A Conduit to Digital Transformation

Learn how we enabled a team of Digital Transformers at Belden unify a content strategy spanning 11 operating companies & the globe.

Setting the Scene.

With revenues eclipsing $1b, Belden is comprised of a series of brands daisy chained together, offering a comprehensive catalog of products in the cabling, connectivity and networking space.

With a business model fueled primarily by acquisition, Belden and its family of brands had established a wide and diverse footprint across a minimum of 15 markets within the Industrial and Enterprise applications of its products.  

Belden engaged with Conduit Innovation during a comprehensive, multi-year, digital transformation effort that spanned across Belden and Belden’s subsidiaries business units.  Belden’s choice to transform was fueled by three primary goals:

  • Make it easier than ever before for customers across any of Belden’s brands to do business with Belden in every way. 
  • Unify the MarTech back-end of all Belden operating companies to support growth and cooperation amongst brands for the benefit of their customers.
  • Enable a solution-based approach to digital by integrating content across all Belden brands into a cohesive, intuitive, easy to understand narrative.
  • In making it “easy” for customers to do business with Belden, the Transformation Team could not make life more difficult for customers who desired self-service, product centric content.

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Section 1

What the Client
Asked For.

A critical function of the Digital Transformation Team at Belden’s role was to align the various internal marketing teams within each of the Belden Family of Brands operating companies.  In most cases this entailed integrating to understand what marketing strategies were currently in place while also determining the best way to ensure each operating company felt supported and empowered through the transformation.

For this reason, Belden engaged Conduit Innovation to provide a framework that would serve the following core functions:

  • Establish a concise narrative of how the transformation project would impact and enhance the capabilities of the current marketing teams within the organizations at each operating company.
  • Treat this as an opportunity to unilaterally define the baselines for each operating company, the markets they serve, their competitors, how they view their business unit etc.
  • Provide a uniform process to identify core content for each of the operating company’s domains, linking the content by product, use case, application and industry in a way that could be appended to content from each of the other operating companies. 
  • Provide opportunities to gather feedback and integrate the sales organization from each operating company so that the layers of each who touch the customer experience could have a voice in the overall process.

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What the Client Really Needed.

With the goals of Belden’s Transformation Team in mind, Conduit produced a comprehensive template-based Content Strategy Playbook, designed to turn the Marketing Teams within each of the companies into vested participants in the Transformation Process.

These materials would provide the Transformation Team at Belden a scalable model so they could effectively identify synergistic content and relational opportunities amongst the Belden Family of Brands by better understanding:

  • The target customers of each brand:
    • Creating profiles of target groups
    • Identifying attitudinal, psychological and demographical attributes
    • Aiming to appeal and attract to each brand
  • The market factors and unique dynamics each brand faces:
    • Identifying competitive forces
    • Understanding the elements, factors and trigger of the customers in each marketplace
    • Outlining the buying process per customer type
  • How the brand promise of each brand dovetails with the target customer’s motivations:
    • Determining the benefit to each target customer type (emotional/rational)
    • New ways to distinguish each brand, its products and offerings
    • Strengthening the value proposition collectively among all brands
  • Providing current and future customers a reason to believe that each brand’s products are the very best choice for their associated applications:
    • Promoting the best use case for each brand in a relevant and captivating way
    • Determining opportunities for other target customers to understand why they should care
Section 2

A Top-Down Approach to Align Content with Business Intent & Customer-Centricity.

Within 30 days, Conduit produced a comprehensive set of materials bringing to life a scalable strategy and structure enabling the Digital Transformation Team at Belden to align internally on business priorities and ultimately leverage it to create a content strategy in support of the global Belden brand.  

Considering the varying levels of information, data or behavioral customer detail, that “could” occur during the strategic and tactical alignment period, Conduit’s templates were designed to account for gaps, unique circumstances or scenarios which may arise.   

Section 3

A Customer-Centric Content Framework.

The enablement materials prepared by Conduit Innovation for the team at Belden were built towards a content framework that begins and ends with the customer.

Consequently, the deliverables were structured in such a way that, once completed would establish a priority of marketing and content while also forecasting the potential impact of those efforts given the target customers and their buying behaviors.

The format of Conduit’s final framework took the shape of a comprehensive curriculum featuring enablement material to support:

  • A step-by-step approach to defining the content strategy
  • Pre-requisite tactical steps (see pre-work checklist)
  • An educational component to provide clarity, context and an explanation of the underlying methodology
  • The curriculum featured clear “if/then” scenarios to account for missing data or information to maintain focus on the discovery process and confidence in the output. 
Section 4

A Three-Part Platform for Scalable Success.

