Convincing clients to be strategic

As web professionals we know that to get the best from the web, clients need to think strategically about their sites long term management. But how do we convince them?

One of the problems I had writing Digital Adaptation was that I knew that the people who would most benefit from reading the book (Business owners and senior management) would probably never purchase it.

More than a marketing tool

The problem is that people in this position often do not consider the web important enough to invest much of their time in. Instead they see it much like any piece of marketing collateral that can be easily outsourced and handled by somebody else.

Of course as web professionals we know that the web has the potential to be much more than a marketing tool and can influence every aspect of the business. How then do we convince clients to take the web more seriously?

How do we sell strategic advice to clients?

This is particularly problematic for those of us who are outside contractors.

Often clients come to us with a very specific brief produced with a somewhat blinkered view of the web . They perceive us as technicians implementing their vision and do not consider that the web could revolutionise their business.

The question I want to discuss on next week’s podcast is how we can broaden our clients perspective, when they are not asking for that kind of advice and certainly not paying for it?

How do you go about taking a relatively narrow brief and turning it into something that harnesses the full potential of the web for your clients business? How do you get them to pay for this kind of strategic advice when they do not recognise the need for it?

Is it even our job to do this? Are you happy implementing your clients vision or would you like to be seen as more of a business adviser?

Let’s discuss how an outside contractor can help his or her clients think bigger and transform their business to be better suited to the Digital economy. Where to begin? Lets start discussing things in the comments below.

“Marketing Web Strategy To Success” image courtesy of

  • Greig

    What a load of rubbish, your clearly do not understand higher education. You sound very arrogant.

  • Lois

    Great food for thought. Thanks for this.

    BTW, looks like you have the “core digital team” slide twice. :-)

  • @boagworld:disqus Thank you i have also found this manifesto it’s duplicate..

    Remote PHP Developer

  • jitheshjosephpalmbeach

    I am really impressed in
    your blog…..and Thank you for sharing this information…It is Very interesting..Best web design company Palm beach

  • Thomas Minnefor

    Great review of the digital organizational hurdles in higher-ed. As internal web teams become more conversant in analytics, the dialog with management should improve. Internal web teams would benefit by making design recommendations supported by analytics that reflect an understanding of the marketing context of a site. The vocabulary of analytics can also be a hurdle, but if management can be shown how simple, tangible, design changes can be measured, the use of analytics should gradually become part of management culture, which in turn will help drive organizational change.

  • TheTransformation

    Perhaps Digital is the wrong word?

    What would “Digital Transformation”‘ be called in the year 3017? I prefer the term “Consumer Transformation”.

    the humans, the people, have been transformed over centuries into vulgar consumers, addicted to our particular technological needs (from Ford to Facebook). Nothing new here, simply the “Consumer Transformation” is now accelerating exponentially.

    • You are almost certainly right BUT that is not how senior management think of it. They realise that digital has changed thing. They can wrap their head around that. Customer experience is just not a thing they care as much about. They are too inward looking for that. I find talking about digital transformation is a way of introducing the idea that customer expectations have changed.