by Jon Franko

First of all, here’s my obligatory sentence about how I haven’t posted in a long time and I’m really sorry and it won’t happen again and etcetera. But hey – cut me some slack. I’ve been busy. In the past few months, we’ve been running wild at Gorilla. Not complaining, as we all know, busy is a good thing. But busy nonetheless. We’ve a new face around the office, wished another well as he left to pursue a new venture, and we’re in the process of hiring another writer. Oh, and it’s duck season – which anyone who follows me on Twitter  probably knows.

Oh yeah, the blog post. Sorry.

Recently, Joe and I had the opportunity to show some work and tell a little bit about ourselves to a local B2B industrial company. I can’t tell you much more than that, but it’s really not important. These guys are very good at what they do and we’d love the opportunity to explore some work with them. They’re on our new business board and have been a prospect for quite some time now.

Anyway, upon arriving at the office of the company, we found ourselves with about a five-minute wait until our invitee was available to meet. Which was great. Their reception area was one of the more interesting ones I’ve been in. There were lots and lots of framed pictures, awards, news clippings, miniature replicas representing the work they did. It was like a little museum for the company. They had a great story to tell and they clearly cared about the perception that anyone walking through their doors would have of their company.

Unfortunately, none of this passion translated to their marketing materials.

Not online. Not in print. Not even in their email addresses (yep – you guessed it – some @hotmail.com’ers). This was a company with some of the richest history we’ve ever come across, with award-winning project after project and a history that roots back more than a half a century. It’s a family-owned business gone huge. A five-minute wait in their reception area will tell you that.

But, their website won’t. Nor will any of their marketing materials. And to me, fundamentally, that’s a problem. A huge problem.

Yes, B2B marketing is much bigger than branding now, but…

Let me go on the record and state that there’s so much more to what we can do as marketers now than simply build brand image. The rise of web marketing has made that very apparent. And because of all there is for us to do, we’ve succeeded as a company at Gorilla. But, if you refuse to buy into online marketing, if you believe that every customer that you can possibly do business with already knows about you (which they don’t by the way), and you can scientifically, mathematically prove that web-marketing doesn’t matter, well, I won’t argue with you.

But, looking nice still matters. And I will argue that until I’m thrown out of your office.

As a company, you care about how your employees dress…

Shirts must be tucked in and nothing short of a golf shirt and khakis are acceptable. You make sure that every damn thing you touch has a giant company logo emblazoned on it. You worry about the appearance of your office (is it clean?) when a client is coming by.

Yet, your company’s website, the most visible and visited asset you have as a B2B serving company, well, you don’t give it a second thought. Your cousin’s sister’s roommate’s mechanic’s dog’s uncle’s aunt’s wife’s nephew built it eight years ago in between sessions with the Sims. What the hell do you need to update your site for?

Our answer?

Lots. Mobile devices, new best web practices, projects you need to be showing off, and a consumer that is way more digitally savvy than you’d ever imagine. So do yourself a favor – give your website the due attention it deserves. After all, it’s often the first touchpoint any of your potential consumers will ever make with your brand. If it’s bad, it might just be their last.

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