There is so much information about the internet, on the internet, that it is no wonder that many a marketing professional just throws his or her arms up in despair and resorts to hiring a “techie” to “handle” the company website. But this is so wrong!
It is time to acknowledge the importance of your company website and ensure that you are doing what is needed to improve your company’s interaction with the consumer online.
Now for those of you who think that I am going to start “selling” a website design service, I want to let you know up front that I plan on doing quite the opposite. I want to “un-sell” the outsourcing of this mission-critical process and encourage the leadership of the company to become highly in the strategic planning of the company website.
I have always felt that it is death for a company to outsource a core competency, and if you plan on evolving your business from a brick and mortar operation to one that engages its customers on the internet, then you must consider your company website as your most significant “communications” tool. As such, customer communication is a core competency of every business, right? Do you really want to just hope somebody is doing this well for you?
Imagine establishing a branch of your English speaking company somewhere overseas and deciding to outsource language interpretation to another company. If nobody in your organization can speak the language, how will your product or service be received? How would you know?
The internet is not merely another marketing medium, it is a new language that all companies must learn how to speak. While it is not practical for every Marketing Chief to be able to program the company website, it is an absolute do or die requirement for marketing leaders to understand how the flow of sales will move through the internet.
This understanding will be evolutionary, just as language skills require a committed effort and continuous interaction. As a case in point, as people age in “the real world,” note how they lose touch with the jargon and slang used by the youth. Languages evolve and the internet is the fastest evolving language that exists, so organizational leaders must study and grow with it.
It Starts With A Vision
You can create a better company website by envisioning the totality of the ways your company can communicate with customers on the internet. I recommend a “white board” exercise with the company leaders to identity critical segments which are needed on the company website. If you have a high number of products that your company sells, there is nothing wrong with creating multiple websites. The technical functions of product sales and distribution systems should not be confused with the marketing functions wrapped around brilliant content.
Get involved in the creation of a better marketing plan, and at the core of this plan will be a better company website. You can lead your company through an evolution from brick and mortar systems, but you cannot do it without having a keen understanding of how your company will sell its products and services in the future. Your company website is the new lobby of your company, make sure you know your way around.