A $13B Industrial Company Case Study

Setting a New Bar for Digital Engagement


Acknowledging the Digital Native

We live in an age of digital inevitability. A new breed of customer has shaken up businesses in almost every industry. So-called “digital natives” have increasingly high expectations for digital customer experiences. They are globally connected, and they use their voices on social media. Most significantly, they are better informed than ever before about an expansive and growing range of consumption choices.

Our client manufactures industrial equipment that has a material impact on millions of people’s living and working environments. As a $13 billion business they were selected by Fortune as one of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” in 2015. Like many marketing departments, they had already turned their attention to digital natives, but wanted to understand how to deliver superior customer experiences through enhanced digital capabilities across online channels.

The company’s marketing organization stretches across 11 strategic business units (SBUs) and a corporate marketing team. Each SBU enjoyed independent decision making authority when it came to marketing, but an increasing level of digital demand required taking a hard look at priorities across the whole organization, and understanding the resources and structure required to deliver against them. CMG was engaged to do both, and help better understand how they needed evolve to connect with an increasingly digital customer experience and power the company’s growth, while still maintaining the relationships on which the business was built.


Going digital starts with understanding what a business wants to achieve, defining the future-state digital version and identifying the capabilities needed to meet those goals. CMG began by running 50 internal discovery interviews with the company’s executives to help answer questions such as:

  • What were they already doing in the digital marketing space?
  • What were the business units trying to achieve? What were their customer’s digital needs?
  • Where did the organization see digital marketing opportunity?
  • What capabilities did they need to grow?

Then we dove into the market to assess and benchmark the company against what competitors and best in class industrial marketers were doing, and how those companies were adjusting and responding to digital needs.

To develop the strategy, we applied the knowledge base from our research and past experience to formulate a digital capability assessment. Essentially, we detailed everything a digitally-forward company does right:

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At CMG, we create strategies that are grounded in reality. No amount of analysis can help a company reach its vision without taking into account the real context in which the organization operates. Evaluating our client’s 11 SBUs against this framework, we identified where they stood, where they wanted to be, and the milestones they would need to reach to hit their larger objectives.

The client had some foundational capabilities to build around demand generation, analytics, and user experience across their mobile, web, and dealer portals which required short-term attention. Digital experience is an ecosystem that works best when integrated. So we recommended that the client build an integrated, multi-discipline effort within one SBU to prove that the integrated approach delivered the results they desired before scaling to other businesses.

To support building these foundational capabilities, we recommended that the client invest in building Web/UX and Demand-Generation “Centers of Excellence” that would advance the organization in at least four ways:

  1. Develop standard work processes
  2. Standardize analytics, tools, and systems usage
  3. Manage the evolution of digital capabilities
  4. Transition active management over time to SBUs


To set a new bar for digital experience, we brought to bear our extensive experience in organizational performance to help our client think about the skills, structure, and competencies that were needed to hit their objectives. And then we provided a specific roadmap with the tools and projects that would get them there.

CMG operates as champions within our clients’ organizations. Implementing this digital strategy was not merely about redecorating a business with digital wallpaper—it was about making realisticstratospheric-level changes with on-the-ground impact that would enable them to realize their potential.

Potential Realized

All told, CMG’s work demonstrated that our client needed to think more broadly about their overall digital strategy, not just as it pertained to sales, service, marketing, or any other individual functional area. By collaborating closely with the client’s leaders and supporting our recommendations with clear thinking and sensitivity to real-world demands, we earned organizational alignment on core digital marketing strategies. At the same time, we fundamentally changed their thinking about the digital customer experience, demonstrating that it was possible to engage the digital native customer, while still strengthening the personal relationships that their business depends on.