Post Summary: When developing a branded online experience too many marketers let the budget dictate the strategy which can lead to shortcuts and and a digital marketing strategy that fails to deliver against key brand objectives.
Not to long ago I had the opportunity to completely review and critique a consumer products company website. The website was a mess with hard to follow navigation, content that was hard to access and a product selection guide that made no sense at all.
After completing my critique I learned that the company had spent more than 1 million to develop the site less than 14 months prior to my review. Not only was this money wasted but management was not about to spend the money to completely redo the site leading to an online brand experience that was shabby at best.
What went wrong ?
1ne: The person from the company leading the build of the website did not have a digital marketing background and let her agency control too much of the website development process.
2wo: The agency did take the time to really understand user needs to drive conversion and didn’t do any research including usability studies.
3hree: Content was repurposed from consumer marketing materials not written expressly for the Web.
4our: The web producer had eCommerce experience but was not fluent in the development of branded content to drive conversion. She was also someone who preferred to just get it done rather than think about what she was doing.
5ive: Too many compromises were made to support the company’s IT department rather than putting users and brand objectives first.
So when we added it all up they had spent over $1 million for a website that didn’t drive conversion or user needs and management was not about to spend more money to make it right but they were willing to waste more money on promotional programs that provided a negative ROI. At the time they were the market leaders in sales and units as well.
The one key lesson here is that you have to lead your agency and openly share insights into your target audiences behavior. If you go into the process of developing a branded website with inexperienced people, and limited dollars you’re going to get what you deserve: a digital experience that is more for show than driving brand objectives.