Marketing websites: we have all made them. They’re the online version of a brochure, better than a PDF download but not quite something that supports a dynamic flow of content. An easy win from the perspective of a design agency or freelancer; there isn’t a ton of backend tech, they are predictable in scope, and produce understandable metrics. Not only can we create a known set of deliverables, we are nearly guaranteed that they will need a new redesign in 2-3 years (bonus, more business!).

But, who the hell makes decisions about what they buy solely based on a marketing website? How much time do you spend browsing product marketing sites each week? Whether it’s choosing a restaurant or buying a car, I rarely observe influences in behavior based only on static marketing lingo on a website. Instead, I believe people spend their time online where they connect with other people or find transparent data.

Frequently I see people making decisions based on word of mouth, too. Whether it be from a trusted friend or an anonymous rating, people tend to value the sentiment of a third-party far above that of manicured communications. In the project discovery process I have heard some refer to this as a “social media component” or making a site “sharable”, but I loathe that terminology. Rather than getting inventive in how we facilitate this conversation we just sell our clients the same sites that we have sold them before.

Are we being as creative as we can be when it comes to connecting people online?