Is Your B2B Site an e-Comfort Zone?

No Entry“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.

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4 Responses to Is Your B2B Site an e-Comfort Zone?

  1. Colleen Wilson says:

    hmmm. I can think of several reasons why companies do this. First they think they are appealing to their customers because they think they know what is best for them, what may have attracted them in the first place, etc. Second some sites have to market to multi-faceted customers. what appeals to a teenager is not the same as what appeals to a senior citizen. Lastly it may be hard to quantify the investment of making a website good to great. in tight times, they’re lucky just to have the budget of keeping the infrastructure stable to keep it up and running.
    Not saying any of this is right – look at those who do it well – the ROI is there but you do need those bright minds and willingness to admit you don’t already know it all to learn how to do it well!

    • el Civ says:

      Thanks for your insightful comments, Colleen! Your first and third points are definitely issues I’ve come across in my own experience. Still, B2B companies that market themselves most successfully would never allow these issues to cloud their judgement — or the structure and focus of their Web sites. Less successful companies should heed that example. And I LOVE your second point, as I think it basically reinforces my criticism that companies are guilty of taking the easy approach with their marketing sites. Yes, segmented audiences are harder to market to … but that shouldn’t give a company license to take its marketing focus off of prospects/clients (where it belongs) and put it on themselves (where it doesn’t) — should it?

      Again, thanks for your comments. I appreciate you stopping by and adding to the conversation.

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