Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is a Japanese multinational engineering and electronics corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Its material handling division, Mitsubishi Logisnext, has acquired numerous organisations over the years, including most recently, UniCarriers and TCM.
Mitsubishi Logisnext Europe, the part of the Logisnext family responsible for managing its European companies, approached BabelQuest in late 2020 to restructure its centralised online presence to one that granted its European business units more flexibility and independence — without losing overall control of the Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks brand, one of the brands in its portfolio.
the business challenge
Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks online presence, focused around an international manufacturer’s website, didn’t serve the need to have a local online presence for its expansive network of subsidiary companies across multiple countries. Some countries traded under brand names that had been acquired, whilst some had their own versions of the international Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks’ website.
These websites were fairly locked down to strengthen the Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks brand and ensure consistency, but this limited each country’s ability to represent themselves and their offerings. In addition, their online infrastructure was also ageing; the websites were built on an older, heavily customised version of Drupal, requiring significant investment to upgrade.
In order to grant more local power and independence to the LBUs (local business units) under its ownership, Mitsubishi Logisnext Europe decided to continue with the same tool that most of those LBUs had in place, HubSpot. This platform gave each country the capability to decide which products they wanted to offer, how they wanted to market them, and what, if any, complementary services to provide around them (maintenance, consultancy etc.)
As Mitsubishi Logisnext Europe’s director of corporate and marketing communications, Monica Escutia wanted a partner who could help her to solve this business challenge. Graham Jones, the regional director for UK and Ireland at Mitsubishi Logisnext Europe, referred her to us based on the work we’ve been doing for several years with their TCM subsidiary.
Monica needed a partner she could trust and who could move very quickly to meet the company’s ambitious deadlines. And so we were challenged to produce websites for nine countries and to build them in such a way that all of the information about Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks products would come in automatically from a global database while at the same time enabling the LBUs to add complementary third-party products, related services and material handling solutions to their websites.
integrating Mitsubishi European sites with global product data
In collaboration with our Associate, Syndicut, a brand and digital agency, we put together a statement of work for the websites, including the integration with the global product database. Monica requested a proof of concept before proceeding to test the new platform (HubSpot), our plan and our proficiency in delivering it.
We achieved this in December 2020, after which the project was set into phases. The first four websites were to go live by 1st April 2021, with go-live dates for the remaining websites over the remainder of 2022 as LBUs became ready to migrate.
For each main site, we designed a marketing-led page for that country to represent its core services and products, from where they can lead visitors into product catalogues and the directories. Key here was soft, value-based messaging. Monica wanted to move away from the traditional manufacturing approach of ‘choose your make and model’ in lieu of a consultative approach more in line with the inbound marketing methodology.
Every single website we went on to build has a section containing the products, and every item contained therein is pulled from a global database with an overnight update at 03:00 am to make sure that all the live websites always have the very latest product details.
Each product page within each website contains dozens, sometimes hundreds, of elements including:
- Series name
- Product name
- Product title and subtitle
- Weights and capacities
- Key functions
...and so on, even down to small elements like different series variations, a media section including imagery of the products and product functions, a clickable ISSUU (a digital magazine or brochure for each product), a specifications sheet, and all the data these elements contain, accounting for hundreds of thousands of data points within the central global database, all pulling into HubSpot’s HubDB database via JSON files delivered through an Azure cloud database.
Any changes made to the global database by marketing teams are automatically carried across. It also pulls out a translation for every single country — two for the Belgium website, which has options for both Dutch and French — which are managed by the local marketing teams in the LBUs and added to the translation database to ensure each sample of copy is both technically accurate and pitch-perfect when translated into their native language.
control and flexibility delivered
HubSpot CMS’ ease of use has meant that the LBUs can quickly and easily add content to promote their offerings across the product, service, or solutions pages, supported by promotional modules to help them promote different website pages.
In statistics, we have:
- 365 product updates run per annum
- 50,000 data elements being synchronised for each language
“The client still has control of a very complex product area, promoting consistency and giving confidence across Mitsubishi Logisnext Europe that every LBU is presenting the very latest information to their customers in a completely automated way. At the same time, we’ve created a flexible CMS platform on which the countries can create their own marketing materials.” Vaughn Armstrong, director and principal HubSpot consultant, BabelQuest
individual Mitsubishi European sites with local content
With eight LBU websites now live, what’s striking is that each website's home page is now different — with the slight exception of the Netherlands and Belgium, which are one operating company for BeneLux.
Some feature the product ranges that are being promoted in their country; some are promoting complementary solutions such as warehouse racking and warehouse cleaning equipment. All promote services such as maintenance, parts, and rental. Still others are promoting solutions such as warehouse consultancy and fleet management.