SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Gary Arora, Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

The Corporate Website: Reports of Its Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

“Company websites will be gone in the next two years.”

I heard this statement uttered at an event not too long ago by a marketer I know well, and I was taken aback. Sure, I thought, maybe she was just rabble-rousing a bit—trying to get a rise out of people on a shuttle ride to our next event. But whether she believed it or not, it struck me as amazing that we would even consider the topic. While much has changed since the early days of “brochureware,” the corporate website is still, and should remain, the linchpin in the arsenal of most B2B and B2C marketers. In fact, a Gartner survey reports that marketers still rank the corporate website as the most important tool for a successful marketing campaign. For many companies, the website is one of the first and most important touch points a prospect or existing customer will have with your brand. In fact, seven of the last 10 new Right Source clients have asked us to address their website before we jumped into anything like content marketing, search engine optimization or social media.

Now, a little history about how websites got here.

The Dawn of Websites

Websites have come a long way from where I remember them in 1997, coding static HTML and many an animated GIF. If you want to have some fun, look back in Archive.org, the Internet’s way-back machine. At the time, there was a land grab of sorts—it was important to get something up on the web that looked as much like your printed collateral as possible, so that whoever was using this web thing might be able to find your business. There were no real Content Management Systems (CMSs) to speak of, which meant that most marketers who wanted to update their sites either had to wait patiently for IT or rely on outside firms to make updates.

The Rise of the CMS, Search and Social

Fast-forward a few years to the rise of the affordable CMS, and with it the growth of the technology-enabled marketer. Marketers no longer had to rely on outside firms or that overburdened IT staff, giving them freedom to publish more remarkable content—and to experiment more. The corporate website evolution—and the rise of brands as publishers—was beginning. At the same time, the importance of search engines was multiplied when we needed a way to organize this exploding amount of information.

But the corporate website was truly tested with the growth of social media as a channel. Why pay for a website when blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other properties were all free—and already had a built-in audience?

RIP Corporate Website?

Here’s where the crux of the earlier referenced debate comes in—why shouldn’t companies just build their presences in social media and kill the website?

Many brands look to not just leverage social media but put all of their eggs in that basket. Social media properties offer the opportunity for brands to build their presence without having to worry about the technology at all—free blogs hosted on Blogger, free brand pages on Facebook, etc.

Why worry about your own website, self-hosting a blog, paying for servers, etc., when somebody else will do that all for you, and all at no charge? So, why is this such a bad idea?

The Re-Imagined Corporate Website

By now, many of us have read the Gartner research stating that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. Whether you believe this to be wholly true or just directional progression (I believe the latter), there’s no question that marketing continues to rely more and more on the core components of content, data, and technology. An effective, modern corporate website helps marketers in each of these areas.

Content  

We cover content marketing in amazing detail on our blog, so I won’t go too deep in this post. Suffice it to say that a great many of the benefits of content are lost if they never live on a property that you own. The content (and links to that content) don’t directly help your domain from a search engine standpoint, don’t live in an environment where you can control the brand, and are subject to somebody else’s whims. If Facebook decides to change the rules on you, you’re stuck. If Google shutters Blogger, you are out of luck. If Yahoo decides they want to run Tumblr differently, too bad for you. You get the idea—a significant portion of your content needs to live on properties you own—whether that’s a blog on your site, a resource center/content library, etc., or you are taking a huge risk with all of that content that you consistently work so hard to create.

Data and Technology

From the ubiquitous use of the term Big Data, to the importance of website analytics, to the rapid growth of data-driven (and content-driven) marketing automation tools, marketers are now being asked to serve as data scientists. Marketing budgets are determined based on metrics, analysis and ROI, not who has the prettiest creative. Corporate websites, and their associated technology, serve as the central station for the collection, analysis, and delivery of many of those data components. The re-imagined website serves as the main marketing hub, handling everything from housing lead generation forms and managing lead scoring activities, to coupling your web usage information with Big Data initiatives. Your website is one of the best sources and destinations for your data-driven marketing. Are you really comfortable with this repository of information and data being outside of your control? Would you be 100 percent certain that you could get the data you wanted when you needed it to show results?

Long Live the Modern Website

We’ve come a long way from the days of static brochures serving as the corporate website. The explosion of content as a primary marketing channel, the increased importance of Search Engine Optimization, and the use of technology and data in marketing have evolved the website into a critical central marketing hub. “Company websites will be gone in the next 2 years?”  I think the exact opposite. While off-site channels will continue to have their place, the most successful marketers will continue to understand that the modern corporate website is here to stay.

