Home > Strategy > Centralized Web Strategy

Centralized Web Strategy

September 7th, 2009

bullseyeLee Huang wrote a post on centralizing the Web Marketing function in a company. He describes the things that he feels need to be taken into account when centralizing this function:

  1. The “What’s in it for me” questions that will inevitably arise from the business units that were used to owning and controlling the direction of their individual web presence. He’s nailed it when he says that getting the buy in early from the affected business units is key to succeeding.
  2. Being responsive. One of the worst things that can happen (and I speak from experience) is taking the web marketing function away from the business units, and then bogging down all requests with slow processes and high dollar amounts. They key is to show value-add early with quick wins and high-value consultation into more than just the mechanics of web marketing.
  3. Prioritization of projects. Transparent prioritization may not be a big issue early on, but needs to be in place early on. Again, from experience, at the beginning, work will be simple and trickle in at a pace that can be easily handled. However, if you do things right and are successful in your strategy and campaigns (you do have a Digital Strategy, right?), the requests will start flooding in. At that point, the key stakeholders from the various business units need to be a large part of prioritizing your team’s resources and budget. Favouritism will come back to bit swiftly

The point that Lee doesn’t make, but I have found just as important is “What skills are you going to staff this department with?

Are you going to transfer the “web” people from the other business units? The pros to this approach are getting the business knowledge that comes with these people. But the big con is that there will always be some loyalty to the previous business unit and it will be hard to prioritize without undue influence.

Are you going to hire people to do the work in-house? Or out-source the execution and just have strategy kept internally? Out-source to your internal IT team, or completely outsource? Again, three different approaches, each with its pros and cons.

Having a one-stop shop in-house allows you to get work done quickly and control the team that works on it. However, you are “stuck” with the skillset you you in house. If you have all Java developers, everything is an enterprise Java solution. Also, you’re at the mercy of internal policies on how quickly you can get work done.

In-sourcing the development to your internal IT team has the advantage of keeping you arms length from the execution, while still having the internal influence and power derived from the relationships normally formed by people in close proximity, and by the normal management interactions. However, IT has processes that may not work at the speed of web development, and when major corporate initiatives occur, your “silly little web projects” can take a back seat to the “really important work.”

Outsourcing the execution usually gives the most control over execution. You can pick and choose different agencies for different executions based on expertise and workload. You can get more work done faster by spreading the work around. But you are at the mercy of hard dollars instead of soft, internal dollars. You are also at the mercy of an agency where the only true relationship you have is with the Account Manager. And we all know that Account Managers say “yes, of course we can do it,” to everything, right? You lose the day to day, looking over a shoulder to see how it’s going. And again, that can come back to bite hard.

If you are thinking of centralizing your Web Marketing function, think about how you’re going to set it up, how you’re going to sell it internally, and how you’re going to handle the fire hose when you succeed!

Categories: Strategy
Comments are closed.