Earlier this month, Perficient was joined by Adobe at Experience Makers Live for an Ask the Experts session focused on manufacturing. For the conversation, we had an expert panel including Robert Sumner, Karie Daudt, and Justin Racine from Perficient accompanied by Jon Burdette and Neerav Bhansali from Adobe. With such vast experience, the panel discussed a variety of topics from strategic opinions on DTC, distributor partner relationships, personalizing experiences, transacting online, and so much more.
Although the session isn’t available on-demand, we wanted to take you through some of the questions and answers provided by our panel.
Q: I am considering a DTC play, what are the pros and cons of this strategic move?
A: First, you need to consider whether you can handle it internally. There are a lot of considerations that need to happen in your organization as you look at it and how you are going to market. With that, transparency is key. When you start going direct, the expectation is that you are going to be able to see if something is available, what the quantity is, and when you are going to get it. So, the biggest thing to emphasize is that it isn’t just spinning up a site, but your business processes must be addressed for it to be successful. – Karie Daudt
Q: How do I get my distributor partners to better represent our brand and product content?
A: We’ve seen this done with having manufacturers and distributors utilize a PIM system. It is important to make sure the content you have is relevant to the channel that you are in. You might need to change the content to fit the persona of your customer and, more importantly, their customer. You must make sure the content you’re creating is relevant to your customer and their customer. – Justin Racine
A: You may be in a position forced to create your own content to better drive sales down the specific channels you are marketing. On the flip side, you could be a new partner and at the point you need content; you’re wanting to sell that product because it is profitable, and it is then the responsibility of the OEM to make sure the content is relevant and easily accessible. – Robert Sumner
A: We’re starting to see manufacturers who are doing digital channel assessments. It is about getting a mindshare of your channel. You get that in a lot of different ways. And, the manufacturers that make it the easiest to sell then get more business. – Karie Daudt
A: The challenge is not as hard as if you don’t do it. “You either have a plan for Amazon or they have a plan for you.” You must try to shape things how you want them in your channel or a plan will get created that you may not be a fan of. – Jon Burdette
Q: How can a personalized experience help the organization meet its key performance indicators?
A: You have to invest in your organization and your experiences. There are a lot of new habits that were formed because of the pandemic. Many of them have stuck and transitioned to the B2B space. Because of these new habits, you need to keep up with what customers are looking for and more organizations are looking at digitally maturing their business. – Justin Racine
A: It is good to level set on the term personalization because a lot of people misunderstand what that is. You have to personalize to a minimum layer of personalization (like device type). The next level up is creating relevant content based on the customers behavior. – Robert Sumner
A: Quite often we see the assumption that KPI’s are set in stone. We need to change that mindset, even at the management level. You have to have flexibility. If, for example, you look back over a 3 month period and one of your KPIs isn’t moving the needle, then you have to adapt the KPIs and experiment to see what is having the most impact on your business. What you learn is that what you go in with Day 1 may not be what you have 12 months down the road. – Neerav Bhansali
A: You have to think of what your goals are. It may not be just driving revenue. Being able to identify your goals and objectives and looking at what your success looks like and measuring to that is important. As you mature, you have to mature your KPIs. – Karie Daudt
Q: Transacting online – what are some of the commerce related activities you are seeing across the industry?
A: I think people forget a lot about on-site search. When people get to your website, they’re expecting the same type of search that they get on Google. It is important to provide them with the right information. You need to focus in on that and make sure you’re taking advantage of different use cases based on what people are actually searching for. – Justin Racine
A: I agree with that, Justin. I was recently part of a project that search was a major problem on the site. It was deemed by the CMO at that point to remove the search from the site because external search engines could do a better job at mining their own content. So, it is so important to utilize search. – Robert Sumner
If you couldn’t attend our manufacturing session at Experience Makers Live, check out our Adobe and Commerce blogs for more content and expertise from our team. Reach out if you want to speak to one of them directly.