Okuma is a leader in the machine-tool industry, now for more than 125 years. For the past 20 of those years, they have been a valued Crafted client. Crafted’s mission throughout this partnership with Okuma has been to help them stay at the forefront of the industry, while continuing to evolve and push their brand to leverage what makes Okuma truly authentic.
Okuma makes their name based on the quality and excellence of their machines, but what we have also discovered is that is only part of their story. We wanted to help them tell the rest.
In 2012, the landscape of the marketing industry was changing. Inbound marketing was becoming a more popular strategy to generate qualified sales leads. In order to capitalize on this growing trend, Crafted created a brand new corporate website for Okuma, and launched an inbound marketing initiative to generate traffic.
The cornerstone of this strategy was self-generated content. Okuma committed to creating engaging, targeted, and relevant information for their audience every month. They started with a team of four writers, but eventually had more than 50 people writing branded content. This not only got Okuma’s message out (from the people who were living it every day), it also prompted an elevated level of buy-in from Okuma’s employees. This company-wide investment – from C-Level Executives through every channel and chain in the company – led to dramatic results, highlighted by a 150% increase in traffic to Okuma’s new website.
Of course, you can never stand still if you want to stay ahead, so after several years of sustained success, Crafted and Okuma determined it was time for another evolution of Okuma’s corporate website in order to capitalize on the increased level of online traffic.
The new okuma.com not only represented a chance to update Okuma’s website, but to also reveal new layers of Okuma as a company.
Before we begin to work on any new website, we engage in a unique discovery process that includes prototyping. This is done in concert with our Crafted clients, and in the case of Okuma, we were able to engage in a number of discovery exercises with company executives, managers and other stakeholders in order to create a messaging and design roadmap for the new Okuma website.
Through this process, we analyze historical data within the context of modern trends to make strategic decisions. We consider customer profiles, user experience, and mobile functionality. And, with company executives and employees, we drill down into individual sections of the site with a customer-first approach.
An invaluable benefit of taking Okuma through this process was that it revealed (in far greater detail) how we should talk about Okuma, its products, the benefits they bring to customers, and the value customers receive by becoming an Okuma partner. This open forum between Crafted and employees from different departments of Okuma let us hear, in a totally unfiltered way, key insights that would become essential components of their brand messaging. It also revealed the existence of some organizational misalignment between departments, which in our experience, is very common. Having the opportunity to discuss messaging, targets and objectives helped get everyone on the same page and aligned the entire company around how they talk about themselves.
We emerged from prototyping with a roadmap for developing and designing Okuma’s new website. Okuma also left as a more aligned organization.
Up until this point, Okuma was known as a company that was highly focused on products and technology, with less emphasis placed on their distribution network and the lengths they go to in order to help their customers succeed. The fact is, there’s a lot of human interaction in what Okuma does – it’s not all machines, parts, and technology – and this human element is something we purposefully incorporated into every aspect of Okuma’s new site and surrounding marketing initiatives.
We wanted visitors to Okuma’s new site to know that Okuma builds great relationships, and not just great machines. In order to do that, we had to be more precise with our approach to messaging and language. We made it simpler. We expressed more empathy for the typical challenges an Okuma customer might face every day.
And most importantly, we positioned Okuma’s products as solutions with real-world benefits.
As a result, prospects got a much deeper understanding of what it might be like to be an Okuma customer, well beyond the features and benefits of any particular machine.
From a visual perspective, we made three key changes to our approach. The first was to convey the humanity of Okuma by including visuals of actual employees at work, without any staged “scenes,” lighting or contrivances. The second was to present the Okuma machines with more authority. We shot images of products from angles that made them seem almost larger-than-life. And third, we captured the precision and craftsmanship of Okuma machines in new ways, including video and detailed candids.
With a large percentage of the sales journey now happening online, it is critical to make that experience as intuitive as possible for visitors to a website. Crafted worked with Okuma to create tools and functionality that did just that.
Okuma’s breadth of product is large and customers (like with any research exercise) want to be able to compare the features of different machines. To facilitate this process for customers who are in the consideration step of the buyer’s journey, we created a tool that made this process easy.
There are a litany of variables that are important to Okuma’s end customer and sorting through spec sheets to find the product that is the right fit can be tough. To overcome this, a robust filter was added to the new product sort tool that allows prospects to narrow results based on their spec needs.
Claiming to be an industry thought leader and showing proof on your website are two different things. In order to help visitors find the articles, white papers, blog posts, that reinforced Okuma’s position, Crafted built a robust searchable and filterable knowledge center that makes all content available to researchers in a few clicks of the mouse. View the Knowledge Center here
The products that Okuma sells are not cheap, so prospects do extensive research, as they should. They compare products within the Okuma brand but also externally. Instead of leaving interpretation to chance, we built a tool that allows visitors to make product and technology comparisons that leave nothing to the imagination or interpretation.
Okuma’s longevity is an essential part of their story. In order to create more of an experience for website visitors, Crafted created an easily digestible history page that walks prospects through key company milestones and advances. View the history page here
One of the most important requirements of any website is to generate marketing-qualified leads that can be passed on to sales. Lead generation covers every element of a website, starting with content all the way through a creative contact page. This conversion path is critical to optimize. To support increased lead generation on the Okuma website, Crafted implemented the HubSpot marketing software.
Using HubSpot CTAs, landing pages, lead scoring, forms and automation, Okuma is now better able to qualify and generate leads for their sales reps. HubSpot is now the focal point of Okuma’s marketing activities, providing a tool that enables more measurable strategies that can be optimized to increase performance.
Visitor engagement increased.
Rebuilding okuma.com allowed Crafted to continue the evolution of the Okuma brand, revealing the authentic humanity that’s part of the company’s brand DNA.
Crafted’s prototyping process revealed key insights that were essential in crafting Okuma’s next iteration of branding. It also facilitated better corporate alignment between different departments, which led to a unified message through all levels of the company.
Okuma’s new website was built to enhance the user experience, and as a result, to increase the quality and quantity of sales leads.
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