What Every Digital Marketing Strategy Needs, And Few Have.

How Web Development is Key to Building a Brand Story

It’s conference season, various members of our team have boarded flights to locations around the country for panel sessions covering a range of topics. At the latest conference, the topic is digital marketing.

In the interim, as we pass other marketers in the hall, we hear them energetically discussing MarTech integrations, API’s, attribute marketing. It’s not surprising that this is what people around us are talking about, not when 70% of marketing leaders report increasing their MarTech budgets for 2017.

During a panel discussion, a presenter talks about going beyond content. “Content is what your user interacts with at every point along their journey. Go beyond the eBook, use content to build a completely immersive experience.”

As an example, he pulls up an article published a few years ago on the New York Times website titled “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.” Scrolling through, he points out that not only is this story perfectly in place, but that each element of this webpage comes together to build out an experience. The page is carefully themed, the text broken up by dynamic images of the Cascades and occasional videos. From any perspective, it’s a beautiful piece.

Bear Group Digital Marketing Web Development
Image via New York Times

“This is what your content should look like,” he says, gesturing at the screen.

But here’s what he hasn’t pointed out: the impact of this story comes from the way the webpage is built.

That same content uploaded and featured on a Blogger page (or any turnkey webpage lacking custom development) wouldn’t have the same impact. This particular page has been carefully built with the assistance of expert web developers and web designers, as well as digital marketers. It took massive resources to create something that, even years later, is still being used as an example.

Just looking at the New York Times website itself, it’s currently being supported by multiple server tools (Apache, Varnish), multiple email marketing tools (Sendgrid, Microsoft Azure), digital ad platforms (Doubleclick, OpenX), analytics (Google Analytics, New Relic, Optimizely), audio/media tools (JW Player, Brightcove) and it’s all built, and integrated together, with a customized Wordpress CMS.

What this presenter is missing, is that the creation and continual maintenance of this website, and this particular webpage, required significant web development.

*Note: If you want to see the complete layout of what www.nytimes.com uses to support their website, visit their BuiltWith page.

Everyone wants their content to look like “Snow Fall.” Everyone wants their website to be Apple or Amazon. Everyone keeps their finger on the pulse of the digital marketplace as it expands to fit the next new tool, ensuring that they don’t fall behind.

And yet it isn’t enough. If it was, the entire internet would look like “Snow Fall.”

There’s something missing from the digital marketing conversation. Something basic, but extremely vital, something that means the difference between slow websites and data silos, “Snow Fall,” and just another tired blog.

And that’s web development.

That being said, not everyone has the resources, expertise, or budget to create something as visually storytelling as “Snow Fall.” They allocate, measuring what promises the most ROI for their businesses. But either way, the success of every digital marketing tactic depends on the strength of your web development resources.

Creating content, building landing pages, featuring webforms–your digital marketing is what tells your brand’s story and entices users to become a part of that story.

But that story doesn’t have any impact without technology and development behind it. Without web development resources and a dependable team to give your project care, your brand story will never have the life it deserves. You can’t bring your story to life with inadequate materials.

Technical Support for Your Brand Story

Currently, many marketers can’t create something like “Snow Fall.” This could be because they lack the expertise, or that they’re working with inadequate resources, or that they have to allocate their budget to something besides content marketing.

However, choosing to invest in web development is an investment in a resource that will touch every aspect of your marketing strategy, no matter where your focus is. You want your marketing strategy to reach a level of complete optimization–what “Snow Fall” represents–but that’s only possible if you have the technical support to do so.

The best thing you can do for your digital marketing isn’t investing in the latest MarTech software or sink your budget into a higher-performance website platform. It’s investing in a web development team that can enable your vision, pushing your marketing beyond the limit of your current resources and abilities.

For an in-depth look at how we work with clients to scope scalable web development strategies, you can download our whitepaper