Are you so sure? How do you know?
The idea for this article is inspired by a couple of discussions I’ve had recently with professionals who provide high value services in areas such as legal, banking and consulting.
For many such companies, their current online presence simply reproduces – in a digital way – what has always worked for them in the real world: reputation, credibility and prestige.
Their websites are not meant to attract traffic nor convert visitors into high quality leads. As online visit cards, they’re designed to convey authority, elegance and sophistication. Traditional content, mainly text, is delivered through static web pages that reinforce trust, quality and know-how.
Online visit cards are probably sufficient today, but will they work in our favour in a few years time?
Granted, selling sophisticated services is not the same as selling a book or a t-shirt!
But can we be so sure that the target public we think we know so well isn’t (secretly) changing its ways?
Online consumers are learning fast how to make informed purchasing decisions. Rather than being “talked to”, they expect to be granted access to many different sources of information.
And as they learn, they become more confident about making ever more sophisticated purchasing decisions online.
What was once a safe space may escape our control because of behavioural changes we didn’t consider relevant at the time.
When the world’s first railway opened in 1830 (from Manchester to Liverpool) – health warnings were issued by medical men about the dangers of travelling at high speeds – and the damaging effect this might have on passengers’ health. Speed was an incredible 25 mph!
I am including a few stats that are meant to trigger ideas. Indeed, and at a first glance, the stats may not relate directly to a high end services organisation such as a bank or a legal firm. But who would have predicted – only a few years back – that 47% of Internet users who link into social media platforms are now aged between 50-64?
Picture Internet savvy John. He is about to buy a new car. His first step – even before he visits a dealer or navigates to a car manufacturer’s website – may well be a discussion with friends on his preferred social media platform; because friends give unfiltered, honest advice about a product they’ve previously consumed.
And this brings us back full circle to the preoccupations of high end service providers: an essential need to preserve and nurture credibility and reputation.
If you want more stats, charts and graphs – highly recommended – here are the sources I’ve referred to in this article.
The state of social media 2012 (slide show here below) and Revealing Stats, Charts and Graphs every Marketer should know.