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Just Another B2B Website?

The thing that’s getting right up my not insignificant nose at the moment is the, ‘it’s just another website’ response from the stupid people.

You know who they are. They know who they are. You may even be one of them. I certainly know who they are. They are the people who simply aren’t moving at the speed of digital yet. They’re the people who stand up at conferences (still) and proclaim that it’s now OK to use Twitter for B2B communications. We know that. We knew that a few years ago. Digital has passed these people by. When the God of Digital was handing out megablessings and terabytes, these people were sleeping on their etchings. So, in their minds, ‘digital’ means ‘website’.

That’s a bit of a problem. It means that they will never actually reach the end of any digital proposal. They only ever get as far as the word ‘online’ and then instinctively say, “Oh, it’s just another website then. We don’t want another website. We’ve already got one.”

Well, actually, no you haven’t. What you have is a lumbering repository of turd that no one wants to visit. You have the online equivalent of the Glastonbury Festival Portable Toilets. A thing so full of crap that only as the very last resort will people reach for your URL to polish their posterior. You can call it a website, but it’s just a big, steaming sewer of turd. And more importantly, I wasn’t even talking about a website. I was talking about delivering something sweet smelling and wonderful, but you’re NOT listening.

There is a self-evident truth that digital communications delivery will manifest itself on a screen. It might be your computer monitor or your laptop. Increasingly, it’s your mobile device. Alternatively, it may be a TV screen or even a standalone projection. Yes, it requires a screen. That’s how we read, view and listen to content. That doesn’t make it ‘just a website’. If you’re really clever, building a website doesn’t even result in a website any more. Digital does not equal website.

Now that that’s clear, maybe we can actually discuss what’s in the proposal? Digital delivery encompasses peer group influence, audience engagement, brand advocacy, sentiment analysis, predictive modelling, augmented reality… weird shit. We can actually deliver weird shit that was unheard of less than a year ago – conceive it, build it, deliver it. Phone apps, games, interactive e-commerce, blogging platforms, hashtag campaigning, social engagement, video based corporate awareness, hell, I’ve even seen a WordPress blog take 20,000 unique hits in 10 days and turn into a political pressure group with letters being written to MPs and everything. You could argue it was ‘just a website’, but you’d lose. It was a customer uprising that was channelled through the internet – because digital can do that.

Digital campaigns can be launched within hours. Not days, or weeks, or months. I recently shook hands at the end of a prospective client meeting and had the project live and broadcasting to the world four hours later. That was ‘just a website’ too. But it was fast. It was really fast. It left the client’s competitors in the dust – wondering what to do, how to respond. Competitive advantage is a rare commodity in a business world – it’s hard to find a good reason to pick one brand instead of another. Digital helps to provide several good reasons.

Digital delivery provides a welcome opportunity to improve the customer experience and serve up all kinds of brand differentiation across all kinds of channels, all at once. The integration between your brand strategy, its digital delivery, and your customer experience is no longer just talk, or just an idea, or just a website. If you are to engage with customers where and when they want to hear from you, it’s mandatory. Your website doesn’t do that. Your website never will. Your customers are looking for a compelling brand experience online and there’s more you can offer them than ‘just another website’. It’s time to read to the end of the proposal and start thinking beyond it.

Scot McKee
Managing Director
Birddog Ltd.
+44 (0)20 7323 6666
twitter: @ScotMcKee