Not too long ago, a client of mine introduced me to a business associate and said “This is Joe from Gorilla. They’re our Website Guys.”
I was immediately caught off guard.
Website Guys. Ugh.
In my mind, we were their marketing consultancy. Their digital marketing advisors. The marketing experts they commissioned to get their company from point A to point B.
Yes, their website was a piece of all that.
But I never would have defined our role as their “Website Guys.”
And that’s when I had the revelation that prompted this article:
To leadership at many B2B companies, there is no discernible difference between website management and digital marketing.
Both of these things happen in an online universe that many business leaders only somewhat understand (or care to understand). So naturally, they lump it all together and hand it to their “Website Guys.”
But these two functions – website management and digital marketing – serve very different purposes, and I’m here to make that distinction.
Let’s kick it off with a few quick analogies:
- Your health. Your vision is immensely important to your overall health. But your Ophthalmologist doesn’t perform your annual checkup or diagnose you with hypertension when your blood pressure reads 150 over 90.
- Your house. A flooring contractor will help you decide what you’ll be walking on. But he certainly isn’t drawing up the blueprints for your new home.
- Your money. Your tax accountant will do her part to assure Uncle Sam doesn’t steal your whole nest egg in April. But she isn’t managing your investment portfolio.
So why then do we take all of our “online stuff,” mush it up into a ball and toss it to some people we call The Website Guys?
I’d like to step back and apologize to any readers of this article who are web designers, owners/staffers at web design agencies or IT folks who someone forced to manage their company’s website. I realize the title of this article may have forced your eyebrows into a downward-facing V shape and caused your abs to tighten up a bit.
But despite what the title might imply, believe me when I say I have loads of respect for the many things you do that I certainly can’t. Your role is unquestionably critical. And I’m not here to bash it.
Instead, I’m here to clarify what responsibilities (from my point of view) shouldn’t be lumped into yours.
So on that note (and with my rant behind me), I bring you….
The roles of your Digital Marketing Team
This person (or agency) is first and foremost an advisor to your business development strategy. I believe they have four specific roles.
Your Digital Marketing Team is hired to help you:
- Create focus . Guide you in creating marketing focus around the best opportunities and your desired outcomes
- Develop strategy. Research and design objective plans that they (and you) are confident will get you to those outcomes
- Implement or guide implementation . Assure those plans are executed on strategy and as cost-effectively as possible (whether by their team, your team, other expert practitioners or a combination of these)
- Drive the continuous improvement process . Measure and interpret results, make changes to the plan, repeat
That Digital Marketing Team will fulfill these four roles by helping you:
- Define and document what your ideal customer looks like at both a company and human level and craft positioning language that will resonate with them
- Identify how and where those individuals go to seek information online, as well as what type of information they’re seeking
- Plan and implement a digital content strategy that addresses their buying triggers, problems, goals and common questions
- Design and deploy a lead generation strategy for your website that will attract those ideal future customers, engage them and pull them into your Sales funnel
- Lay the foundational elements of your website to facilitate this lead-generation process
- Co-manage your inbound pipeline by enabling your Sales team with data, processes and content to optimize their time
- Select and implement the essential Marketing and Sales technologies (CRM, Marketing Automation and Analytics tools)
- Deploy systems to tangibly measure results of all these initiatives and drive a continuous improvement process from your learnings
Don’t get me wrong.
I’ve encountered my share of web design agencies that do all this stuff and do it really well too. But I’ve seen far more whose specialties are confined to the website’s aesthetics and keeping its information up to date.
And those functions are very different from the bullet points I’ve just laid out.
If your Website Guys are doing all of these things effectively, then let’s call them what they are:
Your Digital Marketing Team.
If not, it’s time to think about how to separate those two roles.