If marketing and communications are converging, why are your customers still losing out?

Designing a corporate web presence that serves corporate digital, sales and marketing and your customers.

A few years ago, it was a struggle to get sales and marketing to believe customers visit the corporate website, let alone view the company’s corporate digital presence as a revenue opportunity. 

Things have moved on since then, and sales and marketing departments are open to the idea that the corporate web presence can be commercial. 

So if harmony is breaking out, what possibly could be the problem? 

Even in organizations with the best intentions, there are still big hurdles. I’ll talk about the three biggest ones that we see. Then I’ll look at some fixes that the best companies in the Bowen Craggs Index use to get the web presence working for all concerned – the digital communications team, sales and marketing, and your customers.

Structural rot

The organization structure does not encourage collaboration between digital communications and marketing, there is no clear direction from the top and the walls between the silos seem insurmountable.

Resource drought

Even in organizations with the structure and good will from the top that supports working together, a lack of dedicated resources to cross digital barriers holds people back. 

Alternative facts

Marketing and communications are converging, we are told, and we have certainly seen it happen – in a few organizations. In many others though, the two sides have “alternative facts” – separate digital platforms, different goals, different data and different ideas about what customer success looks like. 

There are no quick fixes, but there are things you can do to build bridges, offer value and speak the same language, and stop playing the zero-sum game.

Prove threats and opportunities with the right data

What does “right” look like? It depends on your situation and what will resonate. You could show how many customers visiting the corporate web presence are failing to achieve their goals. Surveys across our client base show that customers are by far the most likely to fail, an inconvenient fact. One third of those who fail come out with a worse brand perception. That’s even more inconvenient. Speaking in terms of customer failure and brand reputation across hundreds of thousands of website visits tends to get attention!

Share the referral numbers

Establish how many customers you send from the corporate site to brand or business sites, and compare this to how much they are paying Google for traffic. They are getting your traffic for free, and it is higher quality – people who chose to spend time with you.

Show them the way

If you get nothing else right about serving customers on your web presence, you need good user journeys. The best companies know what customers want on their digital presence before they do. This requires some dedicated time to think through because every company is different. But there are common models to follow – for example, the single site model, where the selling happens all in one place; or the geographic model, where it happens on country sites. Going through customer scenarios across your whole ecosystem is like tugging at a thread – you see if the fabric holds, or unravels.

Be the editorial centre of excellence…

For a lot of companies, customer podcasts and thought leadership are core to marketing. But customer content needs to be authentic, genuinely valuable and joined up with other communications messages, around sustainability for example. 

…And the greenwash detector

Increasingly sustainability is not just peripheral but the core marketing message, and you as the corporate digital professional need to be there to put a check on things before the message crosses the line into greenwashing. All of this is a core competency of corporate digital and a prime opportunity to show value to the business and share resources.

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    The Bowen Craggs Index Snapshot 2022

    Astra Zeneca Logo

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    Verizon Logo

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    Our Bowen Craggs Club membership has enabled us to benchmark all aspects of our digital presence against global all-sector best practice, share lessons and ideas with peers, and get both quick-win and longer term recommendations for improvement. Bowen Craggs is also providing us with valuable advice on our approach to online communications following the acquisition of G4S by Allied Universal.”
     

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