There has been a lot of coverage about the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and its effect on modern manufacturing. For marketers, as the IoT becomes more of a reality through practical applications on the plant floor, it is critical to understand how manufacturing decision-making is now more complex, and how your audiences are changing.
As marketers for automation and controls solutions, we have been tuned into the buying processes and preferences of design engineers for decades. So much so that we created this essential guide: Marketing to Automation & Controls Engineers.
And while all the critical insights that apply to those key decision-makers still hold true, Godfrey has recently invested in research and developed key insights about an emerging group of influencers, namely the CIO and their IT teams who could be responsible for things like security, hardware or software.
Plant-level engineers and COOs still drive decisions around the technology, applications and machines developed and maintained to run their operation. But, with the integration of software and hardware, cloud-based services and enterprise-wide monitoring, marketers need to get their messages in front of IT, a brand-new type of audience.
IT has different challenges and motivations, as well as very different kinds of technology expertise and ways of approaching technology decisions. IT professionals access information in different ways and as IT systems and smart technology become more deeply integrated into manufacturing operations, the CIO and IT staff may be learning about a part of the business that is new to them.
The 2016 State of the CIO Study by the Society for Information Management (SIM) identified the following as key areas of focus for the CIO:
At the same time, and in parallel, plant-level management, COOs and manufacturing engineers and specialists are tasked with working with the CIO and IT, leveraging all the power of digital intelligence to make their plants smarter, more flexible and more fully integrated into the company’s overall IT infrastructure
Everyone’s roles are becoming increasingly complex, as they are caught between the demands of maintaining existing systems yet expected to drive digital transformation.
Bridges need to be built to help plant-level engineers and COOs understand what information the CIO and IT staffs need to help advance the creation and implementation of smart manufacturing systems.
IT may not be familiar with operations on the plant floor. And even though your technology and offerings might be familiar to those with manufacturing or automation backgrounds, the CIO and their team may have never engaged with your brand. And the CIO audience is likely risk-adverse, with key issues such as security and compliance driving preference.
It is key that your company have a strong brand identity that is relevant to all audiences, as it can eliminate stages in the buying process. Or as a start, begin to develop messages related to common goals for all stakeholders. Productivity. Quality. Faster time to market. Efficient operations. Cost cutting. Bring these teams together with an ROI story that both can get behind.