Your industry is going through a digital transformation and so is your digital strategy. Your company’s website is a very important marketing tool, and information and communications platform serving the other key elements of your marketing program.
Just like any other digital strategy and marketing deliverable, the presentation and content of your company’s website have a direct impact on your company’s business objectives, business strategy, and sales.
As a marketing manager or chief digital officer, you may not be directly responsible for the design and implementation of your company’s digital strategy. Given its importance to your company’s digital initiatives and marketing program. You must play an influential role in creating a digital strategy including its planning, development, data analytics, and execution.
The .com Bust Drives a Better Digital Strategy
Despite the general sense of pessimism and gloom in the Internet’s post-bubble era, businesses and consumers continue to use the Internet to purchase products and services online. We live in a digital world.
The worldwide value of business goods and services purchased online is projected to increase from 282 billion in 2000 to 4.3 trillion by 2019, according to IDC Research.
There are 4.1 billion Internet users in the world as of December 2018. This is compared to 3.9 billion Internet users in mid-2018 and about 3.7 billion Internet users in late 2017.
All the rules of doing business that was supposed to have been swept away by the Internet are still with us. It is now clear that changes and sales and distribution brought about by the Internet will happen more gradually. It is now the customer expectations and suppliers desire to meet these with a positive customer experience.
However incrementally these changes are. The Internet is already had a significant impact on, the way companies operate their channels of distribution and their methods of marketing and sales.
For example, online travel websites are changing the way consumers purchase airline tickets and hotel rooms. Amazon.com is made a significant impact on the sales digital channel of goods. Grainger and many other websites are quietly revolutionizing many industrial manufacturing and distribution businesses.
Instead of sweeping the business practices of large, established businesses and entire industries aside, the Internet will incrementally change the way prospects and customers interact with established companies in these industries.
The Internet will serve, initially at least, as an extension of the ways existing companies market and sell their products. The radical changes like the elimination of old-line distribution channels and other middlemen, will happen more gradually over time.
Marketing Managers Role in a Company’s Digital Strategy for the Web
Modern marketing managers will often be deeply involved in your company’s website development projects. You may not have sole authority in deciding the form and content of your company’s website and other web related business activities.
You will play a very significant role in helping to steer the planning and development process of your company’s digital strategy. One that leads to higher sales, using the web to shorten your company’s sales cycle by giving prospects the online information they need. Information to make purchasing decisions on your company’s products.
The Internet’s recent boom-and-bust cycle proved how full heartedly it was for an established company to abandon its current, successful channels of sales distribution in favor of all Internet e-commerce business models. But every company should use the Internet and apply its marketing program and digital marketing strategy.
While strategic decisions about your company’s direction, its technology, its overall ways of doing business and selling its products may be beyond the scope of your responsibilities as a marketing manager.
Your day-to-day responsibilities for your company’s marketing efforts, combined with your own experience and common sense, and the guidance provided in this post, will help you steer your company’s digital strategy and Internet-based marketing efforts in the right direction.
The Internet Extends a Company’s Real World Sales and Marketing Activities
If you are the marketing manager for an established company, it’s likely your company has been operating a website for some time now. During the Internet’s “gold rush” days, many companies through large amounts of money at web developers. This money was to create over-designed websites having little to do with the way these companies actually marketed and sold their products.
Many companies did develop websites with sales promotion and marketing features much closer to the needs and wants of their prospects and customers. These companies have already incorporated the Internet as a successful part of their existing marketing programs.
I’ll explain the general techniques of marketing presentation that can be learned from these companies, who are quietly, successfully, reaping sales and marketing benefits from their websites.
How Your Company Can Use the Internet
The passage of time gives perspective, and in both the successes and the failures, some valuable, general principles can be learned from using the Internet as a marketing tool:
- Established companies should see their website as another marketing channel that serves the company’s existing marketing programs and sales distribution channel strategy. Websites expand to companies online sales and marketing efforts, but not at the risk of threatening the established sales, dealer or distribution networks. Websites for most established companies can shorten a company sale cycle by providing in interested prospects with sales and product information they need, faster and more conveniently.
- Start-up companies have the advantage of being less restricted by the extent their website serve their marketing and sales efforts because they have no existing sales distribution and dealer networks to protect. Therefore, a new venture can move its marketing interactions with prospects, and sales processes for customers, as much, and as quickly, as its market in common sense allows.
However, very few startups can survive is Internet-only businesses. So, just as in established companies, the bulk of the marketing programs in most startup companies require the expenditure of time, effort and money on conventional marketing efforts. This might include print advertising campaigns, the organization of a direct sales force.
For all companies, a website is an instant, two-way communications channel to interested prospects, current customers, the media, potential business partner, and anyone else with an interest in your company and its products. A website redesign should be platforms for experimentation, providing a company with instant, immediate feedback on its digital strategy, products, price, and marketing programs.
The Internet is and sells its products or services, to anticipate the slower, more gradual changes the Internet will gradually make in marketing and business practices.
Your Prospects and Customers Will Find Your Company on the Internet—Whether You Like It or Not
The radical digital transformation of the web is bringing about in business marketing is beyond your company’s ability to control. If your company sells products to the consumer marketplace. For example, the slow-but-steady growth in Internet broadband access opens up the Internet’s potential to make it a speedier and more pleasant user experience.
Over the next few years, this will give your company many exciting new opportunities to present its products and services to consumers over the Internet. Using high broadband media base methods, such as high-quality video and audio, along with faster, more efficient methods of selling your company’s products online.
For B2B marketers, new data interchange formats, such as XML, allows the closely integrated exchange of information between your company and its customers, and especially for high-level integration, such as the interface of your company’s product database with customers purchasing department.
New types of wireless devices and other Internet anywhere net appliances will enable your company’s prospects and customers to access information about your company and its products from anywhere— the factory floor, a staff meeting, or on the road. You must understand how this impacts your
The tools and skills required for your company to serve prospects and customers in new ways will be available for your company to develop and master. There will be time for your company to adapt. If your company chooses not to, it will lose market share and key sales opportunities to its competitors who will take up the challenge.
You’re interested prospects and customers already using Google to search for your company, and for the kinds of products and services your company sells, on the web. They will be visiting your company’s website no matter how well, or how poorly, your company presents and sells its products there.
Ready or not, your company must have a presence on the Internet. It must develop its presence in a way that increases sales today and sets the stage for Internet’s future role in your company success.
Let us know what you think about how to create an effective digital strategy.