“Whether we know it or not, the Internet creates personalized e-comfort zones for each one of us,” wrote Natasha Singer in a recent New York Times article, The Trouble With the Echo Chamber Online.
Even though she wasn’t writing about B2B marketing, Ms. Singer coined the perfect description of what a public-facing B2B Web site should be: a personalized e-comfort zone.
Every word, image, video, demo and PDF on a B2B site should tell visitors, “We feel your pain and know exactly how to relieve it.” Every page should comfort them, assuring them they’ve come to the right place by reflecting the needs and challenges of their organizations.
Surprisingly, many public-facing B2B sites are just the opposite of personalized e-comfort zones. They’re impersonal no-comfort zones built by companies singing their own praises. Instead of focusing on buyers’ needs, these sites are built around the sellers’ product or service pitches, points of differentiation, features, etc. Yes, this is important information but it’s not the right focus for a marketing-oriented site. It’s as though the companies behind these sites are marketing neophytes. But many of them aren’t. They’ve simply lost the plot.
Why do so many B2B companies make a mess of their public sites? In my experience, the most common reason is haste. It’s relatively fast and easy to knock together a Web site that describes your products/services. Much more time and creativity are needed to build a site around your buyers’ needs and points of view.
There are plenty of other reasons companies fail to build personalized e-comfort zones. I’d love to hear your thoughts on them.