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Goodbye Corporate Website Hello Web Presence Management Framework?

These days, companies of all sizes have tired of the expense and complexity of many WCM / WEM solutions, and would dearly love agile alternatives. And, yes, there are lesser expensive options. But what may be the most important factor for a lot of companies, is a strong emphasis on the customer-focused web presence for the company. And this may mean that company web presence will show up on other websites, instead of on the corporate website — which leads to the notion of whether or not the “corporate website” is becoming obsolete for many types of companies.

Recently a colleague was exploring options for improving the web marketing capabilities of the company that he works for. He started his efforts by looking at “traditional” Web Content Management (WCM) software, with an eye to Web Experience (Engagement) Management platforms. But since his company is itself a mid-market-sized company, he was very uncomfortable with the options – and not just because of cost and time to implement. As conversations with his company management evolved, my colleague realized that he was not satisfied with a WCM / WEM solution because it didn’t seem to be the right platform for their web marketing strategy and business goals.

Web marketing and customer relationship strategies are changing (and improving) — companies need new solutions and practices to manage the new world. More companies have come to understand that first they must build the web marketing / presence strategy that will accomplish their goals. Then they have to figure out how to achieve the goals of the marketing strategy, which will involve preferred practices and processes, as well as technology. With web presence evolution, marketing strategies should include orchestration of web presence via other sites, and how to integrate with conversations and content from those external sites.

B2C or B2B – Which Organization Needs A Corporate Website?

Whether or not a company should have a corporate website can depend on many factors. For both B2C and B2B companies, content still matters and has to be located somewhere. The B2B company has the greater need for a corporate website, but must now evolve the corporate website to a social / customer hub.

B2C sales and marketing goals might be less about content per se and much more about customer conversations and brand awareness that take place anywhere on the web. Jeremiah Owyang points out that the corporate website is less and less the most likely place to connect with customers.

B2C – Time to Get Rid of the Monolithic Corporate Website?

Is the corporate website obsolete? Most corporate websites do not work well for customers. The sites are designed from the corporate POV, with too much useless content that is hard to find anyway. Frequently corporate websites become money pits, requiring too many resources over time compared to the benefits received.

Particularly for B2C businesses, new thinking is that the corporate website might be completely unnecessary for customer interactions and brand promotion. Going where the customers are, i.e. social sites, seems to be an effective way to better connect. Monitoring web presence and participating in conversations on other sites help companies reach out to current and new customers in ways that matter to these customers and can bring effective results to companies.

Current thinking is that social sites are taking sales endeavors to a new place since customers can now participate in spreading the word to potential customers through forums, communities, ratings, reviews. On the flip side, corporations have the responsibility of finding and responding to concerns, complaints, feedback and requests posted on social sites, hopefully to resolve problems, to engage and attract customers through answers, and to learn from customer POVs.

B2B Companies Still Benefit from Corporate Websites, With Social Improvements

One approach to introducing more web presence into corporate websites is to add improved social capabilities that interact well with customers and potential buyers. This approach appeals to companies that want a measure of control over customer “conversations” and also makes sense if the company is using social capabilities as part of a customer relationship and support strategy.

Content still matters for B2B websites — B2B are customers still looking for a lot of different kinds of content that they want to easily find on the corporate website. However, many potential B2B customers are also influenced by interactions and content on external social sites — the savvy B2B company had better understand the importance of such sites. Integration with and monitoring of social sites are key.

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