“Marketing Driven Website Design” appears as a tagline on my business card.
After recently giving my business card to a perspective client, I was asked, “What does Marketing Driven Website Design mean?”. This was the second time this question was asked of me. The first-time was actually by a marketing person, (who will remain nameless). This was troubling that a fellow marketeer would ask this question.
Through my marketing career at IBM, the term “Marketing Driven” was liberally used as a maxim to constantly remind us that value is defined by the marketplace and solutions are developed by looking externally to solve problems in the marketplace, not just dreamed-up in the lab.
My natural assumption was such a powerful maxim was commonplace, especially among marketeers. I was wrong in my thinking about the exposure of “Market Driven Website Design“. Hence, this is the reason for this blog article to bring more insight with respect to this maxim and website design.
I want to discuss this topic by starting with the old-way of doing business that is still being used today by some small business owners. The old-way of doing business continues to limit the ability of a business to grow and generate long-term profitability.
Old-Ways of Doing Business to the Newest Approach
Over the past 100 years, there were basically 5 business approaches that were deemed state-of-the-art methods to conduct business when they were introduced. Each of these approaches gave way to the progression of the next approach as an alternative to doing business. The following 5 business approaches are important in understanding the newest approach of “Marketing Driven”:
- Cottage Industry
- Production Orientation
- Product Focus
- Sales- Aggressive Emphasis
- Marketing Driven
The Cottage Industry still exists today as businesses owned by freelancers, independent craftsmen and sole proprietors. This approach to business goes back to ancient Rome and aligns with the concept of the marketplace in the open air. These businesses are known for delivering commodities, one-of-a-kind products and custom services. The owners of these businesses have a fixed skill-set and a list limited offerings. They usually present themselves as providers of hand-crafted products and trade services. Some of these owners provide customized offerings that meet unique needs of individual customers and can be said to be “Marketing Driven” to a limited extent.
Production Orientation focuses on producing large volumes of products at the lowest possible prices using standardization. This approach was originally started with the manufacturing of firearms and then with the Model T Ford and perfected during World War II for mass-production of the war effort. The underlying business philosophy is to appeal to customers by having product available at a low price. The focus is to reduce the cost of production to a minimum and to compete on price. If the customer doesn’t want to buy, the price is lowered. Availability and price are NOT the only 2 factors that customers may want to consider.
This approach is about gaining competitive advantage by delivering the most features or functions and/or best quality. The focus is to continually improve the product quality or number of features to gain market success. The assumptions is buyers want more than the competitors are willing to offer and seek the best product possible. This approach ignores the fact that all customers are NOT the same and have different buying criteria based on the market segments they are part of. Quality and features is just 2 factors to consider when buying a product. Blindly improving the product may result in a product that very few customers will want.
Sales – Aggressive Emphasis
This approach is based on the idea to “never to accept no as an answer“. If the customer resists a sale, then more aggressive sales persuasion is in order. The emphasis is to deploy aggressive techniques to sell products or services with advertising, sales tactics and marketing promotions. Although this approach is still used today, it pushes customer to buy products or services they may not need and based on the wrong approach.
This approach is part of product and service development, marketing and sales process. Marketing Driven entails recognizing the marketing segments, customers needs and buying benefits being sought, as well as, solutions to remedy problems or what’s actions are required to satisfy customer needs. Marketing Driven success is about the delivery of value to the customer better than the competition by meeting specific buyer needs and market conditions. Marketing Driven means it comes from the marketplace.
This approach requires deep involvement with researching the customer, competition and current marketing conditions for the purpose to develop the plan and perform the execution to create and deliver an effective bundle of benefits. This must be done competitively and provide profitable or value results for both my clients and their customers.
In summary, the other approaches mentioned above about: cottage, production, product and sales are all inward facing and oriented about focusing within the business by thinking and act internally. While Marketing Driven is focused on externally marketing conditions before considering anything internally. The immediate result is to deliver “what the customer wants” and reaching the customer with the proper messaging. Marketing Driven minimizes the danger of making a deliverable that customers don’t want or need or a poor developed offerings . The Marketing Driven approach is the strategic path to improve profitability and long term growth.
“Marketing Driven Website Design” means Building Website to Reach Customers
I design websites not strictly for my clients, but for my client’s target audience or segment of interest. My websites are designed to connect with my client’s target segment with messaging they understand that means something to them. It’s all about being Marketing Driven by the client’s customers, not the client’s business. I start my website designs always with the end-customer in mind with a complete understanding of Marketing Driven content required to help the end-customers and meet marketing goals of my clients.
Most of my career has been about defining and developing Marketing Driven delivererables. It’s an integral part of my design process and the value-add I bring to the table to create Marketing Driven website that reach customers.