The first job of a website is to be useful

Duncan Stephen
Thursday 4 December 2014

The future of marketing is to be useful

Gerry McGovern provides a reminder that the first job of a website is to be useful.

I recently dealt with an organization that had employed an award-winning ad agency to help them become more ‘innovative’ and ‘interactive’. Millions upon millions were spent turning the website into an unusable art gallery of management vanity. For example, they had white text on a black background. (Have you noticed that ‘innovation’ in web design almost always involves black backgrounds?) As soon as the new website launched, sales plummeted. Within three months of the launch they were back to an old simple, useful design.

It seems that many marketers are on a slow march to irrelevancy (and ultimately redundancy). Their marketing efforts of silly images and vague, meaningless catchphrases are hurting the company. Online, traditional marketing is a brand killer.

“User experience will subsume much of what currently counts as digital marketing,” Kristin Low writes for ClickZ. The future is about being useful. Before the Web it was very hard to measure the effectiveness of marketing and communications. The Web and Big Data shine a brutal light on that which is not useful. Your organization may not yet have installed the right measurement system to allow that light to be shone. But pretty soon it will. Be ready. Be useful.

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