You are here

Embrace the next generation

  Richard BushDespite the long-standing promise of the paperless office, businesses still need to produce, store and access documents. The short term opportunity is to make use of a digital system. Elision ( is a good example of a medium sized specialist services business, primarily selling to large enterprises in sectors with large customer bases. Its marketing opportunities and challenges are familiar; how to engage with and convince a range of decision makers that they should employ Elision.

There's no doubt the website has a role to play, but what is that role? How do decision makers plan an approach and select a supplier? Where will they look for inspiration, information and guidance? Is it realistic for Elision's website to take that 'portal' role or is someone already providing that? If they are, when during the buying process can we draw them to the site and how? And what do we want them to do when they get there?

Obvious questions? Perhaps, but questions that I suspect have not been asked by Elision. Which is why its site is simply an online brochure. This is inevitable if you do not develop a web strategy within the context of your overall sales and marketing approach.

The first two elements of the Evaluator results can be achieved without a strategy and any web designer worth his salt can produce a reasonably-designed interface that reflects your brand. The next three elements – Interest, In-the-game and Intelligent – are dependent on an in-depth understanding of your audience, who they are, what they do and don't know, how they are most likely to get to your site and what they will do when they get there.

Without this level of planning it is impossible to create a home page that grabs their attention and compels them to go further. Elision is selling to difficult audiences, including public sector and utilities – which have complex buying processes – but the buyers themselves are no more complex than someone running a small business. By thinking about the individual rather than the organisations they work for, it could provide a more rewarding experience.