Hey, marketing leaders, do you know where your website project is?

Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 in Content Strategy, Websites | No Comments
Hey, marketing leaders, do you know where your website project is?

Your website is the #1 strategic communications vehicle for your company. It may be the first or only place where prospects initiate engagement with your brand, and it’s a precious opportunity to present your company’s messaging in an unfiltered state, exactly the way you want. More than any other medium, your website is your company’s official face to the world.

If that’s true, why do so many business and marketing strategy leaders abdicate the design, care and maintenance of their websites to mid-tier employees? Let me first explain that I am in no way suggesting that these employees aren’t good at their jobs. On the contrary, I’ve worked with plenty of creative, driven, mid-level marketers who want nothing more than to see their company and customers succeed and want the website be a fully satisfying experience for every visitor.

But these marketers (and their agency counterparts) can take a company website only so far without leadership’s guidance on brand strategy and business goals. Without strong support and a clear vision from leaders, websites have a tendency to become unfocused and less effective as various parties squabble over the site’s organizational structure or vie for real estate on the home page.

5 reasons senior marketing leaders should get their hands dirty

Senior leadership brings critical thinking and insights to planning, building and maintaining the website and the content found there. Specifically:

  1. You have knowledge of the company’s business strategy and long-term plans that may have an impact on what content gets developed, how it’s organized on the site, how it’s distributed elsewhere, what it looks and sounds like, etc.
  2. You have decision-making authority and can provide sign-off on project roadmaps, which can help the Web team stay productive and avoid delays while waiting for ideas to get “sold up the food chain.”
  3. You have big-picture visibility into the company’s other business initiatives, including parts of marketing that may be doing things off on their own (social media, PR, sales, etc.), and can bring people and projects together to eliminate duplicated effort, ensure consistency, cross-pollinate ideas and spot opportunities to build off of each other’s work.
  4. You are positioned to be a champion and cheerleader across departments – particularly important when trying to build internal engagement and rally support.
  5. You will pay for it! Few things are more painful (or expensive) than undoing work that never should’ve happened in the first place and wouldn’t have if the right people had been paying attention. Yes, I’m talking to you!

Furthermore, the company website is a prime opportunity for you to demonstrate your leadership ability. Spearheading an effective website redesign shows peers at the top of the org chart how marketing excels at telling the brand’s story while balancing internal requirements against user needs.

How involved is too involved?

When I say you should be involved, I don’t mean you should be constantly in the weeds. Of course, it doesn’t make sense for you to review every wireframe, but you should be fairly involved throughout planning and design, especially in the early stages when the project team is developing the content strategy and overall site experience. And you should keep in touch with the team as the work progresses, even dropping in on an occasional meeting to make sure everything is still aligned with the company’s broader vision and mission and not becoming diluted by too many cooks.

And, there’s an added bonus to being actively engaged in your website redesign. Your involvement will help keep your team more motivated, ultimately resulting in a better project outcome.

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