The most precarious time for any client-agency relationship extends from the moment the contract is signed until the moment that first campaign or deliverable has been implemented. Nowhere is this more of a challenge than in the digital space.
For the enterprise, whether they’re selling tiny umbrellas for fancy cocktails or developing video conferencing software, security is always an issue for the IT department. Technology performance being paramount in the digital world, whether it be customer-facing websites and applications or internal processes supporting the company’s workforce, so many enterprise development and hosting environments are shut – with several locks and keys – to all but the few inside their IT department.
This all sounds like best standards and practices, but when it comes to your marketing efforts on the digital front, hosting your own website can become a serious impediment to progress.
Marketing is an IT Afterthought
For those of us outside the coding bubble, we often don’t fully understand the true scope of work for our IT departments, and the larger the enterprise, obviously the larger the scope. Whether we’re talking about your IT guru helping employees access files on company servers, opening attachments in people’s email, or running massive network updates to ensure your remote desktop functions on your work from home day, publishing new pages and changes to the company website can often become an afterthought.
This isn’t a purposeful subversion of the Marketing Director’s priority, or some passive aggressive attempt to demonstrate the critical nature of their jobs. For the IT department, it’s simply a matter of priority and time.
When Your Agency Partner Hits a Wall
For the savvy enterprise, the realization that the challenge of their IT department managing both the company’s digital infrastructure and the constant implementation of digital marketing initiatives, often spurs them to seek agency support. This is a great idea. While it should be the focus of another article, agencies aren’t the enemy. The best agencies let you and your company focus on what you do best and then help sell it.
The problem sometimes is that when you bring on the agency to help, the Fort Knox that is your development environment often makes it impossible for them to work quickly enough to satisfy you. Now you’re paying an agency to do what you were doing, sitting around and waiting until the IT department’s queue is empty enough to shift their focus to marketing initiatives. This just won’t do.
Host Your Customer-Facing Website with a Third Party
Digital marketing, at least good digital marketing, is a constant cycle of creation, testing, optimization, and scaling. This cycle should be rapid, responsive, and nimble enough to pivot and adjust in a single day. Not three days, not a week, and certainly not a month. When it comes to digital half lives, minutes and hours mean everything.
Choosing to host your customer-facing website with a third party can be scary for both you and the IT department. Large hosting entities like HostGator or WP Engine have some security issues (although they never last for long, and ceding control always puts your IT folks on edge). But, if you want to get the most out of your website and give your marketing team the freedom and flexibility to do their job, you need a CMS and hosting environment that caters to the novice user and allows unfettered access to your agency, third party plugins, and a whole host of other support applications that are required to operate a sophisticated and effective digital marketing strategy.
Rapid Implementation Can Make or Break You
If you’re spending $1,000 a day on Google AdWords and your landing page isn’t converting the way you want it to, how long do you really want to wait to optimize it for conversion? If there is a breaking news event or trend that of which your company can take serious advantage, how long can you wait to publish that new blog post, eBook or page? The answer is you can’t wait at all and if you expect your marketing department and agency partner to be truly responsive, they can’t wait for the IT department to make the time you need to make to develop and publish these initiatives.
Don’t Be Afraid
Don’t fret the third party hosting vendor. They’re professionals and like you they must perform for their customers to stay in business. A successful company is always driven by two things – talent and focus. Don’t let your company be distracted by these little things, find the talented companies that host and protect websites like yours and let them do what they do best… so you can do what you do best.