N has a building design business and no web presence at all.
After 5 years of knowing him, I did not know his company name and was unclear about what he was actually doing.
The business spawned from the ashes of another business which folded after its founder faced serious health issues. A new business was created to finish a large project that would otherwise have collapsed. From that initial project the studio started a few more projects by word of mouth.
In other words, this business never needed a marketing strategy.
If you google the name, all you find is an entry in the list of businesses occupying the same building. That entry only has a telephone number.
N is absolutely aware of the “web gap”, which in his case is quite an abyss.
He seems to genuinely regret it. No website, no Facebook page, nothing at all.
N is generally a hard working and very smart person.
His studio is full of complex and detailed designs that attest it.
The studio is clean and orderly, nothing seems to be missing.
Nothing looks “slack”.
It becomes even more interesting to understand what is at work here.
“At times this is so busy here we cannot even answer the phone”
Fair enough…When your trade is around web or software or marketing, chances your trade itself brings you lots of webby information. But here, he never needed marketing and the web is is a marginal tool, like a printer or paper clips…
The french wine factor – over-marketing
As much as IT is “easy”, there is a bit of contextual information to gain. If you don’t have it and try to find it, you are faced with a gigantic and fragmented marketing machine, each trying to differentiated a 25 years old offering with some arcane argument.
In the end, you are so confused that it seems hard.
I call that the French Wine factor. French wine is good, people tend to agree with that.
but what is “Chateau du bouillon” like? Is it red? Is it sparkling? is it dry? What exactly is the award “Prix d’or des amateurs de planche voile”? No idea? Me neither and I am French. Whereas, a “Barossa Valley Riesling” sounds like a white, not too dry and not too sugary and I like Riesling, so I suppose I will like it.
The French Wine problem is easily solved by asking someone who drinks a lot.
“I plan a beef roast with roasted potatoes and Rosemary, I want to treat my guests” calls for “You can’t go wrong with a Pomerol, try a Chateau des Jacobins”. You have not chosen the wine, but your feasts will be a success. Because you know that, you don’t go for cheap, you just spend the right amount for the quality you wanted.
All that to say, I use a lot more IT than I drink wine. Ask me.
Information Technology prices drop so fast that it is difficult for non-IT people to keep up with real prices. This is true in small and large organisations.
During our conversation N said he could start small with a front page and a couple of pictures and grow from there. That is a sensible proposition.
Now, I asked him how much he thought to would be worth and the answer came into three parts.
Part 1 – 5 or 6 thousand dollars
May be in two thousand and one…Today this is more like…zero.
Part 2 – May be more if it is more complicated
OK, fair enough. But complicated is a subjective and fast moving term.
If you want dynamic lists build on the fly with sub-selection this can be expensive.
But not always, in fact some very sophisticated and affordable eCommerce platforms allow you organise a super neat catalogue with pricing and multiple categorisation (by brand, by department, by product type, by price range…) out of the box.
Part 3 – When I look at some of my prestigious competitors…
OK, but imagine you are looking for a new place to lvd and you go to a real estate website.
For most of us, visiting toprealty.com is a waste of time as a customer. And listing a one bedroom suburban apartment there is a waste of time as a supplier.
When I said to him he could have a website like one of his “prestigious” competitors for a few hundred a year without upfront cost and at the speed he wants, I could tell he was feeling happy about it.