As more and more companies use websites as the key driver for business, marketers are challenged with aligning a system of tools to deliver. Let's take a look at how Best-in-Class companies are doing this.

Corporate websites have come a long way since Global Network Navigator (GNN), the first commercial website, was introduced in 1993. Today, your site is your business, and often the first reference point for buyers seeking information about products and services, and for customers seeking support or exploring new offerings.

Increasingly, companies are relying on web presence as more than a source of information for buyers -- they’re counting on a web experience that actually drives business. In fact, Aberdeen’s Targeting and Personalization Drives the Marketing Executive’s Agenda for 2013 report shows that between organic search/SEO (11%) and direct/referral traffic (14%), the web accounts for an average of 25 percent of all marketing responses.

To make the most of these interactions, Best-in-Class companies approach their web marketing as an integrated system, including strong integration between the web experience, web content and marketing automation. Let’s look at each of these areas.

Web Experience

As the website becomes an extension of the lead management process, it’s critical that Marketing actually gets control of their site. I don’t necessarily mean control from a technical perspective (though that may make sense), but control from an authoring perspective.

Marketing is able to make site content changes without technical support in 67 percent of Best-in-Class companies, compared with 57 percent of Industry Average and 42 percent of Laggards in Aberdeen’s June 2012 Web Experience Management study. Moreover, these companies (the ones in which Marketing is in direct control of content) report an average nine percent improvement (i.e. reduction) in the production cycle of web content versus no improvement for all other companies. Perhaps more to the point, their website conversion rates are 139 percent higher!

Web Content

If the mantra of modern multi-channel, multi-touch marketing is right message/offer, right person, right time, right channel, then the corollary for web experience as a branch of the multi-channel strategy is right content, right person, right time. In many ways, it’s helpful to think of content as the offer itself. Aberdeen’s October 2012 Content Marketing Comes of Age research shows that Best-in-Class companies are 67 percent more likely than all others to define a content marketing map (35% versus 21%). The idea here is to align marketing content, including web content, with buyer persona and buying stage (i.e. researching, considering, evaluating, etc.).