Itís the Same Sandbox

Sales doesnít get along with Marketing. Marketing canít talk to IT. IT doesnít have a clue how to sell, but they are in charge of the companyís Web initiative. Sound familiar?

Itís turf wars. Itís misunderstanding about roles. Itís failure to communicate. Itís lack of information. Itís different modes of thinking. Itís absence of objectives. It might even be sun spots for all I know. But I can tell you this much: If I read one more article on the subject, I think Iím gonna scream.

Doesnít it make you want to stamp your foot and say, ďCome on, guys. Canít we all just get in the same sandbox and play nice?Ē

Weíve been working with a well-known vehicle manufacturer. Do you know how much effort goes into getting a new car on the road? Car companies invest tons of money creating computer-generated models and prototypes, which makes sense given the high cost of retooling a factory to produce a new car line. Car companies canít afford to get it wrong too many times. Better to sacrifice a few good concepts than let a bad concept make it to market.

Our CTO, John Quarto-vonTivadar calls this ďhurdle clearance.Ē

ďThe fundamental problem with most aspects of current Web sites is the hurdle they need to reach to be released is so incredibly low. It's probably measured in inches rather than meters. For too many companies, the ease of putting up a Web site -- any Web site -- ends up fogging the true goal of creating the right Web site that actually accomplishes corporate goals such as persuading visitors to take action.

ďIf the cost to market of a Web site were several magnitudes higher, the companies would take a longer, deeper look at both their Web site initiatives and the professionals involved in the process, and hold [them] responsible for accomplishing concrete measurable goals. And as with any hurdle, often the goal seems only to meet it with little regard to how far it could be exceeded.Ē1

We think we ought to understand how to conduct business on the Web, and yet we are constantly presented with information that reveals itís sort of like the real world, and itís sort of not. Some key features make the Web unlike other business venues:

  • The Web is a completely voluntary medium.
  • The Web is interactive and participatory.
  • Ebusiness on the Web is all about ďsellingĒ intangibles. Your visitors are always removed from the product or service they are considering.
  • Your customers are in control Ė they always hold the trump card.
  • No single department in your company is going to be able to address these issues comprehensively Ė itís going to take the combined, cooperative effort of Marketing, Sales, and IT, using a structured process to make the persuasive architecture of your Web initiative structurally sound.

    When the hurdleís low, thereís less incentive to treat your project with the seriousness it deserves. So raise your hurdle and get everybody working together. Really, guys. Itís the same sandbox. Climb on in. Oh, and hereís a shovel.


    1 ďHow High is Your Hurdle?Ē Bryan Eisenberg. ClickZ. May 2, 2003. Yes, I know many of you read Bryanís ROI column for ClickZ, and I apologize for the repetition. But I didnít want those who donít to miss this!

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