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Caterpillar Brings Social Media to Blue-Collar Business

When you hear the word caterpillar, what comes to mind? Bugs eating the plants in your garden? Mud-caked yellow vehicles carrying millions of cubic tons of dirt to the ends of the earth? How about social media?

In an industry not known for cutting edge connectivity, Caterpillar, a conservative firm with blue-collar roots stemming from its Peoria, Illinois headquarters, was recognized by U.S. News as one of America’s Most Connected Companies, not only because it incorporates social media as an extension of its marketingstrategy, but because it has begun to use it to include customer preferences in the design of its trucks.

[See America’s Most Connected Companies.]

“Caterpillar considers social media to be a public demonstration of its customer-business relationship,” says Casey Murphy, Caterpillar’s social media strategist. “We recognize that the interaction and support Caterpillar and the Cat dealers provide to our customers is a premium experience.”

For example, Caterpillar’s CT 660, a multi-purpose truck body that can be customized as a cement mixer, refuse hauler, dump truck, or in other configurations, was introduced last summer in a concerted marketing campaign that used social media. Before that, while the truck was in the design stage, the company launched a website, the Online Customer Research Panel, that asked potential buyers to weigh in on features they wanted to see and discuss topics related to their business that would be relevant to the truck.

“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.”  Read More

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A Revolution in Social Networking

Posted on June 5, 2012, in #social media and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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