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When will we stop just doing websites

March 17, 2010

If you work in marketing, here’s something you will have heard:

“We need a website”

Said website might be part of a bigger plan, it might include a banner ad, a promotion, an on-package URL, a Facebook page, a radio spot, or simply a business card that tells people about the site.

Regardless, we need to stop doing this. It’s 2010. We know this stuff now. So we need to stop saying “We need a website” for two reasons.

1. What is a website?

Really. What is a website? Is it literally a site on the web? Because if it is, then a Facebook page is a website. So is a MySpace page, a Digg page, a Twitter page, a landing page, a microsite page, a Flickr page, a YouTube Channel….etc.

You get the point. The first problem with the words “We need a website” is your definition of website will most-likely be different from mine. And if you’re the client and I’m the person doing the site, then we’ll have an issue immediately. Because even though it might seem like semantics, it’s not. A true definition of website is important for tactical reasons.

A website is a marketing tactic. And because it is, it needs to be thought of like a marketing tactic. If it can’t really be defined, then it’s almost impossible to use the tactic effectively.

Which brings me to the second thing:

2. What is the goal?

When people just say, “We need a website”, they’re skipping over all the planning and strategy and whatnot. Because many things can and are websites, then actually figuring out what you want it to do might help figure out the best way to accomplish what you want to do.

It almost sounds like proper grown-up marketing.

A tactic, used in a marketing plan, to achieve a marketing communications objective.

The exact opposite of saying “We need a website”.

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