E-Marketing in Minneapolis David Vinge, eMarketing Dashboard: Cat.com Takes Top Web Prize

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cat.com Takes Top Web Prize


An article in Industry Week discusses the recently released "Web Globalization Report Card" and describes Internet best practices among global manufacturers. Note that the full report is available for $1,750. I suggested that corporate buy a copy.

What makes Caterpillar the best global Web site among manufacturers?

Caterpillar excels in global navigation - that is, directing Web users to their local content. When you visit cat.com you'll find a splash global gateway page. This page is very effective in ensuring that non-native English speakers find their local Web sites. Country names are presented in the user's language and there is no preference exhibited toward any one country. Many sites instead use long pull-down menus of country names, typically placing the United States at the top of the list, which is not only difficult to use but alienating to those Web users outside of the US.

Caterpillar also uses a global design template across all localized Web sites. Whether you visit the France site or the Japanese site, you will find consistent branding, navigation, and color scheme. Not only is this consistency beneficial from a marketing perspective, it is easier to maintain from a global Web services perspective.

Depth and breadth of translated content is also a key differentiator. Caterpillar supports 14 languages, putting it ahead of many sites within this sector. While GE leads the sector with support for 17 languages, it suffers from poor global navigation and lack of translated content on certain sites. (Editor's note: Many sites from other sectors supported more than 30 languages.)

As a whole, the manufacturing sector has generally been slow to embrace Web globalization. And this is because business deals are often facilitated between in-country representatives who already speak the language. But companies are increasingly finding that supporting the target country's native language helps a company develop new leads and broaden its reach far beyond what individual company representatives can accomplish.

The following company Web sites that were included in the review of Industrial/Diversified catagory - Caterpillar, John Deere, Dow Corning, Cargill, Briggs & Stratton, Honeywell, Steelcase, Sherwin-Williams, Alcoa, GE.

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