A complex marketing mix
RS Components, a trading brand of Electrocomponents Plc., is the world’s largest electronics distributor, reaching customers in 32 countries in 28 languages. The company sells approximately half-a-million electrical and electronic components, tools, testing equipment, and related items annually through online, catalog, and trade counter channels.
Engineers are the primary users of RS Components’ products, but it’s the procurement managers who typically make the purchases. “An engineer will come to our site, research products, download technical documentations, and then finish his online journey because he doesn’t have buying power,” explains Andrew Morris, Head of Digital Insight Delivery for RS Components. “Two days later, a procurement manager from the same company will visit the website—having not looked at anything and already knowing what he needs—add a product number to a basket, and buy it.”
Reconciling the behavior of influencers and purchasers is key to feeding analytics data into digital marketing and digital advertising and helping ensure that RS Components is spending its marketing dollars wisely. Within a single organization, there may also be several different people accessing RS Components’ content from multiple devices. As a result, Morris and his team must cast a wider net to achieve a single view of its audience.
“We have to look at the wider customer base rather than individuals, which is very different compared to a B2C environment,” says Morris. “When you also factor in the need to engage with them in different languages, and the changing landscape of our market, which is attracting competition from established B2C online retailers, marketing becomes very complex.”
Further complicating matters is the fact that business users lacked an understanding of digital data analytics, and how this could be harnessed for decision making. “We needed a change in culture to elevate the status of digital analytics so it would be seen as a business utility in the same way that our organization considers financial data,” says Morris “70% of our revenue streams are described by data, so it makes sense that people need to use it.”