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What's in the Article

  • 4 Lessons Learned from Caterpillar
  • 1. What Caterpillar Did Right: First Impressions
  • 2. What Caterpillar Did Right: Brand Consistency
  • 3. What Caterpillar Did Right: Personalization
  • 4. What Caterpillar Did Right: Harness the Power of Storytelling
  • Learning from the Best Manufacturing Websites

What Caterpillar Did Right

Regardless of your industry, a captivating website is an essential component of a successful business. Gone are the days when businesses could get away with sub-par websites. From the site aesthetics to the messaging, your website’s ability to capture user attention, and then ultimately convert them into customers, is crucial in today’s digital society. Users expect to be engaged and find what they are looking for quickly. Otherwise, they’ll bounce. 

Literally.

When you think of captivating brands that dominate the marketing world, you might think of big brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, or maybe Anheuser-Busch. There’s probably a good chance your mind didn’t jump to Caterpillar. 

But, it should.

Caterpillar is a massive brand. As the world’s leading supplier of machinery that builds, destroys, and everything in between, Caterpillar is a literal heavyweight in the manufacturing sector. They are a recognized name brand in forestry, construction, and agriculture industries, particularly for their bulldozers, backhoes and excavators. 

Cat is their flagship brand, and also one of the most valuable brands in the world. Globally, the Cat logo has become an icon, often worn as a badge symbolizing hard work, grit, and a get-it-done attitude. But, Caterpillar Inc. has a portfolio of close to 20 brands offering machines, engines, components, services and solutions to meet the unique needs of a variety of industries and customers around the world such as Anchor, Kemper, Hypac, Hindustan, Mak, Olympian and more.

In addition to all of this, Caterpillar’s website and digital marketing strategies have been exceptional. Let’s take a look at four lessons from Caterpillar’s website and marketing in order to see how manufacturing organizations can capture user attention like this Fortune Top 50 All-Star company. 

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Capture User Attention Like a Fortune Top 50 All-Star Company

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4 Lessons Learned from Caterpillar

1. What Caterpillar Did Right: First Impressions

The Caterpillar website is organized and easy to navigate, yet delivers a unique feel. 

As soon as you land on www.caterpillar.com you’ll see just how far-reaching and massive this company is. From the upper right hand corner of the homepage, you’re prompted to select a language in which you’d like to browse. There are nearly 13 different translations of the website!

The next thing you’ll notice is their strong imagery carousel. As our web designers like to say, good imagery is crucial for making a site “pop.” Although many images are of machinery in dirt, the Caterpillar website does a great job of showcasing clear, high-quality photography and also plenty of unique, on-site images that show real people working together.

In addition, their navigation is clear and easy for users to find what they’re looking for.  

Pro Tip

In the year 2000 the average human attention span was about 12 seconds long. By 2013, it had decreased to 8 seconds. This decrease has continued to fall every year since.

What does this mean for your website? It means that a poorly designed website that provides the user too many options or has confusing navigation will significantly increase the rate of users bouncing (leaving the website as soon as they arrive). This means that if there’s an action that you’d like users to take, but you aren’t designing your website in a way that facilitates that, you’re losing out on potential business.

Here are a few things you can do to engage your website visitors:

  • Eliminate unnecessary elements so that your site is easy to navigate and understand.
  • Invest in high-quality imagery that grabs the user’s attention, engages, and encourages them to take a specific action.
  • Ensure that your site is compatible with all devices (desktop, mobile, tablet).
  • Make sure that your site has a consistent look and feel.

2. What Caterpillar Did Right: Brand Consistency

Not many brands are immediately recognized based on color alone. However, when it comes to heavy equipment, it’s fair to assume that anything in “Caterpillar Yellow” is a product in the Caterpillar family. The brand coloring is also consistent throughout their website, incorporated into design aspects, imagery, and buttons. 

Caterpillar is also very consistent in their copywriting. With clear, consistent messaging and calls-to-action (CTAs), the user intuitively understands how to find exactly what they’re looking for. Mind you, this is much easier said than done. For a company as big as Caterpillar, there is plenty of information that they could put on their homepage, but in order to avoid overwhelming their website visitors, they kept it simple, focused, and to the point. Caterpillar does a nice job of keeping the messaging on their homepage simple and to the point. 

Pro Tip

Create a brand style guide to define brand elements across all of your branded assets including but not limited to your website, social media, logos, images, and even copy. This guide should include your mission, color palette, fonts, brand voice, photo style, and copy guidelines. 

