Why do all b2b web sites look the same?
I was going to start this blog entry with a lyrical reminder of the way things used to be in b2b marketing, but the problems faced by all of us b2b marketers today aren’t going to be solved by reinventing the past (Who learns from history anyway?!).
The reason for the potentially nostalgic opener was that the subject giving me cause to put virtual pen to virtual paper is photography and imagery in modern b2b communications.
The key issue is that now that we have huge databases of photography and imagery available online, generally for a very modest outlay, both the cost and speed of production of web sites and many other elements of marketing communications have been drastically reduced.
Why is that not a good thing?
Well it is, in that it has allowed both more to be delivered for the same money, and has allowed smaller organisations with smaller budgets to achieve a massive hike in the professionalism of their output (subject to the quality of design input!).
I do have a couple of problems with it though.
Firstly the ‘volatility’ of individual markets and economies has meant that, in the UK at least, most b2b marketers have seen resources in terms of both people and budgets seriously reduced in the last decade.
This has caused many organisations to accept great ‘holes’ in their strategy where the resources just aren’t available to undertake ‘necessary’ strategic tasks (e.g. earlier blog entries on research, data, and face to face marketing)
Secondly there has been a highly noticeable homogenisation of all b2b output that is threatening the professionalism, impact and brand effect of all communications.
What is this modern scourge?
It is the very pretty, smiling lady with the modern headset – an image used on hundreds of websites, mailers, brochures and pull up banners.
It is the endless shots of business meetings comprising mainly American models trying to look like sad/busy/ecstatic/etc. business people.
It is the endless hi tech montages (with single colour themes for logo matching!)
Now don’t get me wrong we were one of the first to use these facilities and many a small client has had a ‘high gloss’ given to their output.
But a company’s brand and image are their main ‘face’ in the marketplace and when all companies start to look the same we, as marketers, are in trouble.
Unfortunately the solution isn’t easy – we need to recreate that strange thing called a photographic/imagery budget – and in these austere times we all know how hard that is going to be.
Is it really necessary?? – well how can we spend so much time and effort trying to persuade jaded business audiences that our total product/service offering is truly unique and then say it’s ok to look just the same as everybody else…………………….
Written by Ian Carter, Omnisity Limited
“Off the shelf? We don’t think so. We’re a great believer that ‘one size fits none’.
So no ‘off the shelf’ packages – everything we build is specific to our customers’ needs, ensuring they have the right tools to get the most from their website.
Every Omnisity site is designed to look great, have the required functionality to make life easier for our customer, and most importantly attract new business.” Ian Carter, Omnisity Limited