In 2011, then-CEO of Nokia Stephen Elop sent out an infamous memo. He said the entire company was “standing on a burning platform.” It wasn’t a single catastrophic incident that lit the fire; rather, it was a long-smoldering stagnation, a failure to innovate. The company had fallen so far behind in the industry that they faced an existential crisis. Does this remind you of your website marketing strategy?
How a website becomes a burning platform
Your website is your single most valuable digital asset from a marketing perspective. But in spite of this, the website marketing strategy is often nonexistent; nobody “owns” it. Sites themselves are neglected, taken for granted, and allowed to stagnate.
When websites experience stability or security concerns, it’s obvious the platform is on fire and people act. But what about a website that’s just stuck in a state of mediocrity? That’s much closer to the Nokia situation, where complacency leads to an unacceptable status quo.
Many websites operate like a slow-motion catastrophe — the very platform your business is built upon is burning down around you, but the process is so gradual, many accept it as the norm.
Here’s how to tell if your website is a burning platform. And, more importantly, what to do if it is.
Four Signs Your Website Strategy Is Burning
1. Your Site Is “Stable” But Static
Symptom: Your website boasts 100-percent uptime, but the experience hasn’t changed since last year and you’re not in control of the roadmap.
When a website is frozen in time, every part of the marketing process suffers. Messaging, positioning, SEO, and brand fall behind, making it harder to attract attention and inspire engagement and conversion.
Websites typically stagnate if marketers don’t have the authority and access to update them. Historically, it made sense for IT to own this technology, both for security reasons and because development was too complex for a non-expert. Now, however, there are fewer reasons why marketers should be stuck in the IT queue for even the simplest tweak.
2. Your Content Marketing Isn’t Real-Time
Symptom: You can’t publish content without going through specialists, or worrying that you’ll break the site.
We’ve all heard the proverb, “content is king.” It’s been said so many times that anyone who says it in earnest should make a donation to the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. But it’s true: Your marketing campaigns live and die with content.
Content is what leads search engines to point people to your website. Content allows you to address your customers’ changing needs and wants. It’s how you provide the value that builds relationships and leads to conversions.
For this reason, marketers — who deeply understand target audiences and market trends — are best positioned to own website content. Marketers should be able to update content quickly, on their own, whenever they need to, without asking permission or living in fear of something going horribly awry when they hit “publish.”
3. You Can’t Tweak The Design
Symptom: You can’t easily make minor design changes because the process for making design changes is cumbersome or depends on scarce resources.
Design is more than cool graphics. It’s the ability to visually guide users through your website via a user interface that is aesthetically pleasing and well-executed. Without an avenue to instantly update broken links and outdated or missing images, or add necessary design elements, that user experience can be ruined.
Marketers should be the most authoritative voice in their marketing website’s design. They should be able to control the user experience, in order to create a journey that guides visitors through the funnel to a conversion.
4. Constantly Fighting a Martech Frankenstack
Symptom: Your website sits on a mountain of cobbled-together tech, and a tangled mess of additional workflows, and you’re constantly putting out fires.
“Okay, we want to drive traffic to this gated asset, but we can’t host the PDF onsite and we can’t embed it in the page, so we’ll make it a public dropbox link instead. And we can’t create our own form, so we’ll pull in this third-party solution and have it drop to the CRM, then we’ll kludge it over to….” If this type of conversation happens frequently in your marketing meetings, it might feel like you’re solving problems, but it also might signify that you’re on a burning platform.
Your marketing website should be able to guide the customer through their entire journey, deploying technology that helps automate and personalize that journey, without resorting to a frankenstack of workarounds. If you’re constantly putting out little flare ups, there’s a good chance that if you take a step back you’ll realize that actually everything is on fire.
Three Steps to Fixing Your Marketing Website Strategy
“Everything that you do is going to end up driving to your website. If you’re putting out press releases, people go to your website. If you’re doing lead nurturing, people will end up at your website. Whatever you do, people will eventually end up at your website, whether it is looking for information, looking to buy, or looking to engage.”
Here’s how you can turn your website from a burning platform into the asset it’s meant to be.
1. Take Ownership
Marketers are already responsible for driving website conversions; it’s time they also had control over how the site is built and maintained. Leading marketers are already embracing that expanded role.
But this doesn’t mean taking IT or a development agency out of the picture. The right platform allows you to facilitate multiple levels of ownership while promoting security and an agile workflow.
2. Adopt a WebOps Mentality
Empower your team with WebOps. This set of practices facilitates a collaborative process and allows all members of the web team — developers, marketers, editors, designers, and more — to adopt an agile mindset and push out fresh content and design elements faster and more efficiently.
Marketers on a WebOps team can automate manual processes, collaborate with IT, and publish more frequently without compromising security.
3. Choose the Right Partners
The right WebOps partner can transform your website from a burning platform into one of collaboration and innovation. Pantheon is an industry-leading platform that offers:
Best in class content management systems (WordPress or Drupal) that empower your team to make changes fast and publish at will
A Dev, Test, Live workflow to test and review design changes without risking the live site.
Automated processes to improve the productivity of your entire team
Multidev development environments, enabling teams to safely work in tandem and merge changes.
Don’t wait for your burning platform to collapse — it’s time to take decisive action. WebOps on Pantheon is a radical rethink of what a website should be. Marketers who have made the switch are already outpacing the competition. If you’re interested in talking to an expert about how to make this shift, we’re always here to help.Topics: Content, WebOps