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Do Integrators Really Care about a ‘Modern’ Manufacturer Website? Our Data Says Yes

We asked integrators about their preferences for technology manufacturer websites. Here are the results of our survey.

Do Integrators Really Care about a ‘Modern’ Manufacturer Website? Our Data Says Yes

Let’s assume your technology manufacturing company has a website (…it does have a website, right?). There are many proposed best practices for modern B2B websites out there, and if you read more than a few of them, you may worry about the quality of your company’s site.

Don’t do that.

Integrators who really care about your kind of product will likely find you by name alone. As long as your website clearly displays information about what you do, what products you have, technical details of those products, and some information about the product category you fall into, then you’re off to a strong start in terms of SEO (if you don’t know what that acronym means, or even if you do, check out our SEO basics for manufacturer websites here).

But if you want to better-understand what will keep integrators scrolling through your website, we recently surveyed our integrator audiences to ascertain that data. We hope the below research is valuable in your website planning and maintenance!

Who we surveyed

Of the 336 people who took our survey, nearly half said they work at a commercial-focused integration firm. Almost 40% belong to the residential channel; and just over 12% to the security channel.

Nearly 70% of the integrators we surveyed work for companies with under 100 employees. A bit over 13% work for companies with 101-300 employees. Just under 5% said their companies are somewhere between 301-500; 3% said 501-1000; and about 11% said over 1000 people work at their company.

Over 33% of respondents say they own their businesses, while almost 23% are systems designers, and 21% work in sales or marketing. About 5% are installers, 2% are buyers, and 14% identified as “other.”

You built it — now, why do they come?

We’d love to believe that the core reason integrators visit your manufacturer website is primarily because they’re a super-customer who is willing to evangelize your tech products. But the reality is much simpler.

If what this data says is true, then manufacturer marketers have the opportunity to make a new impression on new and existing clients every time they visit their new site, since the number one reason integrators find manufacturer websites is to learn about a new product.

NOT to learn about pricing; NOT to learn about where to buy; NOT to get information about its release. The drive to visit your website most often stems from wanting to know about the product itself and how it potentially fits a project.

Honestly ask yourself if your website communicates well to a customer for whom the primary objective is to learn about the tech specs of new or existing products. If you find the other reasons are more or equally prominent on your web pages, it may be time to reorganize them.

Pro AV companies also often forget to make it easy to find their contact information, but clearly, one of the top three main reasons integrators come to your website is to contact you. So make sure you give them an easy way to do that.

Potential frustrations with your B2B website layout

The way you structure content on your website really matters — especially on the product specifications pages, as we learned above.

While over half of our respondents said it’s “somewhat easy” for them to find the content they need on manufacturer websites, over a quarter of them felt it was neither easy nor difficult. It would be much more encouraging to see a pie graph on which “very easy” represented that 50% slice.

Almost 10% of respondents said it was “somewhat difficult” to find what they were looking for. The fact that almost 10% of your clients might actually give you an actively-negative rating on your website’s structure is, itself, reason enough to at least think about your website and its clarity.

You can hear one integrator describe what he thinks is useful on manufacturer websites here. But in every passing conversation we’ve ever had with integrators, the gist is that they don’t need you to reinvent the wheel. Just focus on asking your existing buyers what they find most important when they’re on your website, and make sure that information is display prominently on the relevant pages.

Do integrators use the ‘chat box’?

Simply put: the use of chat boxes (whether they’re AI- or people-driven) on manufacturer websites is a split issue among your buyers.

Just over half said they DO like to use them; just under half said they DO NOT.

We can’t tell you what the right move is for your own website, but if you’ve already invested in a live chat feature, we hope you’ll see these numbers as justification for your investment.

Consider that age should play a role in the decision to adopt a live chat feature. According to Software Advice, the 18 to 34 demographic are more likely to have used live chat “many times,” while those in the 55+ age group are more likely to have “never used” it.

Yes, the AV space is well known for having demographics which skew older, but what about the next generation? Forget millennials — who are apparently more likely to use live chats — Gen Z is already entering the workforce!

Another critical thing to keep in mind if you’ve already invested/are planning to invest in an AI-based chat box: integrators think they don’t work about half the time. We asked them if they had used an AI-based chat support, and if they found it answered their question…and about 50% said “no.”

We followed up with those who answered “no” — here’s what they told us:

  • 98% of the time they just suggest steps that any somewhat intelligent person would have already tried.
  • They are usually only helpful if they do one of two things: direct me to a real person after sorting out what my general issue is, or just give me the contact info and letting me call in to talk to a real person.
  • AI has not yet progressed to answering technical solution questions (By the time I’m asking, it is usually complex).

So if  you do invest in a chat box, it’s better to go with a person-based solution. But if you can’t do that, consider an AI solution will only work if it efficiently directs complex questions to the right individual/department.

Integrator content preferences for B2B websites

We asked integrators about the resourced they use most on tech manufacturer websites. Here’s what they told us:

Integrators favor downloadable guides, and we’ve seen that on our integrator-facing sister sites. We’ve also noticed a trend towards more video consumption, even if this demographic isn’t big on podcast consumption.

We know that downloads and webinars are common in the AV product marketing space, but…yes, you’re going to have to budget for video, especially as the integrator workforce skews youngers.

The importance of optimizing for mobile

When we asked integrators how often they visit a manufacturer website using their phone, 33% answered “weekly,” over 20% answered “monthly,” and over 12% said “daily.” Yes, daily.

Only a combined 33% of them answered they “rarely” or “never” visit a site on mobile. Again, we chalk that up mostly to age. But clearly, investing in your website’s mobile-friendliness is a worthwhile venture — not only because your actual target audience uses their phones to find you, but because mobile-friendly websites are rewarded higher rankings now in Google search.

We leave you now with one last piece of information about integrator preferences surrounding your website: a word graph of companies integrators say have the best websites: