According to McKinsey, Speciality Chemicals could see ROS gains in the range of 3 to 5% stemming from digital transformation of the Sales and Marketing processes. On point, 85% of B2B chemical purchasers would prefer digital channels when reordering a product.*
The chemical industry is diverse but is collectively facing a rapid commodization of conventional chemicals. New players, many of which have adopted new forms of digital technology, have come to the market providing customized offerings delivered in flexible batches. To counter this reality, existing industry players must create a relationship which is more than transactional and habitual, and nurture a loyalty which will last a life time and obliterates the risk of substitution by a competitor. In other words, the speciality chemical company needs to earn Share of Life™.
Digital Transformation in Sales & Marketing is inevitably a process encompassing multiple steps across digital marketing, e-commerce, digital Sales Enablement, CRM, etc. But as a starting point, given the solution orientation, shorter product shelf time and the need to earn Share of Life™, there is a need to optimize the central digital touch point of the company, namely the corporate website. The corporate website is the pivot in the digital age across all stakeholders ranging from existing and potential customers, talent, media and investors. Vertic has made an expert review of a selection of "hygiene factors"of the corporate website scoring the respective .COMs.
The average scores across the 8 variables on a scale from 0-100 are as follows: Evonik - 62, Lubrizol -59, Nouryon - 63, Arkema - 51, BASF - 68, X-rite - 51, Datacolor - 50, Altana - 53 and Clariant - 66. However, the individual scores are much less interesting than the general observation, namely that the industry is performing considerable lower than previously scored industries such as a Healthcare, Logistics, Energy and Software.
The revitalization and reinvention of the corporate website as a powerful corporate and commercial asset has just begun, and there are already some key learnings about how to build them right. At Vertic, we have multiple ongoing .COM projects.
Top-performing corporate websites ensure that the user’s needs are put front and center. Data-driven identification of the audience’s usage of vocabulary and semantics is key for developing the correct website content strategy. In combination with the information journey alignment, the resulting content architecture should accommodate a “circular flow” on the site to ensure the user does not reach any “dead ends.
Second, user centric design requires a complete revamp of Search on the corporate website. Most current .COMs ignore the fact that you and I are Googlified in how we seek for content in all spheres of life. Focus on indexation of all company websites integrated with .COM search enriched by AI and Machine Learning is an inescapable hallmark of the future corporate website. GE.COM is a great example of a best in class Search implementation.
Third, alignment with the Decision Journey. At the current point in time, significant cannibalization and replication of content takes place across the different websites owned by healthcare company. This is both cost inefficient and slows the rate and speed at which users complete the relevant decision journeys. Going forward ongoing content audit, clear division of labor in terms of the decision journey and consistent tracking across the different website ecosystem is a minimum standard.
Fourth, Personalization is a given. Users land on the corporate website with a plethora of data points indicating their interests. Accordingly, we can personalize our content offering and navigation on the .COM. In a pre-authenticated mode, overall data categories include browser info, IP, referrer URL, DMP and visit cookies.
Fifth, Storytelling. A brand story is more than a narrative about its origins; it is a showcase of the brand’s purpose, values and reason for existence. Successful storytelling elevates brand trust and enables the corporate website to garner user interest in earlier stages of their decision-making process
*McKinsey, Digital in Chemical: from technology to impact.
**Chemical Industry Digital Research & Benchmarking Study, Vertic Research 2019
We are no longer going online. We are living online. Today, every company must think of itself as being digital to some degree.