By Scott McLean, COO, Odyssiant
Who should own your website? Marketing? Sales? Digital? Headquarters? Regions or countries? Group or opcos? I’ll stop there as the list could go on, but the point is that there are lots of internal interests involved when it comes to the website. Of course that’s no surprise given that every company’s website is their shop window to the world
But the importance of the question remains especially as the nature of what the website is for continues to evolve.
Let’s start with what all too many website are today: sales tools. Whether a B2B eCommerce site or a cookie-cutter B2B site – you know the type I’m sure: “we are the leaders in abc and here are all the products or services we sell”. Throw in an “about us” and a bit of news and hey presto, one incredibly sales based website.
So why has marketing historically been the website owners given it’s a just a sales conduit? Maybe it’s because it’s seen as the communications, creativity and colouring-in department? Whatever the answer, the reason that marketing should own the website today is very different to whatever reason marketing might have been responsible in the past.
To explain why this is the case, it is important to point out what was largely missing from the vast majority of traditional websites: engagement. When marketing sought audience engagement, it went elsewhere. Social media platforms, sponsorship, events, campaigning or indeed anywhere else other than its prime piece of real estate. The only role the website would play in all of that would be to act as the destination to send the engaged audience to…although even that did not always happen.
This is a complete missed opportunity and it’s time for change.
If you create engaging content then the best place for that engagement to happen is your website. What we are talking about here is content that your audience wants to read, watch or view because they find value in doing so and are prepared to come back for more. This is, of course, the essence of great content marketing and there are numerous examples emerging of where both B2C and B2B companies are doing this really well.
And by the way this is not to say that, for example, social media should be ignored. Far from it, but instead such platforms should be viewed as a stepping stone and driver of engaged audiences to your website. And once there, you can plan and fulfil their journey towards your commercial goal which, conveniently for the audience and for you, can take place all within your site. You then have the ability to use powerful analytics to see how your content is performing, where your audience is on the journey and, from a marketing perspective, how this is supporting sales enablement and sales attribution.
Have we done this with our own website? Yes we have. Other than this blog you will find that if you take a look around we have a ‘Resources’ section which has an ever-growing raft of content. Most of that is written content and the moment but this will expand into a full mix of visual and text content over time. And yes, we have our sales content and other standard pages you will find on any site.
What we are trying to do is put in place all the content we need for you, our audience, to go on a journey should you wish to. All of this content is mapped in Odyssiant and you will see in the ‘Resources’ section little maps showing which position map position the content relates to. This is so that you can see the journey you yourselves are on. We have ambitious plans for how we will develop this further so bear with us.
Of course, we don’t expect anyone else to be so transparent with their audience but I think you will agree we’re a special case given it’s our own software!
If you want to understand more about how this works and how we believe websites need to involve then get in touch as we are more than happy to have a call or meeting to show you all.