That moment when you realize your website is much more than a marketing project

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To kick off the new year, we held a cleaning bee around the office. Just like everywhere, a lot of junk had been accumulating under my desk. Original iPod mini? Check. The ever unpopular U-Force controller for Nintendo? Check. As we looked through boxes, I stumbled upon some dusty notes that I had taken from projects that we started a decade ago.

It’s a bit like going through old pictures to see how process and design trends have changed over the years, but the biggest difference to me was how one dimensional websites were back then. At the time, websites were the ultimate bolt-on marketing tool. They were a place that held all of your content and PDFs in a maze of information. Most of them were built primarily for lead generation, awareness, hours, service, product overviews and the like. It was clear that, back then, very little responsibility was given to the website outside of a marketing purpose.

Today, though marketing and sales may be the departments that drive the rebuild of a website, they sometimes become a small role player in the overall requirements of the organization’s goals. At zu, our website redesign projects always lead into discussions of opportunities around:

  • Sales
  • Recruitment
  • Process & workflow
  • Customer service & retention
  • Efficiencies
  • Legacy & backend systems
  • Data
  • Resourcing & culture
  • Innovation (Internet of Things, other bespoke software)

All of this encompasses a much wider scope and is misrepresented under the label of a “website redesign” project.

Lately I’ve been saying, ‘Your website planning should spark some of the best business strategy discussions you’ll ever have.’ This is a realization that everyone in the company needs to come in on the project sooner than later.

To get the most out of your website, it’s imperative to look at the big picture before you start. Not just the digital ecosystem, but the people involved. A project like this needs to be repositioned in the minds of the decision makers. Bringing your C-level personnel in early discussions can help connect the divisions of business that are all impacted by future digital projects. Bring in these key stakeholders at the beginning of a project and open their minds about digital transformation through facilitated discussions. Allow them to voice concerns and thoughts in a neutral setting (one spared from judgement, hierarchy or politics), this not only brings everyone’s ideas to the table early on, but also creates buy-in among decision makers, as they start to see the pieces fitting together.

Before we dive into website planning, we always recommend these types of early exploration workshops to build momentum within the organization, making the task of removing barriers easier - especially in regards to the budget. So remember: treat your project like a website redesign and you’ll receive a website budget. But, position your project as a transformational business improvement initiative and get ready for some of that sweet capital investment money.

If you have a new digital adventure to embark on, give us a shout!