Filling The Void Between Web Marketing and Development


Filling The Void Between Web Marketing and Development

Often, I meet with business owners, marketing directors and sales teams who have spent a lot of money on new sites, SEO, social media or AdWords, but they still aren’t getting the leads and return they had hoped for.

It is no real secret that content publishing, search engine optimization, social interaction and ad spends can drive more traffic to your site. Every experienced marketing agency on the planet will tell you that. So why aren’t sales increasing?

To understand the reason, LevelTen typically performs a gap analysis. In the management literature, gap analysis is the comparison of actual performance with potential performance. By analyzing sales/marketing goals, plans and challenges, we can often determine why a business is failing to meet its online sales and marketing goals. Most of the time, it can be corrected by changing the mentality and structure of the team and technology.

The Marketing and Development Gap

There is a gap between web development and marketing communities, and most under-performing websites on the Internet fall into this void. It is a disconnect between marketer and developer. Many agencies struggle to fill the void because they either lack the technical web development team to create or implement the marketing tools, or lack the marketing acumen to recognize what tools and executable actions are needed in order to achieve the desired result. An ideal solution would be to hire a marketing expert who is also a great web developer, but finding such an employee is almost impossible.

MARKETER's technical Challenge

This is a challenge that many companies and consultants face, but few have solved. Even some of the largest advertising agencies in Dallas will admit to this failure. In fact, I’ve spoken with several agency owners and marketing managers who tried hiring and managing a web development staff, but their own lack of experience in managing technical resources led to failure.

Both IBM and Adobe have noticed this gap and have made strategic acquisitions to solve this problem by purchasing additional software that can be integrated into their platforms. Adobe's absorption of Omniture and IBM's acquisitions of Coremetrics and Unica paint a pretty clear picture:

  • Marketers Ready to Bridge the ‘Data Analysis to Action’ Gap: Nearly 60 percent of respondents listed “measurement, analysis and learning” as their top information technology (IT) bottleneck, whereas last year, they overwhelmingly viewed “IT support of marketing needs” at the top. More than 60 percent identified “turning data into action” as their top organizational issue.
  • Marketing Technology in Demand: Nearly 90 percent of respondents expressed interest in an integrated marketing suite, as the industry’s need for technology grows and adoption matures. More than half of marketers cited technology as the key to productivity, in particular, to resolving the challenges of meaningful measurement and analysis, and to choosing the next best course of action.
  • Marketing Silos Limit Cross-Channel Marketing: Marketers believe in the concept of Interactive Marketing, but have more progress to make toward this vision. While responses suggest that interest in achieving truly integrated cross-channel dialogs with customers is high, nearly half of survey participants report that they are only partially achieving that goal. The key barrier is organizational structure and internal processes. Regardless, 57% report the adoption of inbound marketing methods (personalized targeting/messaging) in their web channels.

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Why is filling this gap important?

More times than not, it’s this gap that causes failure. Often times, the marketing team either cannot or does not understand the technical aspects of online marketing that can make a huge difference between success and failure. For example, driving traffic to a website may not increase conversion rates – you may need technical changes to the website in order to accomplish this goal. Increasing conversion rates won’t necessarily increase traffic – you need ongoing marketing to achieve this goal. And what good is either if you cannot successfully capture and manage leads, gather accurate user data from analytics, or properly setup a leads funnel? You see, all of these things help your business grow and they must all work in harmony to be affective.

So what is the solution?

Here are a few recommendations:

  1. Take a step back to truly understand/document your sales and marketing goals, list challenges or impediments that you face, research and find solutions to address these challenges.
  2. Research best-of-breed solutions that integrate with other best-of-breed systems through well-documented APIs.
  3. Create unified dashboards between best of breed solutions. If the solutions you choose have well-documented APIs, you should have the ability to create these dashboards.
  4. Ensure the agency you work with has a tight integration between marketing and development teams that communicate well and can accurately and efficiently translate your sales and marketing goals into actionable plans.
  5. Develop ways to successful integrate marketing analytics with CRM systems so businesses can intelligently make business decisions and respond quickly.
LevelTen Insight Dashboard Report

The demand is here and solutions are being created to fill the void. While IBM and Adobe make acquisitions and seek to keep proprietary software viable, smaller businesses like LevelTen are taking a more agile, open-source approach by tying popular systems together through web services. Tom McCracken (a marketing guru with extremely savvy development chops) at LevelTen Interactive spearheads the initiative, leveraging APIs from Google, AddThis, Disqus, MailChimp, HubSpot and several other best-of-breed providers, then ties them all together with analyzers, dashboards, scoring and consolidated reporting within Drupal.

If your business has dealt with or is dealing with the issues above, I would love to hear from you. The void is a dark and lonely place. Perhaps LevelTen can share a solution that brings you back into the light.

Photo By: Mc Knoell

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