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Appropriate web marketing and ‘the flashy web’

My recent launch of a new web site has led my mind down the path of considering marketing approaches on the web, particularly for ‘high-tech’ businesses. There is a current trend amongst professional business web sites in that many fall either side of the style / function dichotomy. The biggest and best organisations tend to have a firm grasp of the fact that a web site, while required to look nice and present an image of the business, is also there to perform a function. Generally this function is to inform people about the business and clearly offer any online services in a user friendly manner.

However there appears to be many businesses out there which seem to value style and the grandeur of pure ambition over conveying meaning and providing assurance of what they can offer. This is particularly evident in small ‘web and software development’ companies, as well as technology based consultancies. People may be initially drawn in by the customer pulling power of sleek design and an attitude that says “we’re so modern we wear trendy clothes in our office, we advocate ‘blue sky thinking’ and we have a mass following on twitter”. However closer inspection often reveals that many of these development companies are in fact largely visual design companies instead, and a lot of technology consultants aren’t in fact sure what services they are offering and to whom.

I’m not bashing the services which such organisations may provide, merely their online marketing strategy. I don’t pretend to be a business and PR expert, but I feel that many businesses such as those described above are misdirecting their time spent on their online image. A slick visual approach to enticing customers may work for end-user oriented services, that is – those which are available through the site itself. But a customer base of business users are instinctively more deliberative about their perusal of who you are and what you can offer, so this needs to be tailored to their expectations.

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