Tag Archives: client services

Content meets Commerce

I was presenting to the CEO of a leading global brand a couple of weeks ago, and was once again starkly reminded of just how divided so many businesses are from the advances in today’s (and tomorrow’s) technology.

One moment we were talking about the fact they still don’t have a cross platform infrastructure allowing them to take content to wherever their consumers are, and the next we were talking about closing the gap and speeding ahead with a technology solution based around Artificial Intelligence. A conversation which leaped around the room; rest assured the irony was not lost on me.

Sat at the table were two generations in ages, yet about six in technological terms.

The fact still remains though, that beyond theory and strategy, businesses across the world are still divided by their operational set up; one half mainly serving commerce and the other, marketing to consumers, and it is in this divide that nearly every client I speak to, struggles to truly step ahead. With one team tracking sales and demand, the other tracking website visits and consumer comments, it’s not surprising really.

To succeed as a brand and truly deliver a holistic experience touching every point of the digital journey a consumer goes on, can no longer be about great content on one side, and a commerce platform on the other… brands must provide the glue in the middle.

I believe this ‘glue’ lies within three key initiatives:

  1. Board members steering the middle management teams
  2. The commerce and marketing sides of the business coming together to provide a service that meets in the middle
  3. Content that differentiates and adds value

I also believe the biggest failure of brands being able to do this, stems from a lack of collaborative belief and belief in collaboration.

In other news, these guys produce super cool content… and this is a cool picture.

Cool Content

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Arguing the toss

I want the logo bigger and in the middle!

There’s too much white space, let’s fill it with pictures!

I want to add more information in!

Can we have some flashy, moving stuff?

Been here before? I have. It’s easy to get pent-up when you’re dealing with a client who either thinks they know what’s best or won’t budge on something you believe to be a risk to the project but, the key is to remain calm, objective.

Define the requirement, assess the associated risk and implications then recommend a strategy that ticks as many boxes as possible thus keeping the client happy and not putting the expertise of the project in jeopardy:

  • Define the risk. Saying it will ‘mess the while design up’ or ‘effect the website usability performance’ is not defining the requirement. Clearly specify to your client, in their language (i.e. not technical jargon in the hope it will wash over) exactly what you mean. Why will the design be messy, can you mock something up to demonstrate your concerns? In what way will the website underperform, and why? At what point will the requirements asked for by the client start to interfere?
  • Assess the risk. Keep your cool and make sure you’re not reacting. Do you still think there’s a risk to the project if you implement the changes requested? How serious is it? How certain can you be that these performance problems will actually happen? What will the impact be on the users if they do? Most importantly, what is your rationale? Can you back your argument up with case studies or facts? You’re the expert here, the client has come to you for your opinion but make sure it’s a just and balanced one and solidify your point with back up, this will give the client little room to argue the toss with.
  • Recommend a solution strategy. Is there a mid-way solution? What’s the best way to implement it? And again, how can you back this up? Can you mock a prototype? Demonstrating rather than talking nearly always gets the client on board.
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