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Entries tagged "Marketing"

 

What Is Strategy Really Worth?

By Nathan Moore
July 30, 2010
 

One of the things we practice at Anthology on a daily basis is strategy. Every decision that we make is intentionally executed to help our clients meet their goals. Websites are no longer just websites; they are marketing tools. Designs are no longer just designs; they are a conduit for effective communication.

It never ceases to amaze me how some companies and organizations think that having a website that was created using a “Website Wizard” will suffice for an online presence. Even when these groups hire a web company, many times, they go for the cheapest option and end up with a horrible template-based design with a logo thrown in the header. These solutions, though cheap, lack the thought and strategy that are crucial to a successful website.

When planning, designing, building, and implementing websites we usually ask two questions with every decision we make:

1. Why are we doing this?
2. What is best for the user and the client’s goals?

The answer to the first question, “Why are we doing this?” forces us to make intentional decisions to benefit the project as a whole. Many times, this also cuts out much of the “fat” that tends to weigh down many websites. If there is no point in having it, we remove it.

The second question, “What is best for the user and the client’s goals?” forces us to act in the best interest of the user and the client. This question arises frequently when we discuss how an interface should flow or what elements we can utilize to strategically draw the users’ attention. The result is an extremely usable website that meets the client’s goals.

However, strategy usually comes at a price. Cheaper solutions that are not driven by strategy are not the best fit for a successful web presence. Everything, from the navigation scheme to the design, needs to be done in an intentional manner to optimize impact and to make your website work for you. Otherwise, it is just wasted web space.

 
 

Cabin Experience Followup

By Nathan Moore
August 08, 2008
 

I posted earlier this week about our cabin vacation to Gatlinburg, TN and the lessons of how your brand and the customer experience is one in the same. A comment left on that entry was an example of the very concept I was trying to convey.

After reading about our horrible experience, my sister, Bethany, commented with links to a fantastic cabin her and her husband had rented:

Sorry you place wasn’t all you hoped for :( Next time, try Mountain Laurel Chalets.  http://www.mtnlaurelchalets.com/chalet_index.html
We have used them more than once and have never been less than pleased.  Here is the cabin we stayed at last Christmas.
http://secure.instantsoftwareonline.com/StayUSA/Property.aspx?coid=0210&propid=SCHONBLICK
:)
Bethany

She had a great experience and it turned her into an evangelist. This is what every company should strive for - having the customer evangelize on your behalf. This penetrates through the influence layer since the marketing is coming from someone within their circle of influence, not outside it. Thanks for making my point, Bethany.

tags:  cabin  experience  gatlinburg  influence  Marketing 
categories:  Marketing  Random Bites 
 
 

Building Websites with Effective Communication

By Nathan Moore
April 08, 2008
 

“The problem with communication… is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” -George Bernard Shaw

Communication is essentially what Anthology does. Sure, at the surface, we create some really nice designs and we develop functional websites - but websites function as communicative devices - and as I explored in The Anatomy of Great Design Part 01, great design starts with effective communication. So, the goal at the core of all of this is to communicate to your audience.

As simple as this concept may seem, it is overlooked far too often.

Let’s take websites for example. As companies explore building a website, the natural tendency is to make an attempt to impress potential customers. Too many times, the requests are filled with desires to hijack the user experience (not intentionally), create menus that move and sparkle, and bring attention to non-important items. These requests have the same goal as an executive that purchases a flashy sports car just to “show off” when meeting clients. At the end of the day, the car may be impressive, but whether the job is done effectively is what ultimately matters to the client.

When this tendency to impress is extended into web development, it cripples the ability to communicate effectively. Flashy design, gimmicky features, and unnecessary copy cloud the ultimate goals of the site. And, unfortunately, too many times, the web developer has to lay down and submit to the clients requests - and when that happens, the job is not being completed with excellence.

The problem is that when the site is finished and everyone has gone home, the company may be thrilled with the impressive new website, but if it does not communicate effectively and meet the needs of the users, it is ultimately a failure - it is the illusion that communication has been accomplished.

The next time you are building a new site for your company, keep these things in mind:

1. Deny The Desire To Impress - Users will only be impressed the first time they visit your site. After that, the only thing that keeps them coming back is functionality and ease of use. If you can say “that is coooooool,” it probably is doing more harm than good.

2. Develop A Site For Your Client, Not Yourself - Keep the user in mind when determining how you site will look and how it will function. The site may be about you, but it is more about your user.

3. Determine The Key Goals - And do not add anything to the site that does not directly or indirectly encourage the success of these goals. Stay focused.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to be heard in the comments section. And as always, remember to subscribe to the RSS for future posts on design, web development, and online marketing.

 
 

TNM 07: Mind Your Banner Ads

By Nathan Moore
March 26, 2008
 

The New Mediology Logo

The next installment of The New Mediology has been pushed to the podcast. In this episode, Bill Seaver and I discuss advertising using banner ads:

  • When are they appropriate to use, if ever?
  • How do users feel about banner ads?
  • What is the return on investment?
  • And what are the best practices when you are required to advertise via banner ads.

Check out this episode at The New Mediology website, or to get this and all future episode goodness, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

 
 

So Why Blog?

By Nathan Moore
March 04, 2008
 

So, now that I have started a blog (for real this time, I promise), why is it worth it? Why should I blog?

My reasons come down to these three things:

1. Content Is a Promotion Strategy

Time to promote - There is no denying that in this new blog/podcast/online video age, content can serve as promotion for just about anything - and for much less than one would spend on newspaper ads, billboards, chess tournament sponsorships, etc.  There is absolutely no reason for a company to not be constantly producing content, even if it is micro-content such as tweets.

2. I Need to Give Back

Time to get all sentimental - I would honestly not be where I am today if it were not for the tools, articles, tutorials, etc. that I have found on the internet (thank you, Google). And frankly, until now, I have pretty much been a take-take-take type of information consumer. It is time for me to start producing content for other people that are just as curious as I have been and are looking for new information, interesting approaches to problems, and the like.

3. Blogging Pushes Me Further

Time to be effective -  In order to blog effectively, I will need to research. I will need to keep up with what is going on in new media and the internet world. Blogging about these topics will more-or-less force me to become an expert in these topics and to stay relevant. But, don’t get me wrong - you do not need to do these things in order to start a blog - I just feel that I need to stay on top of these things in order to blog effectively.

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