from manufacturers. Direct-to-end-user models (the equivalent of direct-to-consumer models in the B2C world), which enable companies to manufacture and ship their products directly to buyers without relying on distributors or resellers, are becoming more common.

For example, Chinese electric car start-ups are often selling directly to consumers or attempting to create ecosystems that encourage customer loyalty. Tesla is another automaker trying to bypass car dealers and shift a portion of its sales to online. This move has received mixed reviews, but is inherently a customer-friendly proposition according to Rosemary Shahan, president of the advocacy group Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety: It gives you more of an opportunity to take control of the action, and you’re not on the dealer’s turf.

Owning a larger part of the customer journey also provides the opportunity to capture more customer data, which can feed back into new go-to-market strategies.

This post is a part series on how the manufacturing industry has adapted to the digital world. To learn more about how the manufacturing sector has changed, check out our report, ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report: Manufacturing Trends.