on 07-16-201303:11 PM - last edited on 08-26-201312:22 PM by cboysen
As a mechanical engineer by education, I’m still a little uneasy about carrying the word “marketing” in my job title.
I spent the first ten years of my career at Caterpillar as a sales engineer and territory manager working in North and South America, calling on customers and consulting engineers who usually had a very real and very specific technical requirement that revolved around getting the right product or service to ensure reliable power for their business. It wasn’t only about meeting a business plan, but ensuring success for our customers, our dealers, and Caterpillar. Needless to say, this seemed like very serious, important stuff.
When I got called back to help support Electric Power Division’s global marketing communications efforts, I thought I had all the answers. I knew what mattered to our dealers and customers. I knew what the missing tools were. I knew what information was needed and who to send it to. Boy, was I wrong.
This marketing stuff was a lot harder than I thought. For example, demonstrating the value of investing in a combined heat and power system to a greenhouse operator in Russia, drumming up investment in biogas energy in Argentina, and just trying to earn coverage in Chinese trade publications isn’t as easy as it sounds. The fact that most of my customers don’t share my native language only makes it that much more difficult.
I found myself scrambling, begging and pleading with our international sales team to please proofread an advertisement, check an article or ensure a website was working properly. We are translating our core of customer stories, videos and brochures into seven languages with more than a few mistakes along the way. If you need references for what exactly can go wrong with international marketing just ask Pepsi Co., whose 1980’s slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” translated loosely in Chinese as “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the grave”. Or ask Chevrolet , whose famously named “Nova” model turned out to mean “No Go’ in Spanish. Needless to say, there were not may Novas cruising Latin American cities.
Well, we at Caterpillar are doing our best to improve access to relevant information for all customers, no matter where you live or what language you speak. We’re in the process of overhauling our public website to have more consistent and accessible product information. We’ve created many purpose-built informational websites surrounding power generation, including our multi-lingual renewable and natural gas information site: www.catgaspower.com.
We are adding more YouTube videos of our customers telling their stories about how renewable energy projects are being financed, how developing African countries, like Tanzania, are using domestic natural gas to improve lives, and even how one customer has been able to operate and maintain the same engine for 60 years. We’re blogging (obviously), and we’re getting more into the publishing business with our quarterly power magazine, RunReady, offering free subscriptions through local dealers.
I think that a lot of the engineers that I work with at Caterpillar’s LafayetteEngineCenter are starting to see that maybe this “marketing stuff” does involve actual work. It may not be as technically challenging as designing a new piston, but maybe just as time consuming.
We hope we’re providing information that is interesting and valuable to you, our customers, and we still want to hear from you. Talk to us. We’re listening.
What could Caterpillar be doing to improve your customer experience and decision making process?
What is the most important information about Cat products that you need to build strategies for your business?
Are there any other places you’d like to be able to research Cat products that we’re missing?