If there are any positives to take from the Coronavirus global pandemic, it would have to be the acceleration of digital transformation across all industries. In marketing, digital transformation encompasses embracing new technologies to enhance the customer journey whilst building relationships, during the pandemic traditional sales and marketing activities were restricted or curtailed and as a result, many organisations in the construction industry had to re-think how they market and sell their products.
Miller UK’s Director of Marketing Barry Robison provides further insight into the impact of digital transformation and how Miller has adapted to a changing business landscape.
What impact did the Coronavirus pandemic have on Miller?
From a marketing perspective, the landscape changed very quickly. The original plans we had put in place for 2020 which included launching a new product line and participating at several major international trade shows were put on hold. We also had to quickly come to terms that traditional face to face sales meetings were restricted too and we couldn’t reach our customers in the way that we were used to.
Our marketing plans were overhauled and we had to quickly create a new marketing strategy to overcome the challenges we were faced with.
What did the new marketing strategy focus on?
We needed to deliver a strategy that managed both the acceptance and transitioning toward a new digital era and the absence of face-to-face networking and sales meetings due to the pandemic.
The key elements to this were staying visible, staying on-brand and true to our values, being consistent in how we were communicating, demonstrating a consistent tone of voice on social media, utilising social media platforms to connect with customers, prospects, and partners, and making sure we were delivery clear and valuable messaging concerning our products and services. However, this was (and still is 2 years later) a very sensitive time. We needed to show that we could empathise with our customers, show solidarity and respect, be resilient and show that we could help.
The ‘Work Safe with Miller’ slogan was born from this, initially as a temporary measure and we focused on reassuring, supporting and inspiring our customers. However, now as the pandemic has progressed and restrictions have begun to relax, ‘Work Safe with Miller’ has been permanently embedded into our workforce as a safety programme and has led to us being recognised by the North East Marketing Awards as finalists in the Adaptability campaign of the year category, read more here – http://millergroundbreaking.com/resources/news/company-news/north-east-marketing-awards/.
What role did digital transformation play in Miller’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic?
During the early days of the first lockdown, we quickly realised that customer behaviour was changing rapidly and that we need to launch a new website which was built with improved user functionality and designed to both support sales activity and drive inbound enquiries.
A crucial innovation was the new product configurator on the website, which helps customers to choose a product that is right for their machine. To provide further support we have since introduced a live chat function to help answer any quick-fire questions allowing customers to multi-task improving the overall support experience on the website.
To support our customers’ product qualification journey, we have built a new suite of content that can be downloaded from the website, including PDF product brochures and sales sheets, and high-quality videos.
In addition, we delivered social media campaigns which are enhanced by graphics and video content, and we implemented digital advertising campaigns on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Because we had refocussed our website into more segmented customer end applications, we were able to improve our electronic direct mail (EDM) marketing content, helping us to continue to connect with customers, stakeholders, and prospects – and these communications were designed to align with our new strategy and messaging.
Has the pandemic changed your marketing strategy permanently?
“Marketing, and the way we do business, has been fundamentally changed.” The global coronavirus crisis has accelerated the growth of digital marketing exponentially. This has forced Miller to find innovative ways to do more with less. This way of working, moving away from more traditional marketing methods will continue going forward and has already been embedded into this year’s strategy with a focus on e-commerce, internal digitalisation and lead generation via our online platforms.