When it comes to online activity it seems some people get it and some people don’t. Those that do usually (eventually, if not sooner) reap huge rewards in the form of increased clients and bottom line revenue. Those who don’t simply get further and further behind the competition until they finally just vanish.
Clearly the folks at Caterpillar, a company the builds heavy machinery like tractors, bulldozers and things, definitely want to be a part of the former group. That has likely been the impetus for them to launch a huge corporate-wide effort to embrace social media in as many ways as possible and encourage their employees, supervisors, administrators; everyone involved in company business to do the same.
Specifically, Caterpillar is using its social media network to engage customers in their design of new trucks. And so far, that efforts is winning them industry accolades and the appreciation of the people they are most concerned with helping: their customers.
“Throughout the design and development stage of the CT660, we used an online customer panel to get real-time customer feedback on different design elements,” says George Taylor, director of Caterpillar’s Global On-Highway Truck Group. “This panel allowed us to give vocational truck customers interactive surveys and ensure that we were truly building the product that would make our customers more successful. In fact, we still utilize this online customer panel today to gauge customers’ reaction to new enhancements to the CT660 and to develop initial feedback on our next truck model.”
On the social media front, the firm’s challenge is to communicate with a wide variety of users and customers. That’s because Caterpillar’s product diversity ranges from the iconic yellow earth movers to landscaping to mining equipment to retail—the company even has an apparel line designed for its vehicle’s operators. “This is not a one-size-fits-all social media model that works for all our industries,” Murphy says. “Some of our industries have a specific group of customers and applications, while others cross many industries and applications. We try to define our opportunities for engagement and build around that. Some will want thought leadership and application expertise, others a general awareness and a place to show they’re a fan.”
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