The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Global Industrial CMO Klaus Werner: ‘If You Don’t Innovate, You Won’t Succeed’

The chief marketing officer for the industrial distributor took that approach to heart during COVID, and on our latest podcast, he shared how the company has innovated to benefit itself and — most importantly — its customers.
Innovation / Idea

Distributors reacted one of two ways to COVID-19. They either hunkered down and waited for the storm to pass. Or they doubled down on plans that were already in the works and did everything in their power to live up to their “essential business” status.

Count Global Industrial Co. as one of the companies that refused to sit still. If anything, the Port Washington, New York-based industrial distributor ramped up its investments in technology and other tools designed to help customers thrive.

One of the executives at the center of this approach was CMO Klaus Werner, who spearheaded numerous initiatives and campaigns designed to keep Global Industrial charging ahead amid the pandemic’s tumult.

Warner, who recently was named one of MDM’s Digital Innovator Award winners, spoke with us for the latest MDM Podcast about many of the campaigns that he and his team brought to Global Industrial in the last year and a half.

The company’s philosophy came down to a simple belief.

“This was the opportunity for us to sink or swim,” Werner says. “It was a time to focus on fundamentals, focus on listening to customers, observe what’s happening with the market and look at what our competition is doing — and then going out there and taking some risks. Innovation is critical for a business our size because if we don’t innovate or stand out, we’re going to be stuck in the middle. If you don’t innovate, you won’t succeed.”

A flurry of initiatives

Among his many accomplishments since early 2020, Werner led Global Industrial through a website, ensuring that the company’s online presence had a more modern look and feel while also creating more of a B2C experience.

“We went through a very robust rebranding,” he says. “We really modernized the brand look and feel, making it a lot more contemporary, but also the brand voice with the colors and the bold capitalization. Once you see an ad from Global Industrial, you will never forget it. Once you hear our tongue-in-cheek language, you will never forget us.”

Overhauling how customers received Global Industrial’s messaging was paramount for everything the company did during COVID-19. One example was the company’s Knowledge Center, a “digital content-rich resource designed to empower customers with the expert advice and know-how on the topics they need to succeed and grow,” as the company describes it.

Werner also managed a new social media campaign that saw Global Industrial venturing into the unlikeliest of channels for a distributor — TikTok.

The moves that Werner and his team at Global Industrial paid off over the last year, as the company saw revenue steadily rise during the pandemic. But improving the livelihoods of the company’s customers was more important than improving its bottom line, he says.

“It’s all about providing customers information so that they can solve their problems,” Werner says.

To learn more about Werner and how he and his team drove change at Global Industrial — including the measurable improvements to the company’s bottom line — click below to listen to this MDM Podcast in its entirety.

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