C&K hires new CMO to help drive its digital transformation strategy to better support its customers and distribution partners.
Electronic component manufacturers are starting to transform their businesses through digital technologies to drive growth and improve operational efficiencies and relationships internally and with customers and partners. C&K, a nearly 90-year-old manufacturer of electromechanical switches, is one of those companies undergoing a digital transformation to make it easier for customers and distribution partners to do business with the company and to expand its brand awareness. But changing a company’s digital DNA has to start at the C-suite level.
C&K’s digital transformation began in 2016 with the hire of a new CEO, John J. Boucher. At the time, Boucher told EPSNews that his goals were centered on expansion, driving cost productivity improvements, improving customer relationships, and leveraging technology to drive these changes.
Boucher’s latest move to speed up C&K’s digital transformation was the hire of Doug Williams, as the company’s chief marketing officer (CMO) in January 2017. Williams is charged with delivering a better customer experience for both its customers and distribution partners.
Williams brings his experience as program director of partner relationship management at Schneider Electric to head up C&K’s strategic growth goals and to drive marketing, production management and information technology (IT). He will play a key role in the company’s brand relaunch, strategic planning, digital marketing and directed campaigns.
At Schneider Electric, Williams helped the company enhance the digital customer experience of its customers and channel partners. This included improvements for efficient product selection, project engineering, and estimating – all aimed at making it easier to do business with the company.
Williams expects to drive some of the same improvements at C&K.
C&K has made a lot of progress in revamping the website and is starting to expand its presence in the market, said Williams. John Boucher sees the value of enhancing and improving the digital signature of C&K to drive expansion and improve the customer experience, he added.
In fact, Boucher is not alone in driving its company on a digital journey. A recent Gartner Inc. survey indicates that CEOs are making big progress in their digital business strategies. Fifty-six percent of CEOs said “their digital improvements have already improved profits,” and 20 percent said they “are now taking a ‘digital-first’ approach to business change.”
By leveraging his experience at Schneider – improving the company’s website to better position its products and services, addressing the pain points of partners, and improving e-commerce capabilities – Williams will help C&K continue on its growth path by extending C&K’s market position and leveraging its core competencies.
“Our plans are centered on driving growth through the execution of both segment and account management strategies with pragmatic product management and leveraging digitized touchpoints along the customer journey,” said Williams.
This means addressing the unique pain points of the market segments and recognizing key areas of improvement to build stronger partnerships.
“It’s focusing on what I call the customer journey and digitizing those touch points,” said Williams. “This can include how you find a product; how you select the product; where you buy it, and once you’re using the product, making sure you have the necessary design tools to incorporate it into the final end product and get the right support.”
At the same time C&K needs to transform its “digital DNA” to drive speed and organizational efficiency both internally and with its distribution network and channel partners, said Williams.
This includes not only building out new tools for customers to search and select products but also to streamline the back-office systems that enable faster new product launches.
“In short – our goal is to be easy to do business with, to become the trusted advisor for selecting switches and provide our customers and channel partners with the information and support they need, when they need it,” he said.
C&K is evaluating that infrastructure to ensure that it makes those connection points, said Williams. “A lot of investments have been made but we’re looking at the whole infrastructure to try to make it a more modern company and enhance what we do.”
“That is one of the more interesting things in my role. I’m not just a marketing guy. I’m also helping to drive C&K's digital strategy so having IT report to me reinforces the strategic linkages we’re trying to accomplish,” he added.
By streamlining its back-end systems, the company also gains in productivity and cost savings.
“If we look at what I call the value of a switch purchase - whether it’s the distributor spending time to find inventory and order the right part, or the engineer or customer selecting the right part - the total value or total cost of ownership is lower because some of the inefficiencies of those communications are eliminated," said Williams.
“In addition to being easier to do business with, we will also focus on expanding C&K’s brand awareness and driving our thought leadership in switches and what I would call the switch experience," he said. "The first impression of a lot of products is through the switch. We are experts in adapting the desired “haptic” or touch experience to the right switch solution.”
Digital allows C&K to extend the messaging to customers who don’t deal directly with the company and buy through distribution, said Williams. “It gives us a way to help them in their selection and partner with distributors to get them the right information.”
“In today’s digital age, we have several new tools and avenues for communication available to us. In both our professional and personal lives, we approach product selection and purchasing differently today than we did five years ago,” he added. “C&K is committed to make investments to drive our digital transformation. We are prioritizing our efforts and investments to deliver an improved level of service.”
C&K has a good solid reputation in the switch industry, said Williams. “At the end of the day, it is a company’s core competencies that serve as a basis to be successful in its digital marketing efforts.”
Williams will oversee teams, contractors and agencies across America, Europe and Asia. He will report directly to C&K’s CEO.