Recently, we had a meeting with an organization seeking a new website.The prospect related with some angst, the multiple conflicting goals of the organization and the difficulty they’re having assuming a leadership position in their market.
We asked a series of business and marketing questions and gradually narrowed the focus. When I suggested that the assignment was secondarily about the web and that the higher-level need was to clarify audience hierarchy and brand positioning, we saw heads nodding. The result of a conflicted and constantly shifting brand strategy had caused this organization to squeeze every last piece of content onto their existing website’s homepage for fear of missing some constituency or failing to make a point somebody might want to read. Consequently the user experience and site performance suffered.
The Web as Catalyst
There is a growing trend for the website to be the catalyst for revealing the larger marketing and strategy issues organizations are facing. This was the fourth such appointment we’ve had in as many weeks, in which a website
redesign conversation took a fascinating turn into something broader. With the website assuming such a central place in the business and marketing ecosystem, the role of the web design firm is rapidly evolving into something more strategic, requiring a broader business and marketing experience. The days of valuing a web agency based on slick use of technology are fading like a Kodak print.
The last time we experienced such a clear trend was in the early bubble days, when the speed of change was so breathtaking that just creating websites that worked made a web design firm a valuable partner. The speed of change is upon us again and with the web now being relatively mature, clients are often seeking a broader business experience, brand strategy expertise and a focus on marketing that will distinguish the valuable web design firms from the technicians.