In our business of helping organizations improve their website from a strategic perspective we encounter a lot of resistance from people within the organization who apparently do not think that their website is a critical asset. The reason I say this is that when we talk to sales people at trade shows, we often hear that their website is not customer friendly ( kind terms – you should hear some of the others), but they can’t do anything about it since it is in the marketing sphere of responsibility.
Of course when we finally get to the marketing department and try to discuss the website strategy, we get “my developer does that”. This response amazes me in that it is tantamount to outsourcing one of your core competencies. If we define core competency as any activity that creates or protects a competitive advantage, then your website must fall in this category for most if not all organizations.
It appears that in many marketing organizations one of two things may be happening – websites are not considered critical assets or people are afraid that if they seek outside help for their website – of which they have responsibility for – then they will look incompetent or perhaps lose their jobs. Either way the company will suffer, or at least lag behind their competitors.
Web designers and developers love nothing better than a solid corporate strategy to work from. This takes the ambiguity out of the design and lets the design team be creative, producing a much better user experience and also saves time and money by avoiding the recycling of the design until the team gets it right. ( I’ll know it when I see it syndrome)
The dilemma that we face is – who is the right person to get a buy-in from a strategic perspective that is “non threatening” to marketing and the web manager. Where we have been successful was through personal contact with the top management, and they recognized the importance of including their website as part of their strategic planning. Timing seems to be the critical element and it is very difficult to catch organizations at just the right time. As awareness grows, it will become easier but getting there is sometimes a tough slog.