CEO at Gerry McGovern
12 November 2004 12:59pm
Why are so many marketers so clueless when it comes to web content? My background is in marketing, and I have always felt that the Web is a communications and marketing medium. Over the last three of years, I have done workshops on content management in 31 countries. I have also done private consulting with some of the world's largest organizations, helping them develop more effective websites.
Last week I had a talk with an IT manager in one such organization. I was amazed at how clued in this person was, not about IT, but about web marketing. He talked about appropriate targeting, about creating content that moved the customer to a point of action.
He really knew his stuff. And like many other people in his situation, he complained to me about the "marketing people" who still didn't get it. The marketing people who were still enthralled by big graphics and who still think that cutting edge web design means using the latest version of Flash. The marketing people who can get excited about search engine optimization and buying keyword ads, but keep forgetting that bringing someone to your website is only the first step.
I have asked thousands of people in practically every continent in the world what they do when they see a Flash intro. "Skip Intro" they all shout without hesitation. About a month ago, an executive from a web design company told me a story about a potential client who came to him looking for a "Skip Intro" for his website.
If commerce is selling with people, then e-commerce is selling with content. Content management is about getting the best out of your content. The reason why much content management is still seen as technical is because many marketers and communicators have shied away from embracing it as a core part of their job.
And metadata? No self-respecting marketer would be seen dead near metadata. It is simply not a skill you would put on your resume. Do you know what the title metadata is on the Ryanair homepage? "Ryanair.com - The Low Fares Airline - 50% cheaper than easyJet"
"What about branding on the Web?" Every time I hear that phrase, I want to reach for the puke bucket. It's not that I don't believe in branding, but rather that the person who usually wields that question is the last person you should ever let near developing a web branding strategy for your website. (Particularly if they happen to work for an advertising agency; the single most clueless bunch of people I have ever met when it comes to developing an effective web strategy.)
There is a huge role and a very bright future for marketers who truly understand web content, and know how to use it to drive profitable actions. Unfortunately, many marketers I meet are not rising to the challenge.
The IT manager I wrote about earlier in this piece knows that the Web is not about IT, but rather about marketing. He has thus focused his energies on learning about effective web marketing. His reward for doing this is that he is now in charge of the website, and can tell all the traditional marketers in the organization what to do.
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