E-marketing is about substance over show, logic over emotion, text over graphics. Good Web marketers follow the Google motto: be useful.
Recently, I had a talk with an IT manager from a large organization. I was impressed at how clued in this person was—not about IT, but about Web marketing. He talked about appropriate targeting, about creating content that moved the customer to a point of action.
He knew his stuff. And like many other people in his situation, he complained about the "marketing people" who still didn't get it.
The marketing people who were still enthralled by big graphics and who still think that cutting-edge Web design means using the latest version of Flash. The marketing people who can get excited about search engine optimization and buying keyword ads, but keep forgetting that bringing someone to your Web site is only the first step.
I have asked thousands of people in practically every continent in the world what they do when they see a Flash intro. "Skip Intro!" they all shout without hesitation. About a month ago, in fact, an executive from a Web design company told me a story about a potential client who came to him looking for a "Skip Intro" for his Web site.
If commerce is selling with people, then e-commerce is selling with content, and e-marketing is marketing with content. Content management is about getting the best out of your content. The reason why much content management is still seen as technical is because many marketers and communicators have shied away from embracing it as a core part of their job.
And metadata? No self-respecting marketer would be seen dead near metadata. It is simply not a skill you would put on your resume. Do you know what the title metadata is on the Ryanair homepage? "Ryanair.com—The Low Fares Airline—50% cheaper than easyJet."
(Ryanair is a hugely successful no frills airline, and easyJet is its biggest competitor.)
"What about branding on the Web?" Every time I hear that question, I want to reach for the sick bag.
It's not that I don't believe in branding, but rather that the person who usually wields that question is the last person you should ever let near developing a Web branding strategy for your Web site.
There is a huge role and a very bright future for marketers who truly understand Web content, and know how to use it to drive profitable actions. Unfortunately, many marketers I meet are not rising to the challenge.
Web marketing is a daily grind of doing lots and lots of simple things well. It's about being useful. It's about creating a Web site that is convenient and fast. Amazon.com, eBay, and Google are mega brands that have achieved their positions by having a genuine focus on serving the customer.
The IT manager I wrote about earlier in this piece knows that the Web is not about IT anymore, but rather about marketing. He has thus focused his energies on learning about effective Web marketing.
His reward for doing this is that he is now in charge of the Web site, and can tell all the traditional marketers in his organization what to do.
Note: Join content guru Gerry McGovern in his upcoming MarketingProfs virtual seminar, "Killer Web Content: Make the Sale and Build the Brand," on December 8, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m., EST. Get more information or sign up here.