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Are you skeptical about and suspicious of digital technology? There are 4.3 million reasons why you should definitely read this


09-06-2021 Gian Paolo Lodi

When people started talking to me about the well-known opportunities offered by digital technology (now more than 10 years ago), I immediately thought of one thing: the numbers.

I wanted to see the numbers because, when made verbally, promises are made easily (and are exaggerated). But then we have to face every day the hard reality of the facts, and when promises are not kept, the fall is always painful. Time and money needlessly spent.

I wanted to examine an analysis of the figures to see how those involved in designing and selling components could benefit from digital technology.

So, full of skepticism, I took a look at these tools, which were both radical and an unknown quantity at the time.

In practical terms, they were:

  • not very widely used
  • probably too expensive for the time
  • hampered by physical limitations (the current Digital Divide is a joke by comparison)

So, this was the exact situation where, using my entire critical mindset (I guarantee you that it’s no laughing matter when I have to split hairs), I took a look at the numbers. I just want to explain to you in detail what I’m talking about.

Do you know what the really great thing about digital technology is?

The really great thing about digital technology when applied to marketing and sales processes is the opportunity it offers you to document everything.

I’m talking specifically about:

  1. tracking every customer action
  2. archiving and storing data over time
  3. carrying out analyses
  4. producing reports containing large volumes of data with different characteristics

Based on the old way of promoting and selling components, the possibility of having a complete picture of previous transactions (dates, numbers, customer names) was reliant in practice upon the meticulousness of the individual, with all the limitations this entails.

And even when there were salespeople and marketing executives with “superpowers”, there were still physical limitations, because the analyzable data was limited to a few elements.

Small volume of data and not always correct

However, when I first delved into the data offered by an online 3D catalog system, I realized that there was information that I could NEVER have obtained using the old approach.

The numbers compared to those we currently have were low. But it wasn’t the amount that I focused on then because I knew that a system which was still not widely used could definitely not offer me a gold mine.

It was rather quality that brought me to a very simple logical conclusion: digital technology was just around the corner and, like all revolutions, it would overcome even the most entrenched prejudices, including in those component companies that seemed so attached to the old way of working because “we’ve always done it like that“. At the same time, it would have offered smaller, but more forward-looking companies opportunities to achieve previously unimaginable results quickly and without any competition.

The companies in the second group really appealed to me and I wanted to be part of that set-up.

Today, I can say that I made the right choice and I’ve decided to share with you some of the key figures to give you a snapshot of 3D cataloging, which spotlights what the things are that really matter: the results.

* these are figures for the TraceParts 3D cataloging platform. They are certified data that we have easily obtained precisely because they are managed digitally. You can find out more here →

3D cataloging figures for 2021

  • 164 Million Product Data downloads
  • 3.7 Million unique visitors / year
  • 4.3 Million registered Engineers & Designers

Before people interject with buts, ifs, and howevers – because they always come at some point as a natural defense supporting what has always been done and what is rejected as new and unknown – I want to tell you that:

1.  the switch to digital-based solutions is not an option, it is a fact (just like we switched in Italy from using the lira to the euro; you can be as nostalgic as you like, but you can NOT pay for a coffee in a bar nowadays with a 1,000-lira note).

2.  this is still a very favorable time because the real fun and games have yet to start and, while your competitors are asleep, you can achieve results that will require much higher investments in a few years.

About the author

My name is Gian Paolo Lodi and I work as a consultant for TraceParts Srl.

It has been several years now that I have been communicating with companies and entrepreneurs in the mechatronics sector on a daily basis.

Therefore, I am familiar with the needs and problems that sometimes prompt them to take major risks in an effort to sharpen their competitive edge in the national and international market.

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