Conduit’s final deliverable featured a three-part process with elements structured in progressive stages to encourage adoption.

As each stage progresses, the framework will allow for a cohesive narrative to take shape. As the narrative became clearer, the Belden Transformation Team and each internal Marketing Team within the various Belden Brands could realize increased momentum. This increased momentum and better clarity would then serve as a basis to further tighten Belden’s internal alignment.

Step One:  Overarching Business Context & Climate

Conduit’s materials provided an opportunity to index each brand’s legacy marketing efforts and associated strategies.  By better understanding the environments each business unit operated within, the Team at Belden would be better informed on how to position the content for the target customers.

  • Marketplace Considerations: Overall maturity level of markets that the Business Unit plays within. Identifying preliminary assumptions which should be considered when framing the content strategy itself.
  • Competitive Forces: Overview of relevant competitors with a snapshot of brand positioning, messaging & other differentiating insights.
  • Company Business Goals (SDP):  Stated business priorities & time horizons. Exploring how the businesses’ strategic priorities impact the digital/content strategy.
  • Pre-Existing & Future Unique Value Proposition(s):  The Business Unit’s current UVP to their target markets?  How their UVP communicated on their website and through their content.
  • Sales Goals, Processes & Associated KPIs:  How each business unit goes to market, prospect & customer lifecycles including new customer acquisition dynamics (sales cycle, win rate, etc.), customer retention dynamics (% churn, wallet share over time)
  • Customer Acquisition & Retention Impact on Staffing:  Resource allocation methods to support customer acquisition & retention efforts across business units
  • Marketing Goals & Associated KPI’s:  Marketing KPIs & TTIs across Belden marketing organizations

Step Two:  Customer Analysis & Priority

Taking the product and use case centric approach that each Belden business unit/operating company/brand deployed and backing into a real-world profile of that customer’s motivations. 

When possible, taking that profile a step further and linking buying behaviors (recency, frequency of products purchased and LTV of customers).  This linkage would work to establish a system to prioritize the impact of content marketing efforts to customer acquisition or increases in current customer wallet share.

  • Potential Customer Types & Impact to the Sales Process:  Given the markets Belden businesses compete in; how do variations of customer types impact the buying journey (if at all)?
  • Customer Segmentation & Valuation:  Logically grouping existing customers and relating impact of these groups to success at the business unit level and/or across brands/business units.
  • Customer Behavioral Attribute Development:  Developing a tagging system to link Loyalty/Value/Customer Behavior aligned to Belden brand or KPI’s
  • Target Customer Prioritization:  Leverage segments to group priorities.
  • Brand Awareness vs Brand Awareness to Target Customers: Ensuring the brands are sufficiently clear and impactful to the right type of customers on a use case by use case basis.
  • Target Customer Buying Process:  What are the “personas” within Target Customer segments and how do they leverage content to make decisions.

Step Three:  Strategy Document and Website Guide:

Once steps one and two had been completed, the final step was a comprehensive Strategy Document and Website Guide intended to align the business context, climate and customer priorities with strategic goals and critical website elements for each Belden brand/business unit.

High Level features of this document were to include:

  • Key strategic priorities for the site
  • Documented brand requirements 
  • Specific roles the site will play in connecting with customers
  • Synthesize the various “lenses” of key visitors/users
  • User journeys required to make the website a useful utility
    • Overview of required business intent across main areas of the website
    • Image/video/asset strategy & the role of each relative to the customer journey
    • Tone & positioning of page content when considering prospect vs existing customer use-cases
    • Interconnectivity required between the website and sales processes
Section 5

Handing the Baton Back to the Belden Transformation Team.

After producing the entire curriculum, Conduit Innovation partnered with the Belden Transformation Team to roll it out to one of the fast growing and well-regarded brands in the Belden family.

The feedback from the Head of Marketing of the Brand was very positive both in the comprehensiveness of the materials provided and the true impact this framework would have on their business.  “Knowing this information can not only help us with our content strategy but I can see this also playing a role in shaping our sales process as well” he was quoted, saying.

While the scope of Conduit’s efforts was to better enable the Belden Transformation Team to align an expansive and fragmented content strategy, the true measure of success was in these materials serving as a mechanism to promote dialogue which would help the talented people across all of Belden’s family of brands to think differently about their businesses while in the midst of the transformation.