Mission Creep (from within)
At first a web project can seem like just another marketing activity. Internal stakeholders can take time to understand the full value a website can bring to the business and their part of it. They often want to become more involved once the project is well under way and this can throw up challenges. Here are some of the issues we come across:
The Business Proposition
A new website project is often the result of a change in strategy, an altered business structure, a new sales push or the introduction of new product or service offerings. If there is any lack of clarity around the business proposition and you wait until you are developing the copy/content for the site before you address this you will most likely find that you have to restructure the site, add new areas, or ‘shoe-horn’ inappropriately to avoid incurring further budget. Content discussions always spark questions around strategy and proposition, which is fine – if you have plenty of time and budget contingency!
- Engage key senior and business unit owners/stakeholders early to ensure that the site is structured in line with the business proposition both now and catering as much as possible for the future (the next couple of years if possible)
- Make sure you have updated your proposition messaging before you begin developing copy to ensure you are bang on message both at and beyond launch.
Make sure budgets include the cost of imagery (custom photography, stock imagery, iconography, diagrammatic development) to support both on page content (web pages) and off page content (product and service collateral, customer reference stories, white papers and so on). Video is also critical here – particularly when conveying a complex message or a physical product; think customer.
- Don’t skimp; keep in mind that people remember 80% of what they see and only 20% of what they read. Allow budget flex, this can cost more than you think.
Senior management and stakeholders can get excited when they know more about the new website and ask for additional capabilities that you haven’t specified in the original brief. New functionality or capabilities may incur alteration to site structure, integration work with other business tools, involvement from and additional workloads for other employees within the organization.
- Make sure that all departments have been involved in (and have given proper consideration to) the specification of the requirements of the site up front whether they want to be involved or not! Provide them with a deadline for input too and be sure that they know and understand they have been consulted to avoid later complaint/frustration.
Business integration & value
Your new site can add considerable further value when integrated with other critical business functions – in particular sales or product marketing. CRM integration (to be able to support sales) and marketing automation for example should be considered if your goals are to drive brand awareness and inbound leads but they represent additional costs AND incur further resource (money, skills and time) to support and leverage them properly.
- Spec’ requirements up front as part of the brief to check that chosen software can support your tools – e.g. Salesforce.com and Hubspot or Marketo and understand the cost implication of integration work (not just in terms of supplier budget but also any hidden costs associated with the incurred impact on internal resources to support the effort).
A plea to the CEO/CFO!
You may think:
“The Website? How big a job can it be? Surely we will have the site up in a month or two?”
Wrong! It will take longer than you think; web projects can take 6 months or more to bring to fruition – from the development of the supplier brief through site design, build, UAT, content creation and population, final checks and launch plans.
- See your website as a strategic brand asset
- Manage expectations carefully – establish and communicate timelines and take time to explain what is required to get it right
A final reminder: However much detailed planning you have done, still set aside 10-15% budget for ‘unseens’. With luck these tips might provide just a little help in avoiding having to use it!
Thanks for reading and Good luck☺