 

Consistency is the secret sauce to making users happy. But, it’s not just the visual elements of a brand. Top-performing websites ensure that the user’s needs are placed front and center in a way that makes a lasting impression. It’s important to provide a consistent customer experience that fosters trust in your brand. Leverage brand consistency to communicate how your company is different, and better, than the rest.

3. What Caterpillar Did Right: Personalization 

Caterpillar knows their customer base very well. Whether you want to browse their 21 different brands, invest in stocks or begin a career with Caterpillar, the clear navigation will take you to where you need to go.

Pro Tip

It’s key to understand your target audience and acknowledge them when designing your website. Personalization is crucial, particularly when there is a significant amount of information that is being provided on your website. Personalizing content and navigation can help to streamline the user journey and expedite the decision-making process. You can do this through a user portal (like many of Caterpillar’s brand sites do) or a personalized website landing page. 

Analyzing customer journey data can help brands get a closer look into the user journey on their specific website. This data can then be used in order to measure cross-channel journeys and improve the overall user experience. If you can make users feel at home, you have accomplished your goal.This data-driven approach will inevitably lead to a better user experience, and a better user experience correlates with higher revenue growth. 

For example, rather than showing a one-size-fits-all website, design a personalized landing page that displays a unique experience based on that user’s specific characteristics. When personalization is done really well, the user feels like the webpage is talking directly to them, and they don’t even notice that their version is different from anyone else’s version.

4. What Caterpillar Did Right: Harness the Power of Storytelling

As a leader in a somewhat staid industry, Caterpillar understands the value of storytelling. They regularly post videos about their Heritage, product demos, maintenance how-to’s, and showcase examples of how equipment can be used (even for performing unexpected jobs, like building a giant sandcastle) on their YouTube page

One popular example with their flagship brand, Cat, stands out. In a recent campaign, Caterpillar brought PAC-MAN™ to life. Yes, you read that right. Pac-Man, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde came to life in Caterpillar’s live action version of the iconic game. The goal? Gobble up all the pellets before the ghosts chase you down in their larger-than-life game board (only about 19,040% bigger than the original scale of the maze on the 1980s arcade screen). 

According to the press release, “These trials are designed to surprise and delight our customers and prospects, as well as people outside our industry.”

This gamified event wasn’t just a fun way to celebrate Caterpillar’s 95th anniversary and Pac-Man’s 40th anniversary, it also highlighted how their equipment and services are there to help customers whenever they inevitably encounter a challenge. In this case there was one around every corner, which was a major storytelling opportunity. 

Pro Tip

A brand story is more than a narrative about its origins. Transactions aren’t final the moment money is exchanged. Instead, forward-thinking brands understand the importance of connecting with their customers and nurturing that relationship. Caterpillar’s successful storytelling strategies teach us that it’s okay to think outside the box and take some risks. But, if you’re struggling to find ways to share content, consider these simple tips: 

  • Add a blog
  • Update old blog posts and make them relevant to today
  • Take new photos
  • Recreate old videos
  • Freshen up FAQs and testimonials

In today’s ever-changing digital world, the same types of content just won’t get you to where you want to be. You need to think outside of the box and find a way to tap into emotions and add value for both current and potential customers.

Learning from the Best Manufacturing Websites

For years, manufacturing companies have been at the forefront of global innovation. While many brands may not associate dirt and steel with savvy marketing strategies, Caterpillar tells a different story.

If you’re thinking about rebuilding your manufacturing website, or need to refresh your current site, it can be helpful to review brands that do it well. When you look through these sites, ask yourself what kind of functionality and user experience you can apply for your own website. And don’t be afraid to extend your research to include websites outside your industry! Researching your competitors, as well as those outside your market, is an important step in the website development process.

If you do your research and get the work done ahead of time, establish your messaging, aesthetic, and the ultimate goal of your website (in other words, the specific actions you’d like users to take once they arrive on your site), it will heighten the user experience on your website. This will inevitably lead to more business for your company, guaranteed!

Learn More About Learning from Caterpillar

Capture User Attention Like a Fortune Top 50 All-Star Company

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Capture User Attention Like a Fortune Top 50 All-Star Company

No matter what industry you’re in, whether it’s manufacturing, industrial, or retail, capturing user attention is essential. 

Are you making the right first impression with your website design? 

Is your brand messaging consistent across all mediums?

Do you deliver a unique experience for your customers?

Are you thinking outside the box when it comes to content?

You should.

As a full-service creative marketing agency, CMDS delivers a comprehensive range of branding strategies, marketing capabilities and award-winning website design services. Call us today at (732) 706-5555 to find out how our in-house team can help you capture the user attention your brand deserves.