Is your website equipped to deliver on the powerful intersection of content, data and technology? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.  If you’re unsure, consider executing a web presence auditcontact us for more information.

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Will Davis

Right Source Marketing helps organizations build their marketing strategy, organize the structure to accommodate that strategy, and deliver the specific services to execute that strategy. We do this through a unique model that provides senior level strategic consulting as well as specific services that cover every area of an organization’s marketing plan.

Latest Stories
Every organization is facing their own Digital Transformation as they attempt to stay ahead of the competition, or worse, just keep up. Each new opportunity, whether embracing machine learning, IoT, or a cloud migration, seems to bring new development, deployment, and management models. The results are more diverse and federated computing models than any time in our history.
On-premise or off, you have powerful tools available to maximize the value of your infrastructure and you demand more visibility and operational control. Fortunately, data center management tools keep a vigil on memory contestation, power, thermal consumption, server health, and utilization, allowing better control no matter your cloud's shape. In this session, learn how Intel software tools enable real-time monitoring and precise management to lower operational costs and optimize infrastructure...
"Calligo is a cloud service provider with data privacy at the heart of what we do. We are a typical Infrastructure as a Service cloud provider but it's been designed around data privacy," explained Julian Box, CEO and co-founder of Calligo, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web. With staff in 10 timezones, Isomorphic provides a global network of services related to our technology, with offerings ranging from turnkey application development to SLA-backed enterprise support. Leadin...
While a hybrid cloud can ease that transition, designing and deploy that hybrid cloud still offers challenges for organizations concerned about lack of available cloud skillsets within their organization. Managed service providers offer a unique opportunity to fill those gaps and get organizations of all sizes on a hybrid cloud that meets their comfort level, while delivering enhanced benefits for cost, efficiency, agility, mobility, and elasticity.
DevOps has long focused on reinventing the SDLC (e.g. with CI/CD, ARA, pipeline automation etc.), while reinvention of IT Ops has lagged. However, new approaches like Site Reliability Engineering, Observability, Containerization, Operations Analytics, and ML/AI are driving a resurgence of IT Ops. In this session our expert panel will focus on how these new ideas are [putting the Ops back in DevOps orbringing modern IT Ops to DevOps].
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Enterprises are striving to become digital businesses for differentiated innovation and customer-centricity. Traditionally, they focused on digitizing processes and paper workflow. To be a disruptor and compete against new players, they need to gain insight into business data and innovate at scale. Cloud and cognitive technologies can help them leverage hidden data in SAP/ERP systems to fuel their businesses to accelerate digital transformation success.
Most organizations are awash today in data and IT systems, yet they're still struggling mightily to use these invaluable assets to meet the rising demand for new digital solutions and customer experiences that drive innovation and growth. What's lacking are potent and effective ways to rapidly combine together on-premises IT and the numerous commercial clouds that the average organization has in place today into effective new business solutions.
Concerns about security, downtime and latency, budgets, and general unfamiliarity with cloud technologies continue to create hesitation for many organizations that truly need to be developing a cloud strategy. Hybrid cloud solutions are helping to elevate those concerns by enabling the combination or orchestration of two or more platforms, including on-premise infrastructure, private clouds and/or third-party, public cloud services. This gives organizations more comfort to begin their digital tr...
Keeping an application running at scale can be a daunting task. When do you need to add more capacity? Larger databases? Additional servers? These questions get harder as the complexity of your application grows. Microservice based architectures and cloud-based dynamic infrastructures are technologies that help you keep your application running with high availability, even during times of extreme scaling. But real cloud success, at scale, requires much more than a basic lift-and-shift migrati...
David Friend is the co-founder and CEO of Wasabi, the hot cloud storage company that delivers fast, low-cost, and reliable cloud storage. Prior to Wasabi, David co-founded Carbonite, one of the world's leading cloud backup companies. A successful tech entrepreneur for more than 30 years, David got his start at ARP Instruments, a manufacturer of synthesizers for rock bands, where he worked with leading musicians of the day like Stevie Wonder, Pete Townsend of The Who, and Led Zeppelin. David has ...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Addteq is a leader in providing business solutions to Enterprise clients. Addteq has been in the business for more than 10 years. Through the use of DevOps automation, Addteq strives on creating innovative solutions to solve business processes. Clients depend on Addteq to modernize the software delivery process by providing Atlassian solutions, create custom add-ons, conduct training, offer hosting, perform DevOps services, and provide overall support services.