While digital product innovation is a current buzzword across many different industries, it has unique benefits for the manufacturing industry.
As companies face heightened buyer expectations and a crowded marketplace, it’s not enough to simply “be digital.” For manufacturers, digital product marketing is an opportunity to leverage digital to create a better customer experience and a competitive advantage.
Let’s take a closer look at how digital product innovation fits into the manufacturing industry.
Why is digital product innovation important?
Right now, stagnation is the death of all innovation. In order to stay relevant and resilient, companies need to transform their people, processes, and technology. They need to use data and tools in a meaningful way to make data-driven decisions and simplify the customer experience and internal processes.
Digital product innovation is an avenue for doing just that. It’s taking your digital transformation a step further. The key is using a customer-centric approach. Tap into your customer data and talk to your actual customers to understand what they need and want. Then make intentional optimizations — such as creating relevant digital products and implementing personalization — to meet (and exceed) their expectations.
The latest B2B trends show that buyer expectations are rising daily. They want to work with suppliers who deliver on their unique needs and make the manufacturing buying journey easier. How can you solve your buyers’ everyday challenges? They need information about your products, FAQs, and spec sheets. They want to be able to order samples, review warranty information, and easily purchase and reorder products.
Digital products make it possible to communicate product information efficiently and support the buyer through each step of the process. Think of it as graduating from disjointed spreadsheets and PDF files to integrated tools and systems. Buyers are looking for businesses that invest in digital innovation: In our 2022 B2B Buyer Report, 94% of B2B buyers stated that they prefer to work with suppliers that are constantly evolving their digital capabilities.
And if you don’t? Your customers will go elsewhere. 72% of B2B buyers have experienced frustration over a supplier’s resistance to changing their operations to better fit buyer needs — and 85% of B2B buyers stated they would turn to a competitor when a supplier’s digital channels can’t keep up. This means digital innovation is crucial for attracting and keeping customers in today’s manufacturing landscape.
Benefits of digital product development in manufacturing
For manufacturing companies, today’s digital marketing presents an opportunity to future-proof your business and reach your customer more effectively. As you build your 2023 digital strategy, it’s important to zero in on digital products that would align with and support that strategy.
Your digital product design can provide a competitive advantage that differentiates your brand within the manufacturing industry. While others in the industry may be focused on other aspects of business, digital product innovation marks your brand as customer-centric and innovative. In some cases, your digital product may even disrupt and redefine the industry.
Customers recognize innovation and turn to digital products that make their buying experience better. Our B2B Buyer Report shows that 81% of B2B buyers will still choose a supplier with excellent customer portal capabilities over a lower price alternative. By providing important product information, efficiency in finding what they need and making a purchase, transparency in order tracking, and other capabilities, your digital products will foster customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
When you stand out from your competitors and build long-term relationships with your customers, those benefits accelerate your business forward and boost your bottom line.
Case Study: Boateka
What does it look like to bring a digital product to life in the manufacturing industry? Our work with Boateka, a Brunswick brand, is a great example of digital product innovation in manufacturing. Over the past year, Boateka has completed its maiden voyage building a trustworthy, credible boat resale brand.
Boateka, a 2021 startup owned by Brunswick, needed to get its sea legs in the digital world to advance the used boat buying experience.
Leveraging Adobe, Brunswick was able to launch their new Boateka branded website in less than three months time. Using a headless implementation of Adobe Commerce within their enterprise Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), Boateka has been able to create a unified experience across Brunswick brands and launch various brand sites faster and more efficiently.
Boateka has been aided by its access to a wealth of consumer data through Adobe Analytics and Target, which are used across the entire Brunswick enterprise, allowing for a holistic view of customers and their buying behaviors. Through customer research and insights, Boateka has optimized their website design to foster trust, clarify pre-owned boat messaging, and make the next steps in the buying process clear.
By doubling down on their AEM investment, Boateka has been able to build an entirely new brand and product from the ground up, informed and shaped by legacy consumer data across their enterprise.
As we see in this case study, digital product innovation allows businesses to efficiently and effectively build a stand-out brand, rooted in customer insights and poised to scale. Digital products can then deliver further value through their evolution and expansion.
While it requires an agile approach and an openness to change, digital product innovation has the power to drive your manufacturing business forward in 2023. Your buyers are looking to work with innovative, customer-centric brands — so there’s no better time to step up and stand out.
Ready to dive into digital product innovation? Contact a digital transformation team member, or download our “How To Prioritize Customer-Centric Digital Transformation” white paper.